Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Call for book chapter contributions:

Doing Academic Careers Differently: Portraits of academic life

Editors: Sarah Robinson, University of Glasgow; Alexandra Bristow, The Open University; Olivier Ratle, University of the West of England.

Academic career trajectories have for some time been becoming more normative and prescribed. Ideals of what makes a good or successful academic are increasingly seen through the achievement of various institutionally set targets such as publications in top journals and high teaching scores, and through performance management systems which routinely review individuals across a considerable number of pre-determined criteria. Academics are encouraged to carefully cultivate their ‘research profiles’ and digital presence, displaying their ‘H index’ scores, high-level publications and esteem factors and publicly showing allegiance to such externally set manifestations of ‘excellence’ (Butler and Spoelstra, 2012, 2014).

Anxiety to achieve such targets is high and academia is currently fundamentally unhealthy (Bristow et al., 2019), experiencing an ‘epidemic of poor mental health’ (Morrish, 2019) with widespread academic anxiety and insecurity (Bristow et al., 2017; Knights and Clarke, 2014; Smith and Ulus, 2019). A recent Twitter thread notoriously recounted that some successful academics regularly have 100-hour working weeks. How sustainable is such a model and at what costs does such success come? Perhaps implied in such expectations are views of the ‘ideal’ academic worker – maybe someone who is young, without caring commitments, without disability and prepared to engage with academia in very narrowly prescribed terms not of their own making. Perhaps also someone who is prepared and willing to identify a small research niche and to research and publish in this area for many years, targeting (only) the highest ranked journals in the field. Although this is a widespread phenomenon which talks to wider issues of Higher Education governance and management, it has been noted that business and management school academics have been particularly badly affected by the excesses of managerialism and control mechanisms (Huzzard et al., 2017; Kallio et al., 2016; Ratle et al., 2020).

In this climate, normative advice is given to prospective academics as to how to enter and survive academic life: you have to ‘play the game’, to have senior (often male) champions and mentors, you need to be well networked and ‘known’, you need to be visible both internationally at conferences and on social media. Such requirements imply global mobility and assume Western, masculinist interactive norms. How many of the current academic bodies fit, or wish to comply to such norms? The exclusionary nature of such expectations, practices and assumptions needs now to be critically interrogated.

The current Covid-19 crisis adds and will continue to add new levels of complexity to what it means to be an academic in the 21st century. This includes the increasing blurring of home and work boundaries and the rapid digitalization and technologization of academic work. For some, the pandemic may offer time for reflection on their careers to date. For others, the pressing need to balance home and caring responsibilities within a ‘working day’ may bring into sharp focus the growing rigidity of academic workloads and the impossibility of doing everything well. The need to reskill and adapt to different ways of teaching and learning design as well as to respond to mixed institutional messages may also bring new levels of anxiety and confusion. Tensions and contradictions concerning the nature of academic careers before and after the pandemic abound.

As such, this book aims to add to and develop critical academic career studies and critical university studies by challenging orthodoxies and power relations in academic career trajectories. Given the increased pressure to conform to norms and the potential challenges of the (post-)pandemic world, we wish to illustrate how alternative career trajectories can be possible and, in many cases, preferable and advantageous. We wish to do so by providing an outlet for those doing careers differently and/or not conforming to stereotypical academic norms and roles to tell their own stories on their own terms. In so doing we intend to disrupt the implicit discourse of the ideal academic type (e.g. male, Western, free of responsibilities, able-bodied, 100-hour per week working), thus questioning the sustainability of current ‘required’ trajectories and the system this supports.

Most importantly, through the contributions in this book we wish to advise and encourage those starting or considering an academic career in these challenging times, that there are many ways of acquiring and conducting such careers outside of the dominant discourses. Finally, we hope this compilation of insights into alternative academic lives will help to inspire and encourage current academics to re-think and take ownership of their careers according to their own terms.

In inviting contributions this book asks:

1. Are there more inclusive and less prescriptive ways of being an academic which play to individual strengths, motivations and vocations?
2. What lies behind the homogenised institutionalised masks (profiles) we show to the world? What tensions and contradictions have individual academics struggled with? What paths have not been taken or what stories lie hidden or untold?
3. What alternative academic trajectories have been taken that others can learn and take inspiration from?
4. How does the pandemic inform our understanding of academic careers, and how might ways of doing academia differently develop in the post-pandemic world?

