This network will develop researchers’ capacity in the emerging field of Critical University Studies (CUS). Drawing on disciplines across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences CUS is both scholarly and political, setting out to better understand how Universities can serve the public good and to enact changes that will enable that service. During the last decade the field has reached critical mass: both Johns Hopkins and Palgrave have launched CUS book series and major programmes have been supported in the US, UK and Europe (e.g. the European Commission funded consortium ‘Universities in the Knowledge Economy’ (UNIKE), Aarhus, 2013-17).

Arguably, expertise in this field is needed more than ever as Universities, their environments, and their commitments become more complex; and as those complexities highlight an urgent need for better, pragmatic visions of what Universities are and do. But CUS poses serious challenges for early career scholars: because it is a relatively new, cross-disciplinary and trans-sector field, work usually happens alongside or within other disciplinary structures. Building visibility and viability can be unusually challenging, particularly in terms of job-finding, grant funding and publication. There are significant issues around methodology: not only across constituent disciplines – which vocabularies will dominate? What constitutes evidence? – but also in relation to the scope of the questions asked. And opportunities for collaborative experimentation and guidance on this are rare. Finally, the necessarily trans-sector enquiry of CUS and its ambitions for change often demand perspectives within scholarship and beyond, requiring well-established personal networks and connections.

This network will identify strategies for advancing scholarship in this context, and develop capacity for leadership by early career scholars via sustained contact with each other, with experienced academics, and with policy makers.

Work will include:

  • 3 full-day workshops January–June 2018 (discussion based, problem-solving oriented) and a related symposium on 'Academic Citizenship'
  • input from leading scholars, policy makers and senior University administrators
  • blog posts on the CRASSH website, a briefing paper, and a co-edited special issue developed by network members

The network is convened by CRASSH Mellon/Newton Fellow Dr Alison Wood and supported by a British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Award. If you would like to know more about the network, please contact Dr Wood.

Supported by the British Academy, the new Critical University Studies early career researcher network held their inaugural workshop at CRASSH, Cambridge on 23 January 2018. 


'Mapping the Emerging Field of Critical University Studies'. 23 January 2018, CRASSH, Cambridge

'Scholarship in Policy, Policy in Scholarship'. 23 May 2018, British Academy, London. With Professor Helen Small (Oxford) and Dr Diana Beech (HEPI). 

Global Matters’. 20 and 21 June 2018, CRASSH, Cambridge (1.5 day workshop). In conjunction with the symposium ‘Academic Citizenship’, convened by Alison Wood, Richard Oosterhoff and Theodor Dunkelgrün. With Professor Christopher Newfield (University of California, Santa Barbara)


Network Membership

Dr Ruth Abbott Lecturer, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge
Manuscript studies, textual scholarship, textual editing, history of universities, history of scholarship, history of writing

Dr Janneke Adema Research Fellow in Digital Media, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University
Media theory, cultural studies, books, experimental publishing, open access, critical theory, posthumanities
Website: https://openreflections.wordpress.com/

Dr Jana Bacevic  PhD Candidate, Sociology, University of Cambridge
Social and political theory, epistemology and history of ideas, and political economy

Dr Diana Beech  Director of Policy and Advocacy, Higher Education Policy Research Institute

Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi  Lecturer, Higher Education Studies, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work Curator, Higher Education Studies Arts Archive, Queen’s University Belfast

Staff academic development; educational development; creative arts education; interpretation

Common to my teaching, research and community engagement are the academic development projects which aim to achieve the ‘transformation’ of and in higher education, and how they are constructed and negotiated in relation to geopolitical legacies of conflict and inequality. Similarly, I am interested in how creative arts education negotiates such legacies in relation to authorship. Underpinning both of these overarching areas, is a concern for the interpretative frameworks that are used by gatekeepers in contexts undergoing change, and the ways in which they constrain or enable agency. Informed by the largely ineffectual shifts that have been effected in historically white institutions in South Africa, my orientation has steadily become more critical of gestures at such institutions made in the name of ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘inclusivity’, and as such have been drawn to work looking at the politics of belonging and representation within the dynamics of interpretation, assessment and evaluation.

