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Tag Archives: MERD Seminars

The Falling Rate of Learning

The Falling Rate of Learning



David J. Blacker, Professor of Philosophy, University of Delaware

The Race to Nowhere: Abandoning the Promise of Universal Education

Universal education is beloved as an ideal while its reality is being extinguished. Heralded as expansions of access where we “race to the top” and “leave no child behind,” initiatives involving marketization, austerity, privatization and student debt combine to eliminate and expel growing segments of the rising generation.

Why is this happening?  And why now?  David J. Blacker outlines a coherent framework for understanding the current onslaught against all levels of public education. It all comes down to deep and troubling changes in the economy that “education reform” cannot touch and that nobody wants to talk about.

Wednesday November 12th 2014, 5–6pm

University of East London, Stratford Campus, CASS School of Education, Room: ED2.04

Convener: Alpesh Maisuria (University of East London)


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CASS School of Education, University in East London.

Details on the UEL website:

Closing date 5th October 2014.

If anybody would like an informal conversation about the post, please contact Alpesh Maisuria: or



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Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory



Neoliberalism in Crisis? Current Educational Issues and Responses

Wednesday January 22nd 2014, 10–4pm

University of East London, Stratford Campus

CASS School of Education, ED2.04

Convenors: Tony Green and Alpesh Maisuria

10.00-10.15: Registration and Introduction


Nick GrantMichael Gove: Doing The Right Thing: Is Michael Gove mad or bad?

He is certainly despised as Secretary of State by most of those public servants delivering state education. But is this simply because his policies do not fit empirically with what professionals know works in practice? Is Gove simply mad, blind to what he is doing to children and adults in schools, colleges and universities? If so does he simply need a reality check classroom job-swap for a period?

Alternatively, is Gove forcing through a wholesale attack on education for reasons which are consistent with a hostile free-market politics, and which are deliberately painful for professionals. Is Gove doing the right thing for his class interests?

This presentation will elaborate on why and how Gove represents an unavoidable systemic challenge, and some thoughts on how best to respond.


Stephen BallPhilanthropy, Education Policy and Democratic Deficit

The paper will draw on research which focuses on the participation of philanthropic and business organisations in new arenas of education policy. It will argue that policy is increasing opaque, unaccountable and elusive new actors use there financial and moral resources to ‘make’ policy in new ‘globalising microspaces’. This involves shifts in the methods of policy – what Bill Gates calls ‘social capitalism’ – and changes in the form and modalities of the State.

12.25-1.30: Lunch Break


Tristan McCowanAlternative universities in Latin America: is radical higher education possible within the mainstream system?

In recent years a number of experimental university courses and institutions have been established in Latin America. These experiences have aimed to address the injustices of access to higher education, but also to transform conceptions of knowledge and engage more strongly with local communities and social movements. The Landless Movement in Brazil, for example, has established its own teacher education programmes and a variety of other HE courses in partnership with public universities, and since 2008 the Brazilian Federal Government itself has established four alternative universities. These institutions, however, operate within the mainstream system and are thereby constrained by dominant forms of institutional structure and accreditation. On the other hand, other initiatives – such as Unitierra in Mexico – are unconstrained by conventional institutional forms but face other challenges of funding and recognition. This paper reflects on the dilemmas faced by radical educators around the world of whether to act within or outside the mainstream.


Spyros ThemelisBetween neo-fascism and poverty: education and hope in Greece in times of debtocracy

This paper examines the social, political and economic situation of Greece after the first bailout package it received in May 2010. It links the rise of neo-fascist politics with the deterioration in socio-economic conditions for the majority of the Greek people and suggests that both these processes are approached as aspects of the attendant restructuring of class relations. Contrary to the organised politics of fear and the pathologisation of the Greek situation attempted by dominant political agents, the paper identifies some elements of hope. Specifically, it focuses on the role of education in resisting the hegemonic transformations imposed onto Greece and discusses the possibilities for the creation of an alternative future based on prefigurative politics of emancipation and liberation from the current impasse of neoliberal capitalism.

3.40-4.00: Plenary, Review and Closure.

The seminar is free and open to all but places are limited.

RSVP Veronica Burton:

The UEL is a 15minute stroll from Stratford Station. Here is a map and transport details:


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Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory


Education, Crisis and Society

Speakers to include: Alex Callinicos and Dave Hill
A Day Seminar 10.30 – 4.30, Saturday November 26th  2011
Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, WC1, 
Committee Room 1

The seminar is free but places are limited.

To reserve a place contact Alpesh Maisuria at:
Please forward this invite to those who may be interested

Convenors: Tony Green, Alpesh Maisuria


Alpesh Maisuria
Senior Lecturer (Anglia Ruskin University)
PhD Candidate (University of London Institute of Education)
Visiting Scholar (University of Uppsala and Gothenburg University, Sweden; University of South Australia)


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Sara Motta

Mike Cole


A two day workshop organised in collaboration between:

MERD (Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues)
CSSGJ (Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham)
CESJ (Centre for Education for Social Justice, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln)

To be held at the
University of Nottingham
1st – 2nd July 2011

The role of education is increasingly important in the construction of new forms of anti-capitalist politics in Latin America. This is evidenced by the centrality of popular education and other forms of struggle influenced by radical education philosophy and pedagogy, and by social movements in their construction of new forms of participatory politics and mass intellectuality. It is also evidenced in the creation of formal and informal educational programmes, practices and projects that develop varieties of critical pedagogy and popular education with both organised and non-organised marginalised and excluded communities.

Particularly, noticeable in this regard is the centrality of education in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the move towards 21st Century socialism. At the heart of the politicisation of education are the questions of whose knowledge counts in the process of social transformation and political change and if the ways in which such transformative knowledge is created impact upon the struggle to develop worlds beyond capitalism in the 21st century.

This workshop invites papers which develop theoretically grounded empirical analysis about the politicisation of education in the continent.

Key questions to be addressed are:

How is education politicised in contemporary anti-capitalist struggles?

How has neoliberalism closed down as well as opened up terrains of educational struggle?

What differences are there between the role of education in 20th century socialism and 21st century socialism?

How does Marxism shape such practices of radical pedagogy and how do such practices transform Marxism?

How does the focus on popular education in new forms of popular politics influence and reflect the type of politics developed?

What is the role of autonomous education in social movements in the construction of anti-capitalism?

What is the relationship between formal ‘progressive’ educational programmes and the politics of knowledge and education in informal community/social movement settings?

What can we (outside of the region) learn from Chavez’s concept of Venezuela as a ‘giant school’ and other radical pedagogies and educational practices in Latin America?

What is the role of popular educators within formal schooling in these processes?

Selected papers will be published in an edited collection with Palgrave Macmillan in their Marxism and Education Series.

Contact Sara Motta at and Mike Cole at  if you are interested in helping organise the workshop or would like any further information.

Please submit your paper proposal by March 1st 2011

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