What is this ‘idea’ of the university? Why does it need to be defended?

Does the work of defense preclude the task of rearranging the idea itself?

Drawing on these essential questions, this volume traces the historical transformations of the university in medieval Europe and explores current debates on its existence and sustenance in a neoliberal India. It challenges the liberal-humanist ‘ideal’ of academic exchange to inquire into long befuddled debates on the true nature of the modern university.

Along with its companion The University Unthought: Notes for a Future, this brave new intervention makes a compelling foray into the political future(s) of the university. It will be of interest to academics, educators and students of the social sciences and humanities, especially education. It will also be of use to policy-makers and education analysts, and central to the concerns of any citizen.

chapter |39 pages


The university in history: from ‘idea’ to impossibility
ByDebaditya Bhattacharya

part I|76 pages

Historicizing the contemporary

chapter 1|20 pages

The vocation of the public university *

ByWendy Brown

chapter 2|29 pages

The surplus university

ByNandini Chandra

chapter 3|25 pages

Perils and prospects of the modern university

African and Asian contexts in a world-historical perspective
ByMushahid Hussain

part II|62 pages

Understanding contexts

chapter 4|11 pages

Divide and educate *

BySukanta Chaudhuri

chapter 5|13 pages

Of utopias and universities

ByAnia Loomba

chapter 6|12 pages

Audit cultures and the Indian university as credit-capital

ByRina Ramdev

chapter 7|24 pages

Of feudal intellectual capital

The history of the new provincial universities
ByDebaditya Bhattacharya

part III|51 pages

(A)politics in/ of the university?

chapter 8|18 pages

Is there a calling on the left?

ByPrasanta Chakravarty

chapter 9|18 pages

The university as passivity?

The role of students’ political activism
ByAnand Teltumbde

chapter 10|13 pages

The convergence of unequals

Struggle for rights in the university space
ByHany Babu

part IV|48 pages

Reflections and memoirs

chapter 11|9 pages

Bearing witness to the university-‘idea’

Some personal reflections
ByLakshmi Subramanian

chapter 12|5 pages

Don’t study, be happy

ByVijay Prashad

chapter 13|17 pages

The Presidential transition

ByParamita Banerjee

chapter 14|15 pages


The state’s kitchen?
ByAkanksha Ahluwalia, Ishan Mohan, Sagar Sachdeva