Technology and Culture Reading Group

TCRG – School of Culture and Communication – University of Melbourne

Month: March, 2014

April 1: The Botnet (Eve)

by lukevanryn

Photo Credit: Gwendal_ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Gwendal_ via Compfight cc

In this chapter from Zombies in the Academy (eds. Whelan, Walker, Moore, 2013), Martin Paul Eve interrogates the relationships in academic between authors, libraries and publishers, and their similarities to an undead zombie network, akin to a botnet: “a being not only dead and colonizing, but also exhibiting superficial autonomy while covertly acting under foreign influence against its own living purpose” (p.107). Eve’s essay offers a provocation to consider one’s own role in this network and some steps towards dismantling it.

We meet as usual in the Pierre Gorman Room, 1888 Building, at 5pm.

[PDF] Eve, Martin Paul. 2013, “The botnet: webs of hegemony/zombies who publish” in Whelan, A., Walker, R. & Moore, C., Zombies in the Academy Intellect: Bristol, UK.

March 25: Academic life in the fast lane (Vostal)

by lukevanryn

Photo Credit: chuckp via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: chuckp via Compfight cc

As we continue our exploration of the conditions of contemporary academic work, speed remains a pressing issue. The acceleration of academic labour – through devices such as meetings, audits, grant applications and engagement activities – is consistent thread in both everyday discussions and literature in the field. In this article, Filip Vostal highlights the ambivalence of contemporary ‘academic time’.  He draws on interviews with British academics from a number of fields to support his argument for “unhasty time”:

a theoretical and politico-normative model that would be both an antipode to oppressive acceleration and yet attendant to acceleration’s energizing properties too (3).

We meet in the Pierre Gorman Room, 1888 Building, at 5pm this Tuesday.

[PDF] Vostal, F. (2014). Academic life in the fast lane: The experience of time and speed in British academia. Time and Society. doi: 10.1177/0961463X13517537

March 18: “The conditions of interdisciplinarity” (Martin)

by robbiefordyce


Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc


This week’s reading for the TCRG comes from the Edufactory collective. Following certain trends in scholarly writing, we might call the Edufactory collactive an “alter-academic” system, which has been informed at least in part by Paolo Freire and certain strands of the autonomists.

This week’s article, by Randy Martin, engages with interdisciplinarity as an element of the structure of the University. No longer simply a tacked-on characteristic of some academics, Martin argues, it has become a core determinant for the university model.

“[I]t is hard to sustain the claim that the humanities as an institutional formation are somehow less caught up in university-business models. Humanities core curriculum requirements have themselves provided templates for casualization, outsourcing, contingent graduate student labor and a variety of other schemes by which norms of accumulation have been installed in the university irrespective of the putative content of the field.”

Martin’s text clearly contains some content that is prime for discussion, and I welcome all to attend the reading group tomorrow.

[PDF] Martin, R. (2009) “The Conditions of Interdisciplinarity” Towards the Global Autonomous University, Edu-Factory Collective, Autonomedia: New York.

Interested parties may wish to peruse the short introduction to the first and last Edu-factory journal issue, available here.


March 11: “Making Sense of MOOCs” (Daniel)

by lukevanryn


A recurring theme in our discussion last week was MOOCs, which we admitted to not knowing a great deal about. In a bid to fill in that blind spot, this week we read a recent discussion by Sir John Daniel, which details the histories, ideologies and trajectories of MOOCS.

While the hype about MOOCs presaging a revolution in higher education has focussed on their scale, the real revolution is that universities with scarcity at the heart of their business models are embracing openness

We meet as usual at 5pm in the Pierre Gorman Room, 1888 Building, University of Melbourne. All are welcome.

[PDF]/[HTML] Daniel, John. “Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education (2012).