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The university in the populist age

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Right-wing populism threatens the future of higher education, but remaining passive and retreating to a disinterested vision of the university will actually strengthen the attacks. Faculty have a responsibility to work in solidarity to fight back against these threats. Right-wing populism has been on the rise in recent years, intensifying following the 2008 global financial […]

Trump, Brexit, and the academy

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There is some truth in the populist attack that the academy has sold-out to corporate interests and become inaccessible to many. Universities should unambiguously reassert themselves as transparent and open institutions that serve the public interest. “The Brexit vote and the Trump campaign, as well as the success of populist candidates around the world, highlight […]

A populist wake-up call for universities

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For many, universities do not represent opportunity or self-realization, but instead elite self-regard and academic exchanges in which they see no relevance. What can faculty do to change these perceptions? Can we step out of our bubble for a moment? I hope so, because unless we do we will not see that we are losing […]

International students and Canada’s future on the right

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Populist and anti-immigrant sentiment in the US and UK means that more international students are coming to study at postsecondary institutions in Canada. But, what Canada will they find when they get here? The political events of the past year have been a recurring sitcom of oddities, leading many Canadians to bring out the popcorn […]

Canada’s university administrators must pay attention to right-wing activism on campuses

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The surge in racism on university campuses is part of a broader right-wing awakening across the country. University administrators must counter these developments, or the credibility of their institutions will suffer. That a populist wave has swept over much of the Western world (and beyond) in recent years should not be lost on Ontario’s post-secondary […]

Global higher education, social solidarity, and the new nationalism

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Higher education serves both national and global interests in the pursuit of knowledge and student learning. Given populism’s nationalist roots, there is mounting pressure to redefine the university’s mission. How should universities respond? The last twelve months have seen a great shift in the North Atlantic political landscape, with only Canada immune (so far). Nobody […]

Populist citizen politics — Beyond the Manichean mindset

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A positive political alternative to the rise of demagogic populism will require a vibrant vision of democratic society and the empowerment of individuals to work through these differences. Universities should not be just observers, but engaged participants. In the inflamed and divided public culture of the United States, we need a different understanding of populism […]

Telling stories: U of T scholar discovers new role as radio host

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In a new radio show, university professor Minelle Mahtani is creating a space where fellow researchers feel respected, honoured, and heard. “And the weather today—well, it’s another rainy one, Vancouver—6 degrees in the city, with more rain anticipated for tomorrow. For more information, go to roundhouseradio.com…” I still smile when I hear myself rattle off […]