Universities under siege?

4th annual Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Conference 7–9 June, 2022

The new date is set for 7-9 June 2022

Dear conference participants,

As you will recall, the Universities Under Siege? conference has been postponed until 7–9 June 2022. Papers accepted for the 2020 conference, together with a few new abstracts that have been accepted since the original CFP, constitute the basis for the June 2022 conference program.

During the course of the pandemic, we have worked with both on-site and online models for the conference in order to be prepared for all eventualities. After serious consideration, we have arrived at the conclusion that planning for a purely physical conference was too risky given the still very worrying Covid-19 situation, both in Sweden and in other countries, the potential spread of the subvariant omicron BA.2 and the likelihood that restrictions on travel and large gatherings might be reinstated, not to mention the uncertainties surrounding the current situation in Ukraine.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we have decided to organize the conference based on the following basic scheme.

Registration for the conference will be opened later this week (see https://www.humsam.uu.se/phec2020) and not close until the middle of April. There will be no conference fee.

Keynotes lectures (Kerstin Sahlin, Steve Fuller and David Goodhart) will take place on June 8, and be streamed live by a professional digital communication agency so that international attendees can ask questions and be part of the general discussion. People who choose to come to Uppsala will be part of the live audience, and welcome to the coffee breaks and an informal reception afterwards as guests of HERO.

June 9 will be devoted to online papers and panels, which will be entirely virtual, i.e. even those participants who choose to come to Uppsala will deliver their presentations over Zoom.

PaTHES will organise social events in Uppsala on June 7th and June 9th for its members. On June 7, PaTHES will organise a lecture, a panel discussion and a session for PhD students and ECRs to present their projects. PaTHES will also arrange opportunities for networking and community-building, such as lunches and dinners together. For participants who wish to partake in these events, PaTHES membership must be registered and paid in full prior to participation. Details about the PaTHES sponsored events on June 7th and 9th will be made available on the conference webpage shortly.

We look forward to welcoming you to Uppsala or online in June 2022, which we hope will be a healthy and happier time for everyone.


Professor Sharon Rider, on behalf of the organising committee

Previous seminars

Webinar on March 7, 2022

In the spring of 2022, HERO and PaTHES arranged a webinar with presentations by Lars Engwall (“The Governance of Universities”) and Mats Hyvönen (“Social Media and the Blurring Boundaries of Academia”).

Two-Part webinar event on October 11–12, 2021

In the fall of 2021, HERO and PaTHES arranged a two-part webinar event with presentations by Cris Shore, Wesley Shumar and Susan Wright (“The State of Academic Freedom”) and a workshop (“Thinking in Progress – A PaTHES Community-Building Event”).

Two-Part webinar event on March 17th and April 21st, 2021

In the spring of 2021, HERO and PaTHES arranged a two-part webinar event with presentations by Professor Steve Fuller ("The University as a Revolutionary Constitution") and Professor Mikael Börjesson ("The Persisting Social Structure of Higher Education in the Context of Radical System Change and Expansion").

For more information, download the webinar flyer here. 

Webinars on 19-20 October, 2020

On the original dates of the conference, a two-day webinar event was organized. The webinars – “Student Activism and academic freedom” and “Academic experts: on top or on tap?” – touched on the main theme of the conference.

For more information, download the webinar flyer here.

Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Conference (PHEC)

Phec 2020, Uppsala University

Time: 7–9 June, 2022
Place: Uppsala University

Universities under siege?

“The crisis of the university” is a familiar topos in contemporary discussions about higher education. It is said that the University is facing untold threats from, inter alia, the anti-intellectualism of populist politicians and authoritarian regimes, the commodification of knowledge resulting from neo-liberal ideas about utility and international competition, the politicization of teaching and learning arising out of identity movements, the fragmenting of the university in response to stakeholder demands, and so forth. This conference poses the question: Is this really the case? And, if so, what exactly is being threatened?

Last modified: 2022-03-14