Misty Anderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

Pedro Fiori Arantes, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil

Debaditya Bhattacharya, Kazi Nazrul University, India

Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Abigail Droge, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Zimitri Erasmus, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Arturo Escobar, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales; Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia

Keri Facer, University of Bristol, UK

Roderick Ferguson, Yale University, USA

Kostas Gavroglu, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Yulia Gilichinskaya, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

David Theo Goldberg, University of California, Irvine, USA

Laura Goldblatt, University of Virginia, USA

Charles R. Hale, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Eileen Joy, punctum books, USA

Rebecca Lund, University of Oslo, Norway

Christopher Newfield, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Nasrin Olla, Brown University, USA

Hank Reichman, California State University, East Bay, USA

Bruce Robbins, Columbia University, USA

Andrew Ross, New York University, USA

Althea Sircar, Macalester College, USA

Andrea Stith, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Mike Strayer, Grassroots Humanities Initiative, USA

Cameron Sublett, WestEd, USA

Neha Vora, Lafayette College, USA

Alison Wood, University of Cambridge, UK


Participant Biographies


Misty G. Anderson is the James R. Cox Professor of English and holds courtesy appointments in both the theatre and religious studies departments at the University of Tennessee. Anderson is the author of Female Playwrights and Eighteenth-Century Comedy: Negotiating Marriage on the London Stage (2002) and Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Enthusiasm, Belief, and the Borders of the Self (2012). She is an editor of the new Routledge Anthology of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama vols. 1 and 2 (2017 and 2019) and is currently completing a third monograph, God on Stage. She has recently completed a term as president of the faculty senate, is a working dramaturge, and is a PI for the new R/18 Collective, which supports professional productions of plays from 1660­­–1800 that provide the genealogies of race, gender, sex, capital, and environmental impact shaping our present.

Pedro Fiori Arantes is professor at the Federal University of São Paulo. He holds a PhD from the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning of Sao Paulo University (2010), where he developed his research on the transformations in the form of contemporary architecture against its productive processes. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning where he focused on the World Bank and IDB’s policies for Latin American cities. He has authored numerous articles and papers on architecture, public policies, technology and cities, as well as the books: Arquitetura Nova (Ed. 34, 2002), Arquitetura na era digital-financeira (Ed. 34, 2012) and The Rent of Form: Architecture and Labor in the Digital Age (2019). From 1999 to 2012 he was a member of Usina, a nonprofit dedicated to providing technical consulting services in the fields of housing design, land reform and urban regeneration to citizen movements. Since 2013 he has been the planning pro-rector at the Federal University of São Paulo, coordinating the university investment budget, the development of new courses and pedagogical projects, the university’s masterplan, and the design of new buildings and campuses.

Debaditya Bhattacharya teaches literature at Kazi Nazrul University, India. He completed his doctoral work from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India—wherein he engaged with the relationship between literature and death, with specific reference to the testimonial speech-act. Bhattacharya researches on continental philosophy, and writes on contemporary modes and practices of political articulation in the Indian context. His current interests cohere around a “historical sociology” of higher education, with specific attention to Indian policy-contexts. His edited anthologies, The Idea of the University: Histories and Contexts and The University Unthought: Notes for a Future, have been published as companion volumes (2019). He is co-editor of Sentiment, Politics, Censorship: The State of Hurt (2016).

Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches political theory. Drawing from Freudian, Weberian, Marxist and Foucauldian angles of vision, she writes about the powers operating beneath the surface of liberalism and generating many of its limits and predicaments. The author/co-author of a dozen books in English, she is best known for her interrogation of identity politics and state power in States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (1995); her analyses of contemporary discourses of tolerance in Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire (2006); her account of the inter-regnum between nation states and globalization in Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010); and her analyses of neoliberalism’s assault on democratic values, institutions and citizenship in Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (2015) and In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West (2019). Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and she has held many visiting professorships as well as Guggenheim, ACLS, and Institute for Advanced Study fellowships. She credits her thinking life to the excellent, accessible public universities of her youth and has worked in recent years to prevent their extinction.

