Terry Eagleton has recently spoken on the idea of the ‘New University’ at Occupy Coleraine in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ulster. Eagleton argues for a new concept of the university, which will reinstate the importance of critical thinking and a humanistic education.
Traditionally, he argues, universities have been taken to cultivate and guard certain values, as ‘places of enquiry, free exploration, dispute, dialectic, investigation and above all critique’. However, that ‘long and honourable tradition’ of the university ‘is now almost dead at its feet’. He argues that we must set about the work of re-creating a space for the exploration of these values, as the space made for enquiry and critique is constantly being diminished in our society.
Eagleton criticizes what the university has become in contemporary society, arguing that ‘the production of knowledge’ has been fully incorporated into ‘the institutions of corporate capitalism’. These institutions have become incapable of valorizing ‘self-realisation’ or ‘self-development’ and education no longer serves a function of ‘critical dialogue’ but consists merely of the ‘production of mind factories which sell commodified bits of knowledge’ in the current ‘education system which is almost a complete technocracy’.
His idea for a “New University” is based on what he sees in occupations such as Occupy Coleraine. What the occupiers represent, he argues, is ‘the real university … the true idea of the university’. At the end of his talk, he extends his solidarity and tells the occupiers,
You are here to defend this space as symbolic of the very idea of education ... you are here to teach the philistines who run these institutions a vital lesson.
Conceptual Art: 'One and Three Chairs' (1965) by Joseph Kosuth
John Rapko wrote a thorough analysis of Peter Osborne’s Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. He deemed the book a crucial addition to current discussions of contemporary art:
This is the first book in English known to me that brings contemporary art as a whole to philosophical consideration, and thereby broadens the characteristic concern of the philosophy of art away from the puzzles associated with conceptual art. Osborne is the first philosopher known to me to have noticed and brought to rich articulation the problem of evaluating distinctively contemporary art, given the 'crisis of mediations' and the sense of any and all categorizations as non-binding. A great deal might well be done, but Osborne's efforts should provide one of the orienting points for future work.
Jean-Philippe Deranty, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University, wrote a commending analysis of Jacques Rancière's Aisthesis in Parrhesia Journal. He writes that Aisthesis "proposes significant conceptual innovations in relation to aesthetics" and is held together by "the constellation of interlinked formal concepts and thematic threads beign woven throughout the fourteen chapters."
With the passing of André Schiffrin, the publishing world has lost a giant and Verso a much-respected author, whose razor-sharp analysis of the publishing industry has been vindicated many times over.
Culturally, intellectually and physically he inhabited two worlds: Paris/New York. The single most important influence on his life was his father Jacques Schiffrin, a refugee from St Petersburg who arrived in France in 1920 and by 1923, had established a publishing house, La Pléiade, a permanent bequest to French culture. The publishing house started by translating the Russian classics, translated into French by Schiffrin and established a strong reputation as a house of quality, that later became an imprint within Gallimard but with Jacques in complete editorial control. André was born in 1935.
André talked me into book publishing, when most of my friends were abandoning the dying planet of print for the exciting new cosmos of the Internet. He somehow managed to suggest that publishing was both doomed and indispensable. In any case, he didn’t talk much about the book “industry”—a term he hated—when we first met. Instead, he poured out a stream of questions about The Village Voice, where I was writing and editing—who are the most interesting writers?, what are they covering?, what is she saying about labor? Then questions about the media landscape—how does this compare to what Ehrenreich had written recently? Sen? Ha Joon Cha? Then history—but what about Piven’s arguments about the ‘30s? Arrighi’s? I discovered two things the first time I talked to André. One was what he wrote about his conversations with his good friend Foucault: “Simply talking to him made me feel much more intelligent than I was.” The other is that I knew nothing.