ISIS and the Spectacle of Terrorism
Henry Giroux on Disposable Life
By Henry A. Giroux, Public Intellectuals Project Director
Across the globe, a new historical conjuncture is emerging in which the attacks on higher education as a democratic institution and on dissident public voices in general – whether journalists, whistleblowers or academics – are intensifying with sobering consequences. The attempts to punish prominent academics such as Ward Churchill, Steven Salaita and others are matched by an equally vicious assault on whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden, and journalists such as James Risen. (1) Under the aegis of the national surveillance-security-secrecy state, it becomes difficult to separate the war on whistleblowers and journalists from the war on higher education – the institutions responsible for safeguarding and sustaining critical theory and engaged citizenship. (1a)
Marina Warner has rightly called these assaults on higher education, “the new brutalism in academia.” (2) It may be worse than she suggests. In fact, the right-wing defense of the neoliberal dismantling of the university as a site of critical inquiry in many countries is more brazen and arrogant than anything we have seen in the past and its presence is now felt in a diverse number of repressive regimes. For instance, the authoritarian nature of neoliberalism and its threat to higher education as a democratic public sphere was on full display recently when the multi-millionaire and Beijing-appointed leader of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, told pro-democracy protesters that “allowing his successors to be chosen in open elections based on who won the greatest number of votes was unacceptable in part because it risked giving poorer residents a dominant voice in politics.” (3)
Be sure to take a moment to listen to the important words of Dr. Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor at Rutgers University and Dr. Arun Kundnani, Adjunct Professor at NYU, two speakers on a panel titled “Race, Surveillance, and Empire: A … Continue reading
By Yana Kunichoff In the fall of 2012, the fear of school closings was one of the main catalysts for the historic Chicago Teachers Union strike, which saw tens of thousands of teachers walk off the job. The Chicago Public Schools district … Continue reading
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