Abigail Droge received her PhD from the Stanford English Department in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Barbara, where she works for a public and digital humanities project called “WhatEvery1Says: The Humanities in Public Discourse,” under the direction of Alan Liu (PI). Abigail leads the project’s Curriculum Lab and teaches in the UCSB English Department. These experiences have inspired a new public humanities project of her own, “Reading With: Building Bridges with Books” (now in development), which uses literature to foster interdisciplinary conversations between specialized groups otherwise isolated from each other. Her writing has appeared in the Victorian Periodicals Review and the Journal of Literature and Science. Her current book project, You Are What You Read: Character in the Age of Mass Literacy, focuses on the history of reading in Victorian Britain and seeks to unite research and teaching in the same conversation.

Zimitri Erasmus is associate professor of sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand. After completing her PhD at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, she taught at the University of Cape Town where she became a Distinguished Teacher. Her scholarly work on creolization and anti-racisms as decolonizing praxis informs her published critique of continued use of apartheid race categories and of racialized biomedicine and recreational genetics.

Arturo Escobar is an activist-researcher from Cali, Colombia, working on territorial struggles against extractivism, postdevelopment, regional transitions, and ontological design. Over the past twenty-five years, he has collaborated closely on these issues with Afro-Colombian, environmental, and feminist organizations. He was professor of anthropology and political ecology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill until 2018, and is currently affiliated with the PhD Program in Design and Creation, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia, and the PhD Program in Environmental Sciences, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Columbia. His most well-known book is Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World (1995, 2nd Ed. 2011). His most recent books are:
Sentipensar con la Tierra. Nuevas lecturas sobre desarrollo, territorio y diferencia (2014); Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds (2018); and Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible (2020).

Keri Facer is professor of educational and social futures at the University of Bristol, School of Education. She works on rethinking the relationship between formal educational institutions and wider society and is particularly concerned with the sorts of knowledge that may be needed to address contemporary environmental, economic, social and technological changes. Her recent books include: Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change and The Politics of Education and Technology with Neil Selwyn. Since 2013, Facer has been Leadership Fellow for the RCUK Connected Communities Programme. She also heads up the 80by18 project, that aims to mobilize cities’ resources for learning. In an earlier stage in her career, Facer was research director at Futurelab, where she brought together researchers, educators, digital artists, computer scientists, and young people to create prototypes of new approaches to education. She has led large-scale curriculum design programs and collaborated with organizations including the BBC, RSA, Baltic Arts Centre, Becta, TDA, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft as well as with local authorities across the UK. From 2007-2009 she led the Beyond Current Horizons strategic foresight program for the UK government.

Roderick A. Ferguson is professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. He is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (2004), The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (2012), We Demand: The University and Student Protests (2017), and One-Dimensional Queer (2019). He is the co-editor with Grace Hong of the anthology Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (2011). He is also co-editor with Erica Edwards and Jeffrey Ogbar of Keywords of African American Studies (2018). He is currently working on two monographs—The Arts of Black Studies and The Bookshop of Black Queer Diaspora. Ferguson’s teaching interests include the politics of culture, women of color feminism, the study of race, critical university studies, queer social movements, and social theory.

Kostas Gavroglu is professor of the history of science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His work has won international acclaim, and has been pivotal in establishing the discipline of history of science in Greece, its consolidation in other countries of the European periphery, and the constructive dialogue of these emerging communities with an extended community of international scholars. Gavroglu was director of the Board of the Historical Archive of the University of Athens and coordinated the digitization of the archives of the university, established in 1837. In 2015 he was elected as MP from the national list of Syriza, he served as president of the Standing Committee on Education and Culture of the Greek Parliament, and since 2016, and for the three years until the recent elections, he was Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.

Yulia Gilichinskaya is a scholar, artist, and activist. She earned her MFA in media studies from the State University of New York in Buffalo and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Film and Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz. Her practice is grounded in radical geography, visual studies, and indigenous and settler-colonial theory.

