Re-imagining University


Kassel University
15:00 – 17:00 (CEST) / 16:00 - 18:00 (UTC+3)
14 Weeks (22 October 2021 - 18 February 2022)


The main purpose in this course is to elaborate the connections between the contemporary devaluation of ‘Truth’, and the devaluation/disintegration of University Discourse. One of the chief indicators of this decline is the neoliberalisation of Universities, i.e., the degradation of social sciences and humanities as ‘useless knowledge’, useless to the capitalist establishment, and the servitude of scholars to the for-profit structure of the universities, to ‘academic publishing’, and to big industry for grants. Another indicator is the meteoric rise of right-wing populism, whose main discursive strategy is anti-intellectualism, the unequivocal effects of which can be seen in the rising wave of scholars in exile mostly from the ‘Rest of the World’; of which Turkey is one of the most prominent cases. The course will rest primarily on the resistance in Turkey against the populist onslaught on the university discourse and structure, as well as the knowledge to be gained from the extra-academic endeavours of scholars forced out of the academia in the last 30 years.

The same (or similar) authoritarian interferences to research and teaching-learning are on the rise in the ‘West’ itself. The course will also aim to comment on a rudimentary but insistent wave of scholarly pursuit(s) for a ‘new’ university, not only as the re-establishment of the previous structure of universities, but for something novel, trying to merge new technologies of knowledge production and a different concept of the university without the underlying hierarchic, colonialist, sexist and authoritarian construction of the previous one.


A full outline of the course syllabus can be found here.

Please note that there will be a preparatory meeting that will take place during the usual class hours one week before the class starts. In this meeting, we will introduce you how the platform works and we will offer technical support so that everybody is technically ready for the first session.



Born in Istanbul and had his BA and MA degrees in English Language and Literature in Boğaziçi University, and his PhD degree in Psychosocial Studies in Birkbeck College. Bülent Somay was a Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies in Istanbul Bilgi University between 2000 and 2017, and the director of the Cultural Studies Graduate Program between 2008 and 2017. Since 2017, he is living in Brussels (Researcher in the ULB), Oslo (Researcher in the UiO) and most recently as an Academy in Exile fellow in Freie Universität, Berlin.

The course is hosted by Kassel University Institute ICDD and funded by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.