We strive to make cutting-edge critical knowledge on academia available, accessible and relevant to the general public and to Israeli academic institutions. We hold public events, where critical knowledge on academia is shared and disseminated, and we connect with critical movements in the global academy such as rethink the university, the open-source movement, and the decolonizing the university movement.
In the past years, protests against the neoliberalization of academia became a global phenomenon. Our goal is to encourage this debate and critical thinking about how academia functions as a neoliberal institution in the Israeli context. The symptoms of neoliberal academia form the “glue” that connects many of us as activists, and connects many of our struggles, since we are all affected by such processes. These are, for instance, the precarization of academic staff and the exploitative conditions of employment of adjuncts that are euphemistically called in Israeli academia “teaching/research partners”; the harnessing of academic production and research for utilitarian, market-oriented goals; the devaluation of teaching, and of knowledge production in local languages; the pressure put on academics to yield more “output” - publish in quantities and compete for grants to support their research; the exploitative conditions of the support staff in academia, for instance cleaners, who are subcontracted to private companies and do not enjoy the benefits of being employed directly by our institutions. Our members are active in many struggles in academia that are a direct response to symptoms of neoliberalization.
In our analysis, such struggles tend to be decentralized, isolated and lack the powerful critical framework that the struggles in the global context have developed, where the overarching common denominator is the impact of market forces that continuously shape and create an academia that functions like a market and promotes the ethos of the market. We therefore strive in our work dedicated to the issue to raise awareness both to the analysis of conditions produced in neoliberal academia and to success in global struggles against them. We are aligned with the open-source movement, that won impressive achievements in challenging the academic publications industry, whose market logic and profit-driven matrixes severely impact our academic life. In 2015 we held an event under the title “To sell, to buy, to regulate: what is happening to the university in the neoliberal age?” which included speakers representing staff unions, the cleaner’s struggle for direct employment, and scholars critical of neoliberal academic practices. Our members advocate for recognizing publications in the Arabic and Hebrew language in the considerations of hiring processes and against the use of arbitrary quantitative matrices. In January 2018, for instance, we held an event titled “why I left academia.edu” and hosted Prof. Guy Geltner from Amsterdam University, who analyzed the impact on academia of the academic publications industry, controlled by large for-profit conglomerates, as well as that of dot.com companies, that gradually moved to reap profit from our practice of sharing and disseminating our publications on their platforms. Through these critical activities we strive to promote the values of education as a public good, defend higher education as a public institution, and ensure that academic policy will uphold the values of a democratic, equal and inclusive public institution, rather than market values.
Head team: Hilla Dayan, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org