David Theo Goldberg is director of the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute. He is a Distinguished Professor of comparative literature, anthropology, and criminology, law and society at UCI. Goldberg’s work ranges over issues of political theory, race and racism, ethics, law and society, critical theory, cultural studies, and, increasingly, digital humanities. He has authored numerous books, including among others (with Cathy Davidson) The Future of Thinking, The Threat of Race, Sites of Race, and Are We All Postracial Yet? Earlier in his career, David Theo Goldberg produced independent films and music videos (some of which aired on MTV), and co-directed the award-winning short film on South Africa, “The Island.”

Laura Goldblatt is assistant professor at the University of Virginia with a PhD in English literature from same. She works on state propaganda in the twentieth-century United States and the university as a critical site of activist intervention. Her peer-reviewed work has appeared in Mississippi Quarterly, the Journal of American StudiesSocial Text, Winterthur PortfolioPedagogy, Works and Days, and includes an edited volume about the August 12th, 2017 violence in Charlottesville. Adjacent to these endeavors, she is currently collaborating with members of the Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents on establishing a resident-staffed and lead Citizens’ Research Review Board. The CRRB would work alongside UVA’s IRB to vet research in public and low-wage housing and eventually establish research relationships with local scholars.

Charles R. Hale is a scholar of Latin America, Africa, and the African diaspora. He is currently the Dean of Social Sciences at University of California, Santa Barbara and professor of global studies at the same institution. He is a past president of the Latin American Studies Association (2006-2007). He earned an AB in social studies at Harvard College and his doctorate at Stanford University. His publications include Más que un indio (More than an Indian): Racial Ambivalence and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Guatemala; and Resistance and Contradiction: Miskitu Indians and the Nicaraguan State, 1894-1987.

Eileen A. Joy is a specialist in Old English literary studies and cultural studies, as well as a para-academic rogue, and a publisher, with interests in poetry and poetics, intellectual history, ethics, affects, embodiments, queer studies, object/thing studies, the ecological, post/humanisms, and scholarly communications. She is founding ingenitor of the BABEL Working Group, co-editor of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies, and founding director of punctum books: spontaneous acts of scholarly combustion.

Rebecca Lund currently holds a postdoc position in gender studies. Her research focuses, among other things, on epistemic injustice in feminist knowledge production, ​within and beyond the academy. In exploring these processes, Lund has been particularly committed to thinking with and developing the sociological method-of-inquiry of institutional ethnography. Her latest theoretical passions include feminist love studies and psycho-social theory. Lund is editor in chief of NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research (August 2018–August 2020).

Christopher Newfield is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His fields are US literature before the Civil War and after World War II, critical university studies, critical theory, quantification studies, and the intellectual and social effects of the humanities. He has written a trilogy of books on the university as an intellectual and social institution: Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880–1980 (2003); Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (2008); and The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them (2016), which has just appeared in paperback. His research on the effects of quantification on higher education was awarded a two-year NEH Collaborative Research Grant. He served as co-PI on an NSF grant that founded a Center for Nanotechnology in Society at UCSB, where he studied renewal energy innovation and co-authored a film, What Happened to Solar Innovation? He also writes about American intellectual and social history (The Emerson Effect), and has co-edited Mapping Multiculturalism with Avery F. Gordon. He blogs on higher education policy at Remaking the University, and has written for the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, WonkHE (UK), the Guardian’s Higher Education Network, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches courses in detective fiction, noir California, contemporary US literature, innovation theory, and English majoring after college.

Nasrin Olla is originally from South Africa, and specializes in African diasporic literature, postcolonial criticism, and continental philosophy. Nasrin completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town and her PhD in English literature and languages at Cornell University. Nasrin is currently the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University. At Brown, she is working on her first book project, Reaching for Opacity: Contemporary Afro-diasporic Literature, which engages anew with the theme of alterity across a range of contemporary Afro-diasporic literature. Nasrin’s research has been supported by the Mellon Mays Fellowship, the A.W. Mellon Fellowship at the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Hank Reichman is professor emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay; second vice president of the American Association of University Professors; and, since 2012, chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. His book, The Future of Academic Freedom, was published in 2019. He is currently working on an introductory volume tentatively titled “What is Academic Freedom.” He blogs regularly at the AAUP’s, where he is an editor. Before retirement, he served three terms as chair of the academic senate at CSUEB, nine years on the CSU system academic senate, and nine years on the collective bargaining team for the California Faculty Association. He earned his PhD in Russian and European history at UC Berkeley.

