Critical University Studies
Contact: Caleb Dawson

The Critical University Studies (CUS) working group contends with issues of power, race, class, and gender in higher education. We draw inspiration from the Black radical tradition and Black feminism in particular, Indigenous studies, and decolonial theory. In this working group we seek to 1) deepen our theoretical inquiry and empirical links with existing scholarship, and 2) strengthen our methodological approaches on how to conduct ethical and rigorous research in university and community settings, and 3) cultivate community that supports graduate students through milestones, and creates networks beyond degree completion. Our group’s interests include: Neoliberalism and academic free speech; Politics of redemption, carcerality, and the pipeline from prisons to postsecondary education; Political economy of student debt, surveillance, and athletic exploitation; Youth and student movements, democratization of higher education; Decolonization and “globalization” of higher education; The gendered labor involved in including Black people in white institutions. By focusing on power, violence, and the experiences, needs, and agency of historically marginalized groups, we also hope to demonstrate a pathway for departments and centers to deepen their respective engagement with critical university studies.