In this book we would like to see these questions addressed through the stories of different academic authors from different stages of their careers and from different parts of the world who, through choice or circumstance, do not (fully) play the game/conform to the norms outlined above, thus challenging orthodoxies and inspiring ways of doing academic work differently. We encourage authors to come out from behind their official ‘profiles’ and instead to paint an individual or group self-portrait which reflects individual and/or shared struggles, contradictions and hidden stories. Provocatively, we encourage authors to choose and work with a metaphor or epithet for their self-portrait which in some way challenges current notions of the neoliberal academic. Some indicative suggestions are given below. These are deliberately ambiguous and open to authors’ interpretations however, so contributions are by no means confined to the following:

*   The accidental academic
*   The scatter-gun researcher
*   The caring academic
*   The non-institutionalised academic
*   The public intellectual
*   The part-time academic
*   The hidden talents academic
*   The activist academic/the academic activist
*   The veiled academic
*   The collective academic
*   The vagabond/tourist academic
*   The portfolio academic
*   The naked academic
*   The secret academic
*   The refusenik academic
*   The sustainable academic
*   The pandemic/post-pandemic academic

It is envisaged that most contributions will come from Business School based academics/management and organisation scholars, however contributions from other related disciplines are also welcome.

We are currently under negotiations with the publisher Routledge and would envisage a publication date of 2022. It is anticipated that final chapter length will be between 6,000-8,000 words inclusive of references. However, shorter contributions will be considered. Contributions using non-traditional ways of academic writing (Gilmore et al., 2019) and expression are also welcome.

Please submit expressions of interest in the form of a 500-word abstract to:<><><>

Abstract Deadline: 1st July 2020

Provisional Timeline:

*   Notifications of acceptance 28th August 2020
*   Full chapters required by 7th January 2021


Bristow, A., Robinson, S.  and Ratle, O. (2019) Academic arrhythmia: disruption, dissonance and conflict in the early-career rhythms of CMS academics. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 18(2): 241-260.

Bristow, A., Robinson, S.  and Ratle, O. (2017) Being an early-career CMS academic in the context of insecurity and ‘excellence’: the dialectics of resistance and compliance. Organization Studies, 38(9): 1185-1207.

Butler, N. and Spoelstra, S. (2012) Your Excellency. Organization, 19(6): 891-903.

Butler N. and Spoelstra, S. (2014) The regime of excellence and the erosion of ethos in Critical Management Studies. British Journal of Management, 25(3): 538-550.

Gilmore, S., Harding, N., Helin, J. and Pullen, A. (2019) Writing Differently. Management Learning, 50(1): 3-10.

Huzzard, T., Benner, M. and Kärreman, D. (eds) (2017) The Corporatization of the Business School: Minerva Meets the Market. London: Routledge.

Kallio, KM., Kallio, TJ., Tienari, J.  (2016) Ethos at stake: Performance management and academic work in universities. Human Relations, 69(3): 685-709.

Knights, D. and Clarke, C. (2014) It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life: fragile academic selves and insecure identities at work. Organization Studies, 35(3): 335-357.

Morrish, L. (2019) Pressure Vessels: The epidemic of poor mental health among higher education staff, HEPI Occasional Paper 20. London: Higher Education Policy Institute. Available at:

Ratle, O., Robinson, S., Bristow, A. and Kerr, R. (2020) Mechanisms of micro-terror? Early career CMS academics’ experiences of ‘targets and terror’ in contemporary business schools. Management Learning. OnlineFirst.

Smith, C., and Ulus, E. (2019) Who cares for academics? We need to talk about emotional wellbeing including what we avoid and intellectualize through macro-discourses. Organization, OnlineFirst: 1-18.

Posted: June 9, 2020 by zombieacademy in Brains, Politics, Readings, Research, Teaching

Literate people (not us) have assembled some reading:

Racial Justice Reading List & Resources

is this moment radicalizing you? let’s get some readings lined up for you. a thread

Revolutionary Study Guide


See also, White Academia: Do Better


Hashtag Syllabus Project





Strike UK

Posted: February 21, 2020 by zombieacademy in Academy, Politics, Research, Teaching
Tags: , ,



Accelerated Academy at Michigan State University (Nov 22-23)

Posted: November 12, 2019 by zombieacademy in Events, Research

We are pleased to announce the full program of Accelerated Academy 7:
Prospecting: Extraction, Speculation, and Liberation in the Accelerated
Academy at Michigan State University November 22-23.

The Symposium will utilize the concept of “prospecting” to think through
the different economic interests, technical assemblages, and affective
regimes that shape academic life, labor, and outcomes today.