Bruce Robbins works mainly in the areas of nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, literary and cultural theory, and postcolonial studies. He is the author of Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (1993), The Servant’s Hand: English Fiction from Below (1986; 1993), Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (1999), and Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State (2007). He has edited Intellectuals: Aesthetics, Politics, Academics (1990) and The Phantom Public Sphere (1993), and he has co-edited (with Pheng Cheah) Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling beyond the Nation (1998) and (with David Palumbo-Liu and Nirvana Tanoukhi) Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (2011). He was co-editor of the journal Social Text from 1991 to 2000. His most recent book is Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence (2012). A companion volume is in the works to be entitled “The Beneficiary: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Inequality.” He is also working on a documentary on American Jews who are critical of Israel.

Andrew Ross is professor of social and cultural analysis and director of the American Studies Program at NYU. A contributor to the Guardian, the New York TimesThe Nation, and Al Jazeera, he is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Creditocracy and the Case for Debt RefusalBird On Fire, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Fast Boat to China, No-Collar, and The Celebration Chronicles. His most recent book, Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel, was the winner of a Palestine Book Award.

Althea Rani Sircar is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She specializes in the fields of political theory and race, ethnicity, and politics. She is currently a visiting instructor at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she teaches courses in political science and the concentration in critical theory.

Andrea Stith received her doctorate in biophysics from the University of Virginia, and her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Delaware. She is a former AAAS/NSF Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of Legislative Affairs, was a program officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a policy analyst at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.  Prior to joining UCSB, she served as assistant director for interdisciplinary education at the University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute and as a research fellow at the Graduate School of Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. While in Shanghai, her research focused on national and institutional policies that impact the career prospects of postdoctoral researchers. She also studied science/technology and higher education policies as a German Chancellor Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Her professional interests include graduate and postdoctoral education, facilitating interdisciplinary research, broadening participation in STEM, and the internationalization of science. She is on the board of American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and is chair of board the Martha Mason Hill Memorial Foundation.

Mike Strayer has organized, written, and spoken about collective autonomy and the future of higher education for the past ten years. Primarily, he has organized with Subconference of the MLA, Baltimore Free School, and Grassroots Humanities Initiative. As a collective member of Grassroots Humanities Initiative, he continues to imagine futures outside of the current neoliberal university that join together community organizing efforts and grassroots education in the humanities. After his doctoral education at the Johns Hopkins University, Mike took a job as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he currently resides.

Cameron Sublett earned his doctorate in education policy, leadership, and research methods from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines policy, finance, and economics in higher education with a particular focus on community colleges. Sublett also researches and writes on career and technical education policy, workforce development, and alternative pathways to school completion. He is an active member of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the American Educational Research Association. Sublett was selected as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and American Enterprise Institute in 2016, and as an Emerging Policy Scholar by the UC Center in Sacramento in 2015.

Neha Vora is associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College. Her research and teaching interests include migration, citizenship, higher education, South Asian and Muslim diasporas, gender, liberalism, political economy, and the state, in the Arabian Peninsula region and in the United States. She is the author of Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora (2013) and Teach for Arabia: American Universities, Liberalism, and Transnational Qatar (2018).

Alison Wood is fellow of Homerton College, University of Cambridge, and academic director of Homerton Changemakers, a co-curricular program focused on capable self-hood in the context of climate crisis and geo-political instability. Her current work aims to reorient universities towards more apt and powerful capabilities for 21st century challenges: projects include contemporary ‘University Keywords’ (Royal Holloway, Cambridge); the future educated self (Cambridge); a critical university studies network (British Academy); and curriculum design for sustainable climate futures (RoundGlass, The Hawkwood Centre). Her writing and advocacy increasingly span academic, institutional, and popular forms. Alison holds a PhD in nineteenth century cultural history from King’s College London, and degrees in music, literature, and history from the University of Adelaide. Between 2013-18 she was Mellon/Newton Interdisciplinary Post-Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at Cambridge.