Anna Boswell knows what precarity feels like. For now, she is a Professional Teaching Fellow in Writing Studies at the University of Auckland, and while she dreams of occupying an office fitted with a hamster wheel, she feels lucky to be making do with slivers of support offered by research awards and prizes from the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust, Auckland Museum and the Journal of New Zealand Literature. She talks and writes about settlement in terms of inscription, institutionality and pedagogy, and is becoming increasingly preoccupied with the (healthy) relationship of parasitism to these things.
- "The contemporary ‘redefining’ of the purpose of the university, it turns out, is both prefigured and markedly consistent with earlier definitions."
- "Reaching back to the twelfth century, to the outgrowth from ecclesiastical institutions of what would become the first western universities, Clark’s book charts the programmes of reform through which writing came to serve as the essential site and practice of the university."
- "As this suggests, research is becoming ever more strongly conceptualised as a form of problem-solving rather than problematising and it involves rote gestures and predictability: it’s supposed to be targeted to meet the needs of funders or of other identified external parties, and it’s duty-bound to yield quantifiable results (preferably licensable as intellectual property through the commercial research and ‘knowledge transfer’ companies run by universities themselves and/or by other financial stakeholders)."
- "They should ‘learn’ what disciplines are, and why and how these have evolved; they should ‘know’ what research is, and why we do it, and under what circumstances; they should be critically conscious of the ‘selves’ and social worlds they fashion or unfashion through their work; they should be able to think and repurpose the box, or the checklist of aims and goals and outcomes, rather than simply filling or fulfilling it."
- "It’s more an operative sense that our work might congeal something, ‘blot’-like."
- "Clark himself shows that they certainly aren’t new."
- "The arts (initially comprising philosophy, arts and sciences) consistently tracks as the last-and-least in the ranked order of faculties, trailing behind theology, jurisprudence and medicine—although the hard sciences circumvented this fate once it became clear how well-suited they are to producing demonstrable applied benefits (partnerships, patentability, saleable results)."
- "Many of us have clung—perhaps credulously, in the face of compelling indications to the contrary—to the belief that university industry and enterprise haven’t solely and literally always been about ‘industry’ and ‘enterprise’, and that our work in such places is in some ways to do with teaching and social good."
- "Clark also points towards the paradox that while academics and their institutions acquire ‘charisma’ through the publicity generated by research, much of what is published is emphatically not ‘charismatic’, and that a ‘knowledge economy’ really might mean exactly that: knowledge operating in isolation from ideas and in the service of Big Business and/or of institutional and professional ladder-climbing (grant-mongering, book-contract-procuring)."
- "Research, Clark reminds us, originated in the postgraduate classroom in the eighteenth century, arising as a new method of instruction which would simultaneously train graduates to produce capital for floating on the academic market, fashion their academic selves (as Romantic authors, heroes of knowledge), and mark their passage into a new and competitive world of professionalised labour."