The two-day symposium will feature panels, workshops, and artistic projects
from more than 20 scholars. dr. sava saheli singh will deliver the keynote,
“Love in the Time of Surveillance Capitalism: How Algorithms Are Reshaping
Our Intimate Online Spaces.”

****Registration is required via Eventbrite

Remote participation is possible via Zoom.


Day 1 // Friday, Nov. 22

9 am

Welcome remarks, land acknowledgment


Panel 1 // Platforms. Data. Speed. Now.

Riyad A Shahjahan  – Geopolitics of being and datafication of higher
education: Towards embracing un/certainty

Mark Carrigan – Can platformised scholarship be collective? [R]

Matthew Applegate – Digital Tools as Critical Theory: Edu-Factory to
Digital Humanities

Justin Clark – Seeking Faster Minds in the American University [R]

11am // Break


WORKSHOP // Filip Vostal: Technologies of Time

12:00 Noon // Lunch (catered)


Panel 2 // Questioning Institutions, Questioning Identity

Matt Rosen – Three Questions about Education [R]

Jessica Butler – Gilding the ivory: Ideal masculinity, academic
identity, self-promotion, and experiences of belonging/impostorhood from
the ‘golden age’ to neoliberalised English higher education [R]

Steven Weiland  – Time and Texts: Questions of Reading in the
Accelerated Academy

3pm // Break


Panel 3 // “On” and “Off” Campus: Community and the University

Rubén Martinez – Labor Concerns on the Modern Dairy Farm

Sarah Schönbauer – From bench to stage – How life scientists’
participation in leisure groups creates caring relationships

Ian Butcher – Expropriated Campuses and Community-Directed Higher Ed [R]

Dafne Calvo – Collective, Collaborative and Free: Lessons from Studying
the Commons

5pm // Break

5:15pm // Keynote address by dr. sava saheli singh:  “Love in the Time of
Surveillance Capitalism: How Algorithms Are Reshaping Our Intimate Online

6:15 // Musical Performance: The Two-Body Problem, followed by Dinner and
Drinks at Beggar’s Banquet

ALL DAY: artwork by Anicca Cox

Day 2 // Saturday, Nov. 23


WORKSHOP – Sarah Ng and Noopur Raval: Global South’s Knowledge Production
and Delinking from Inequality


Panel 4 // Staying with the Trouble by Cultivating Your Path to
Intellectual Leadership

A conversation with: Dean Chris Long, Associate Deans Sonja Fritzsche,
Bill Hart-Davidson, and Cara Cilano

12:45pm // Lunch

2 pm

WORKSHOP // Ellie Louson and Kathleen Fitzpatrick: The Future is Generous

3 pm

WORKSHOP // Kimine Mayuzumi: Reclaiming Our Body and Implementing Rituals

4 pm



Drinks and goodbyes!

[R] = remote presentation

Posted: October 21, 2019 by zombieacademy in Academy, News, Politics, Research, Teaching

The International Australian Studies Association (InASA) is writing in response to recent press reports of the discontinuation of the Chair of Australian Literature at University of Sydney unless philanthropic funding is forthcoming (SMH 15/10/2019; The Australian 16/10/19). InASA urges immediate reconsideration of this course of action on numerous grounds.

At a time when tensions are particularly acute between national interests and global politics—particularly on University campuses in teaching and research—in-depth and specialised expertise of Australian culture in both its distinctiveness and its global connections is essential to provide knowledge and leadership to the public, students, and government. Australian literature, understood as part of an expanded public sphere and cultural industry, makes an enormous contribution to Australia’s self-image and to our international profile. Leading writers all contribute to a range of topical issues and debates through different perspectives and from different positions. The study of Australian literature amplifies such writers’ voices and provides a stage for their contribution to intellectual thought. Professor Robert Dixon’s leadership in the Sydney Studies in Australian Literature book series, enabled by his role as the University Chair, is an excellent example of this.

There are now thirty-eight “Australian Studies Centres” in China, and many Chinese academics have trained in Australian literature and participate in Australia’s extension of influence and “soft power” in the Asia- Pacific region. This is also evident in the Australia-Japan Foundation Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo (regularly held by Australian literature specialists).

Humanities and Social Sciences in Australian universities face new challenges, with philanthropic funding being marketed as a panacea for disinvestment by university administrations and federal governments led by ill-informed and instrumentalist agendas. It is particularly disappointing to see the University of Sydney proposing to outsource its core business in this way, given the strong stance taken by many academics there questioning the potential for philanthropic funding to infringe upon academic freedom.

