Reading the sexual economy of academic freedom: Kant and the concept of the university

Join us for this talk by alumna Dr Lenka Vráblíková, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of South Africa.

How does phallogocentrism operate within Kant’s conceptualisation of the university?

Can an insight into the intricacies of its operation help us further unravel the paradoxes defining the concept of academic freedom under the so called ‘neoliberalisation of higher education’?

And could an understanding of sexual forces, which operate in Kant’s discourse on the university, help us theorize the raison d’être of the institutional spaces of feminist scholarship?

In order to examine these questions, this talk will deploy the postcolonial feminist strategy of (ab)-using the Enlightenment proposed by Gaiatry Spivak.

Drawing from the work of Sarah Kofman and Jacques Derrida, Dr Lenka Vráblíková will revisit the foundational discourse on the modern university as it is articulated by Immanuel Kant. She will show that the contract between the nation state and the scholars upon which the concept of the university and academic freedom respectively are founded is not only political but also sexual.

More specifically, Vráblíková will argue that the way in which phallogocentric logic operates in Kant’s discourse on the university is through excluding the feminine by utilizing ‘sexual forces’ which are, in this economy, associated with both the masculine and the feminine.

This talk is free to attend and all are welcome.