In English

The independence of the professions

The student representatives call me “willful,” “arrogant” and “irresponsible.” They don’t want me to run my courses in my own fashion. They insist that I should be supervised by a university committee. “We need quality control. This is our right as students.” Some other students disagree. “We’ve taken courses with…

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The most salient cleavage

The Swedish government’s requirement that all courses at the university should have a “gender perspective” is yet another example of the parochialism of Swedish universities. It’s yet another expression of a very Swedish, and very limited, view of the world. By imposing this rule, the government assumes…

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The parochialism of Swedish universities

One of the things made painfully obvious by the Judith Butler Affair is the parochialism of Swedish universities. Parochialism –“characterized by an unsophisticated focus on local concerns to the exclusion of wider contexts; elementary in scope or outlook” — is a condition that happens to anyone who…

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So what did the students think of my course?

By now we know what they make of my course in Germany, in France, in Norway even, but what did the students who actually took the course think of it? Courses at Lund University are evaluated by students and so was…

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A question in the Swedish parliament

An MP for Moderaterna, Maria Abrahamsson, is talking about me in parliament. Well, not about me really, but about academic freedom at Swedish universities in general, and at Lund U in particular. She tells the story here. When confronted, the minister responsible said…

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Academic freedom in Sweden — a Palestinian perspective

Over the past weeks a discussion about academic freedom has been taking place on Academia.edu. Yesterday, Victoria posted this: I am currently active in campaigns for defending the right to academic freedom in Turkey and Palestine, thus, this article caught my eye. It…

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The Swedish government is a threat to academic freedom

  The Swedish government wants to make universities into gender neutral institutions. Employees and students should have the same rights and opportunities regardless of whether they are men or women. What could be more praiseworthy? Who could be against that? Yet the government policy is a threat to academic…

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Why I’m not applying for research funding

  In Sweden a successful academic career requires you to apply for research funding. If you don’t get funding, they say, it’s difficult to do research. You end up teaching too much and you have no money to buy books or to travel. The pecking order of prestige is…

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Making students feel uncomfortable

Today we spend much of our time on-line, and we largely do it together with people who share our interests, thoughts and convictions. This is a public sphere, to be sure, but it is almost entirely made up of like-minded people. It is the public sphere as echo-chamber. The…

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