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Charney, Michael W. (2021) State-Think and the Problem with University Education in Post-Colonial Societies. FORSEA Featured Opinion [Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs]

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Abstract

in Southeast Asia and other regions today, universities cloak themselves with high profile links with elite institutions elsewhere, by creating nominal centres for critical thought, often bringing in internationally famous academicians. But these appendages very soon succumb to the colonial mode of university education like the rest of the institution and the famous personages they import flee, if they can, to Oxford or Kyoto, but never to another Southeast Asian university, ever again. This game is about pretending to encourage critical thinking only to win higher ratings on international university rankings. The illusion of critical thought afforded by the existence of these high-profile research centres masks the reality of a very regulated, closely monitored, and highly risky intellectual commons. This closing up of genuine intellectual counter-spaces marks the critical moment when universities go from saying this is what the state wishes to teach you, to this is what the state limits your understanding to be. And they cancel the contracts for books, reject inviting talks by scholars, and ignore work that shows a different way to view one or another of the societies in the region. Worryingly, this appears to be the trend for some time into the future, especially with the apparent success of many authoritarian states in controlling Covid.

Item Type: Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs
Keywords: Education, colonialism, education, universities, decolonising, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, state think, academic freedom
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 15:42
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/35432

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