In praise of the index – a conversation

— by Ronald Barnett and Dagrun Engen

A while ago, Dagrun received a short text from Ron that was meant for the En Passant column in the PaTHES Newsletter. Ron wrote in praise of the index – as a writer and as a reader. The thoughts and narratives that Ron articulated in his text resonated with Dagrun’s thoughts and experiences on approaching academic literature as meaningful materialisations of thinking. They decided to write something on this together.

Loneliness and collegiality: a chronicle of academic alienation

— by Julia Molinari

First quarter of 2021. Year #2 of COVID19. Working at home. Small market town, The Midlands, UK.

Like many, I have not set foot on campus for over a year, but I have been emergency remote teaching, home schooling, and researching despite mixed messages about whether business as usual is possible, let alone desirable. Indeed, whether ‘business as usual’ is ever an appropriate moniker to describe academia remains moot. The connotations of ‘business’ with profit, commodity and performativity are all too close for comfort.

Julia Molinari has chosen the chronicle as the genre through which to reflect in times of COVID 19

What’s the use of use?

— by Jakob Egholm Feldt
Being useful is great. It is fundamentally satisfying. When students express that my teaching has been useful for them, I’m both grateful and happy. I’m predisposed to commit myself uncritically to the university of our time: whatever we as university people can do to help, solve problems, make up problems, invent things, evaluate, suggest, calculate or think this or that, I’m all in. Nevertheless, I’m increasingly uneasy about this surge of being useful and solving problems in the real world.

Towards an imperative of togetherness and co-creation

— By Patric Wallin
I have hope that most students and teachers are actually at the university, because they want to learn and become part of a disciplinary community. From this starting point and building on Freire’s idea that ´teaching must begin with solving the teacher/student contradiction, by reconciling the opposite poles, so that both parts are both teachers and students at the same time´, I think we can move towards an imperative of togetherness and co-creation in higher education. An imperative that emphasizes the collective instead of individuals, trust instead of accountability and shared responsibility instead of control and surveillance.