Call for Papers: Capitalism, Social Science and the Platform University

December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how socio-technical innovations may be leading to a new phase of capitalist accumulation. To talk of ‘platform capitalism’ in this sense does not exclude consideration of parallel notions such as digital capitalism, data capitalism and surveillance capitalism but rather seeks to frame these considerations through a focus upon the platform as a novel assemblage.

While research into social media and the sharing economy is relatively advanced, the increasing centrality of platforms to the operation of the university remains understudied and undertheorised. Our conference seeks to rectify this, raising the possibility of the ‘platform university’ as a provocation to stimulate discussion concerning platforms, the commercial and academic science they depend upon and contribute to reshaping, as well as their implications for the future of the university. We see the university as a case study for inquiry into platforms, but also as a horizon of change within which the social sciences seek to address these processes. 

We invite papers which address the full range of questions posed by these considerations, including topics such as:

  • The ontology of platforms
  • The epistemology of platforms
  • Methodological challenges in studying platforms
  • The transformation of the social sciences
  • The politics and political economy of platforms
  • Platforms as evaluative infrastructures
  • Platform education and the platform university 

There will be a keynote by Ben Williamson on The expanding data infrastructure of higher education: public-private policy networks and platform plug-ins.

We welcome abstracts of 500 words or less by July 31st 2018, sent to mac228@cam.ac.uk. Please include a brief biographical note, as well as three key words to categorise your submission. We also plan to publish a select set of papers as a special issue or edited book and are in conversation with journal editors and publishers. We hope to have limited travel and accommodation funding available for unfunded PhD students and post-docs but cannot confirm this at present. 

Theorising Race and Racism in Education: Easter Term 2018

Alternate Fridays 14:00-16:00
Easter term 2018: ‘Theorists from across the globe’

Donald McIntyre Building, Room 2S3, Faculty of Education

Convened by: Arathi Sriprakash, Amina Shareef, Sharon Walker, Amberley Middleton, Christy Kultz

Session 1: April 27, 2018

Using humour and critique, Fanon considers racial constructions, in this case, ‘black’, and how these shape the ways in which those racialized as black understand being human.

Fanon, F (2008 [1962 – English version]). Black Skin, White Masks. Pluto Press

Suggested Chapters: If you are short of time and unable to read the whole book, give particular attention to Chapter 4 The So-Called Dependency Complex of Colonized Peoples, and Chapter 5 The Fact of Blackness

Session 2: May 11 2018

This paper explores both the personal narratives of a group of black and white undergraduate students and the institutional discourse at one historically white and Afrikaans medium university in post-apartheid South Africa.

Walker, M. (2005) ‘Rainbow nation or new racism? Theorizing race and identity formation in South African higher education,’ Race, Ethnicity and Education, 8(2): 129-146

This article explores the production of post-apartheid Afrikaner identity in South Africa.

Verway, C. & Quayle, M. (2012) ‘Whiteness, racism and Afrikaner identity in post-apartheid South Africa,’ African Affairs, 111(445): 551-575

Session 3: May 25 2018

This paper begins a dialogue on the particular vulnerability of women and girls to anti-Muslim hate crime, predicated on the long-lived vilification of Muslims by the media and the state.

Perry, B. (2014) ‘Gendered Islamophobia: hate crime against Muslim women, Social Identities,’ Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 20(1): 74-89

This article examines the public debate leading to the 2004 French law banning conspicuous religious signs in schools and French colonial attitudes to veiling in Algeria, in conjunction with discourses on the veil that have arisen in other western contexts.

Al-Saji, A. (2010) ‘The Racialization of Muslim Veils: A philosophical analysis,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism, 36(8): 875-902

Session 4: June 8 2018

In this article, Du Bois explains how he sees the carving up of Africa by many European nations, that is the scrabble for colonies, as an underlying cause of World War I.  

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1915) ‘The African Roots of War,’ The Atlantic Monthly, pp.707-714

Worlds of Color explores the problem of the color line and how it relates to the catastrophe of World War I.  

Du Bois, W.E.B. (1925) ‘Worlds of Color,’ Foreign Affairs, 3(3): 423-444