<agu> how to build up a global autonomous university?

Ned Rossiter ned at nedrossiter.org
Mon May 12 12:29:34 CEST 2008

good to see this concrete initiative.

One suggestion I have: keep the other edu-factory list open.  I have  
never understood why the organizers decide to close it.  I can see  
some point behind wanting to keep discussions focussed on the 2  
programs to date, but in my view closing the list refuses the logic  
of the 'multitude' to come up with proposals in addition to and/or  
conflicting with what appears as a control-freak mentality of the  

Furthermore, there is a danger in thinking that switching a list on  
and off guarantees the remobilization of thought/reconnection with  
participants.  The other list, in my view, should be able to develop  
its own rhythm, voices, debates, etc.  It is one strategic way of  
maintaining a continuum of thought.

As for the proposals below - a wiki could be one way to collectively  
build and modify curricula.

And I think the main site should include an open blog so that people  
can post related sites, texts, etc. In this way the terrain is more  
effectively mapped and participants have a sense of collective  
investment in the project.

In other words, edu-factory needs to open its shop.


On 11 May 2008, at 21:47, info at edu-factory.org wrote:

> Dear all,
> This is the first message of a new list: Global Autonomous
> University. The project is a development of edu-factory. So
> far edu-factory has organized two rounds of list discussion
> with many contributions on the questions of conflicts in the
> knowledge production, labor market hierarchisation and the
> university, and the networking of autonomous universities
> and auto-education initiatives. As rich as the list
> discussion and its transnational diffusion have been, we
> think it is now time to take some more pragmatic steps
> toward the establishment of what has become known, during
> the edu-factory experience, as a Global Autonomous
> University.
> The title of this initiative, particularly the word global,
> needs a preliminary clarification. We do not intend this
> project as the invention of an institution that is truly
> worldwide in scope. As one contributor to the list
> commented: who would be the audience for such an initiative,
> what languages would be used, would ideas/proposals travel
> seamlessly from one context to another? But we do think it
> is possible to bring together some existing auto-education
> projects, which have sprung up in various places in the
> world, to cooperate in research, the offering of courses and
> perhaps even degrees. Thus global doesn’t mean the
> proposition of a universal model of resistance and the
> alternative university. On the contrary, with this title we
> want to highlight the necessity of approaching the
> transnational level as space of debate and action. In this
> sense, the Global Autonomous University project aims to
> connect, on a global scale, different forms of
> auto-education, struggles, and autonomous knowledge
> production situated in the university, or better along its
> borders. The project is not about proposing a unique model
> of alternative education. Rather, following a very important
> debate on the edu-factory list, it aims to construct a
> common translation tool to move between singularities. This
> tool would allow the empowerment of intellectual, political,
> and union activities in different sites and situations.
> The Global Autonomous University list will be devoted to
> practical planning and organization for the invention of new
> institutional forms. The participants in this list comprise
> members of the edu-factory collective, protagonists from the
> previous two rounds of discussion as well as strategic
> contacts who can assist with issues of design, networking,
> infrastructure, translation, etc. The purpose here is not
> further theorization, although we recognise the inherent
> value of this as well as its necessary connection to
> practice: in fact, the participants share a common
> perspective and interest in the ambitious project of
> building up an autonomous institution. The objective of the
> list is the planning and making of concrete moves toward the
> establishment of cooperative networked activities between
> autonomous university initiatives.
> To start the discussion, we have identified some central
> points in the attempt to realize the project:
> •	The questions of curriculum of the new institutional
> form, of academic labor, and their conflictual collocation
> within intellectual property system;
> •	The legal question about the possibility of obtaining
> accreditation as official university (we do not think that
> the recognition is the aim of an autonomous institution, but
> it does provide the possibility to open a conflict around
> the accreditation system, the measurement of quality, and
> the award of degrees);
> •	The obtainment of the funds in order to support the
> project;
> •	The role of socio-technical networks such as the
> Internet, as well as open access and open source
> technologies (we know that e-learning and distance learning
> are part of the corporate lexicon, often used to precarize
> labor power and to dematerialize the relations between
> teachers and students; our problem is to use the
> technological tools in order to experiment with
> transnational autonomous connections, to build up
> ‘organized networks’);
> •	The proposal of a free newspaper (which would be made
> available in pdf format on the Internet so that edu-factory
> participants around the world can print it up and distribute
> within their various political contexts) and
> video-interviews as research materials
> We propose to focus and organize the list discussion on
> these points. We propose also to imagine collectively the
> time and calendar of our debate, in order to trace out the
> steps to realize the strategic project of the Global
> Autonomous University.
> Best,
> edu-factory collective
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