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,

Difficult and uncertain times make decision-making itself difficult and uncertain. After much consultation and deliberation, we have concluded that we will have to postpone the Universities Under Siege? conference, originally to be held in Uppsala in October 2021. The new date is set for 7-9 June 2022.

Papers accepted for the October 2021 conference constitute the basis for the June 2022 conference program. For that reason, we would be grateful if you could notify the organizing committee, at your earliest convenience, whether you intend to participate in the June 2022 conference or must cancel your participation.

  • If you will attend the conference, please notify the organizing committee (phec2020@humsam.uu.se) no later than November 1, 2021, and state if you plan to attend in person or online. New or revised abstracts will be considered until 25 February 2022, provided that the paper remains within the scope of the conference themes.

  • If you will not attend the June 2022 conference, please notify the organizing committee (phec2020@humsam.uu.se) no later than November 1, 2021 to withdraw your paper/panel from the conference.

We regret the delays and complications that have arisen due to the pandemic crisis, but we trust that that the postponement comes as no great surprise, especially given the situation in Sweden.

We look forward to welcoming you to Uppsala in June 2022, which we hope will be a healthy and happier time for everyone. The next PaTHES conference, with the theme Solidarity and/in the University, will take place in Gdansk in 2023.


Professor Sharon Rider, on behalf of the organizing committee

While we wait for the conference to take place

The organizers the 4th annual Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Conference invite you to a webinar-event on 11-12 October, 2021. Read more and sign up for the webinars below, or download the flyer.

While we wait for the conference to take place

Webinars on 11-12 October, 2021

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the 4th annual Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Conference that was planned to take place in Uppsala on October 19th–20th, 2020, was postponed. The new date is set for June 7th-9th, 2022. In the interim, the organizers have offered a series of two-day webinars twice a year. You are cordially invited to the next webinars on October 11th–12th, 2021. Webinar 1 will touch on the main themes of the conference (https://www.humsam.uu.se/phec2020/about/) in light of a comparative international analysis of the state of academic freedom. Webinar 2 welcomes all junior scholars coming to the study of higher education, including postdocs and MA and PhD students, to share and discuss their research and project ideas.

The event is organized by The Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Society (PaTHES) and Uppsala University’s Center for Higher Education and Research as Objects of Study (HERO).

The event is free and open to all interested, but registration is obligatory. If you wish to attend, please send an email, with your name, title and affiliation, and email-address to: phec2020@humsam.uu.se Please sign up for the webinars before October 5, 2021.

Webinar 1: The State of Academic Freedom

Date and time: October 11th, 2021, at 16.00–18.00 CEST

Panel members:

Professor Cris Shore, Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

Professor Wesley Shumar, Department of Communication, Drexel University, USA​

Professor Susan Wright, Department of Educational Anthropology, Co-Director of Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF), Aarhus University, Denmark

Webinar 1 will be chaired by Professor Sharon Rider, Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Webinar 2: Thinking in Progress - A PaTHES Community-Building Event

Date and time: October 12th, 2021, at 15.00–18.00 CEST

For participation in the project workshop, please send a short outline (ca 500 words) describing your academic position, background (MA, PhD, postdoc, independent, etc.) and institutional affiliation (university, faculty, discipline) as well as your research topic, central themes, theories, core concepts and methods. Say something about what sort of issues you would like the webinar to address. Submit your outline at https://forms.gle/vkK95k9tUYZ2rxEEA no later than October 5.


15:00 Part 1 - Lecture and panel discussion

  • Ron Barnett: ‘Woods and Trees: In Praise of the Big Picture’
Professor Ron Barnett

  • PATHES member panel: Why I joined the PATHES community and why I stayed

16:00 Part 2 - Project workshop

  • Thinking together: breakout groups consisting of 2 faculty members and 3-5 junior scholars to discuss your research ideas with PATHES’ senior scholars

17:15 Part 3 - Closing session

  • Key points & future steps: Tessa DeLaquil, PhD Student, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College and Dagrun Astrid Aarø Engen, Associate Professor, Department for Education and Lifelong Learning, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, chair a conversation about building a PaTHES research community for junior scholars. 
Tessa DeLaquil and Dagrun Astrid Aarø Engen

Previous seminars

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: 2021-09-02