Finally, the announcement of the disinvestment in Australian Literature comes only months after the Parliament of Australia called an “Inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy”. The Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney has long played a national role in precisely the issues raised as under threat by the Senate’s inquiry, and it is extremely unfortunate that the University of Sydney does not consider literature to have a future role in such critical concerns.

We strongly urge the University of Sydney to reconsider its position and to support the ongoing funding of the University of Sydney Chair in Australian Literature.




Survival itself has something nonsensical about it today, like dreams in which, having experienced the end of the world, one afterwards crawls from the basement.

T.W. Adorno, Minimal Moralia.

Critique is always a critique of some instituted practice, discourse, episteme, institution, and it loses its character the moment in which it is abstracted from its operation and made to stand alone as a purely generalizable practice.

Judith Butler, What is Critique? An Essay on Foucault’s Virtue.

Moralistic reproaches to certain kinds of speech or argument kill critique […] by configuring political injustice and political righteousness as a problem of remarks, attitude, and speech rather than a matter of historical, political-economic and cultural formations of power.

Wendy Brown, Politics Out of History.

Critical thinking in the business school has reached a decisive and alarming impasse. On the one hand, despite nearly thirty years of Critical Management Studies, the wider world of work, corporations and the economy has never looked bleaker. Harvey Weinstein, the impending ecocide, and a triumphant global elite have almost reduced radical politics (and society more generally) to a burnout wreckage of pointless complaint. If critical thinking once harboured the optimistic hope of making a practical difference, in the face of such a brutal reality it now risks being an inept moralising bystander grimacing at others’ attitudes as the ship goes down.

On the other hand, the business school itself has embraced ‘extreme neoliberalism’, with rampant managerialism and edict-issuing technocrats in full bloom. Sadly, even the institution that critical scholars call home is often touted as one of the more extreme emblems of all that’s wrong with late capitalism. When it comes to keeping our own house in order, it’s almost as if Critical Management Studies has been fiddling while Rome burned.

This workshop will provide scholars with the opportunity to reimagine how critique can emerge from the business school in light of the dismal actuality that we find ourselves in. Can we crawl from the wreckage of a devastated neoliberal order? And is the practical revitalisation of critical thinking commensurate with the business school in its present form? Indeed, if it is true that the old order is now dying and the new one is struggling to be born, then we welcome papers that seek to bring about a renaissance of criticality in the business school and beyond. Where to start? We could begin by revisiting, what does it mean to offer critique? What does it mean to critique from a particular position and place? What does achieving critique amount to? How will critique manifest and mutate as we move forward in scholarship and praxis?

Although by no means inclusive, possible topics could include:

·       Critical thinking, its origins and future in the business school and university

·       De-neoliberalizing the business school in an era of high-technocracy

·       Capitalism and the future of the university

·       Leftist Critique and radical politics in a Trumpian nightmare

·       Gender and critical thinking in the post-Weinstein era

·      The role of critical performativity in critique

·       Laying bodies on the line through embodied critique

·       The places and spaces of critique

·       The ethics of critique

·       The co-optation of critique into capitalist business school metrics, practices and ideologies

·       The death (and rebirth) of radical democracy in the business school

·       Decolonising critique

·       What comes after critique?

·       Connection to land and Indigenous knowledge within critique

·       Critique from marginal thought

·       Critique as methodological approach

·       Critique as activism

OrganizersPeter Fleming and Alison Pullen 

Date: 20-21 February 2020 

Location: Frank Gehry Building, Sydney

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 December 2019

Please send submissions to both Peter Fleming ( and Alison Pullen ( Abstracts of 350 words are due December 1st 2019 and final papers February 1st 2020.

Other details

Due to the generous sponsorship of the Department of Management, UTS Business School and Macquarie Business School there will be no workshop fee. Attendees are required to fund travel and accommodation. Refreshments on both days will be provided, as well as a Sydney Harbour view dinner on Thursday 20th February. The workshop includes an opportunity to participate in a cultural heritage guided tour.

Whilst presentation facilities are available, we would like to create a Powerpoint free space.

ephemera special issue

A special issue will be developed from papers given at this workshop.

Posted: September 12, 2018 by zombieacademy in Readings, Research

Higher degree research by numbers: beyond the critiques of neo-liberalism

Posted: June 19, 2018 by zombieacademy in Readings, Research, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


Posted: May 11, 2018 by zombieacademy in Academy, Readings, Research

Ethics are admin

Posted: February 26, 2018 by zombieacademy in Academy, Readings, Research, Teaching

Whose University Is It Anyway?