Dr Richard Budd Lecturer in Education Studies  Associate Director, Centre for Education and Policy Analysis [Liverpool Hope University, blogger, ‘Stuff About Unis’
Higher education, sociology, international comparisons, organisational studies, the student experience

Dr Aline Courtois  Research Associate, Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education, UCL
Elite education; internationalisation of higher education and student mobility; casualization of work in higher education; higher education and the public good

Dr Fadia Dakka  Post-Doctoral Researcher, Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education Visiting Lecturer (Sociology) Birmingham City University
Competition fetish, University crisis, Anticipation, Rhythmanalysis, Critique
Fadia’s research interests include institutional competition and competitiveness, neoliberal critique, university crisis and possible futures. She is particularly interested in the dynamics and  interplay between social acceleration, rhythm and affect within the contemporary academy.

Dr Erika Darics Lecturer of Applied Linguistics, Aston University

Dr Theodor Dunkelgrün  Senior Research Associate and Academic Co-ordinator, Religious Diversity and the Secular University, CRASSH, University of Cambridge

Dr Sol Gamsu
Post-Doctoral Researcher, Geographies of Higher Education: Spatial and Social Motilities

Elin Danielsen Huckerby PhD candidate in Criticism and Culture, English, University of Cambridge
Msc Computer Technology, MA Comparative Literature,   Philosophical and literary  pragmatism, history of literature and philosophy, history of ideas, Literature, politics, ethics. Digital technologies.

Dr Eric Lybeck Lecturer in Sociology, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow 'The Academic Self: Changes in University Expectations since 1800'
Lybeck’s research explores long-term trends within modern universities resulting in changed conceptions of what it means to be educated since the industrial and democratic revolutions. Of central concern are the contradictions in the academic profession's preservation of an 'anti-elitist' ethic from an otherwise elitist social position – and the effects this has on modern societies as universities become more central.

Dr Richard Oosterhoff Post-Doctoral Researcher, Genius before Romanticism Project, CRASSH, University of Cambridge

Dr Tom Parkinson  Lecturer in HE and Academic Practice & PGDip/MA Programme Director, Unit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Kent

Dr Rebeckah Smith-McGloin  Director, Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, Coventry University

Dr Samuel Solomon  Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing (English) Co-Director, Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence, University of Sussex
The relations between HEIs and literary/critical practice, poetic experimentation in the context of radical C 20/21 social movements, race and poetics in the UK, the politics of literary pedagogy, feminist theory, Marxism, materialist accounts of sexuality, radical print culture, Yiddish literature, and literary translation.

Dr Frank Su  Senior Lecturer in Higher Education Studies, Liverpool Hope University
Cross-cultural learning contexts & the development of the learner within higher education settings; and the development of higher education policy and its impact on student experience and academic practice.

Dr Elizabeth Swann http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/people/profile/elizabeth-swann Post-Doctoral Researcher, Crossroads of Knowledge Project, CRASSH, University of Cambridge
My research comprises work towards two monographs that address, in different ways, the physical, sensory, and affective dimensions of knowledge, with a focus on the scientific, medical, theological, and literary cultures of early modern England. Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary methodologies, I contend that, in literature, we encounter knowledge as an embodied, passionate, and historically situated set of practices and experiences. I also have a developing interest in the knowledge cultures of the modern academy, and I am particularly interested in entanglements of knowledge, power, and vulnerability.

Dr Hope Wolf Lecturer in British Modernist Literature (English), Co-Director (with Sara Crangle) of the Centre for Modernist Studies,  University of Sussex

Dr Alison  Wood (Network Convenor) Mellon/Newton Interdisciplinary Research Fellow Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) University of Cambridge
History and future of universities. History of scholarly labour and organisations, especially in nineteenth-century Britain. Academic Citizenship. Research Leadership.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk