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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Globalization of the US Public Research University

Catherine Chaput.

Most studies of higher education examine the university as either economically determined—relying on Louis Althusser’s notion of ideological state apparatuses—or culturally determined—embracing either traditional or multicultural approaches. Alternatively, this presentation blends postcolonial and Marxist theories to show that the U.S. public research university responds to the historical exigencies of a multivalent and dynamic political economy. I trace the evolution of this university system in conjunction with changes in the capitalist political economy and focus on the construction and reconstruction of the professional as the site of individual and collective agency.

Specifically, this presentation historicizes the United States public research university and analyzes its contemporary manifestation within the present stage of late capitalism. I interrogate the present stage of capitalism through the circulation of university rhetorics. I argue that the rhetoric and structure of mission statements move overseas through supranational organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and becomes implemented through policies attached to World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans. Using nine representative universities and tracing how statements of mission travel across national boundaries, I argue that the U.S. public research university model moves overseas as a means of securing the position of the United States within the global political economy.

To conclude, I offer strategies for academics who oppose the capitalist logic of this global university system. Informed by Marxists scholars, like Althusser and Antonio Gramsci, critical pedagogues such as Paulo Freire, Peter McLaren, and Paula Allman, as well as the U.S. Third World politics of Chela Sandoval, Gayatri Spivak, and Edward Said, this presentation proposes concrete options for engaging and redirecting globalization.


Catherine Chaput  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Writing and Linguistics
Georgia Southern University, USA

  • Globalization
  • University
  • Political economy

(Virtual Presentation, English)