Contemporary Campus Life

Transformation, manic managerialism and academentia
Availability:in stock 1000 item(s)
Width: 210CM
Height: 148CM

About the book

Contemporary Campus Life presents an argument that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an ecological correction that affects all of humanity, one that management theory can learn from. Tomaselli presents a cogent critique of managerialism with an incisive satirical humour that delves into the quirks of university academia. This analysis shows how these quirks affect lived relations in the academy’s practice of science, teaching and reasoning. The academy is not a safe space, but given the truth that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, Tomaselli shows how it could become so.

About the author

Keyan G Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor, University of Johannesburg and Professor Emeritus and Fellow, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is a member of the SA Academy of Science and recipient of the Legends and Heroes award, The Simon Mabhunu Sabela Film Awards. He is also a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, editor of Critical Arts and co-editor of Journal of African Cinemas.


Arguably South Africa’s most perceptive cultural studies scholar, Keyan Tomaselli takes the academic reader on a decidedly uncomfortable, insightful, and entertaining ride through the managerial university to show us, barefaced, what we have become. You laugh and you cry. You squirm with discomfort and you nod in agreement. In the mindless pursuit of efficiency, productivity, and measurement, we have lost sight of the broader purposes of education and the intrinsic value of academic work. In this unusual book, the dour account of the social theorist is replaced with the cutting analysis of the satirist. In the process, Tomaselli has produced one of the best available satires of academic life- Jonathan Jansen, President of the Academy of Science of South Africa

Universities need to change their approach to teaching, learning and research to come to terms with our changed circumstances today, but it is not always clear how we should change and what we need to change to. Keyan Tomaselli looks critically, and at times humorously, at the many forces that come to bear on our higher education system today, not just in South Africa but also the world over, and reminds us that there are many academic principles that are still important that we need to give even more attention to as we contemplate change, or else a university ceases to be a university -Nithaya Chetty, Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Witwatersrand


Contents: Acknowledgements

Preface – Michael Chapman

  1. Hacking through Academentia
    • The critical cut
    • The mega university
    • Griots and the public sphere
    • My mad method
    • Autoethnography and blunderland
  2. Cash Cows, e-Cow-nomics and Branding
    • Cows, universities and branding
    • The new math and transformation
    • The new entitlement: blundering along
    • Transformation in education: from what to what?
  3. The Backlog Syndrome
    • Paper, uncompletion quotients and workloads
    • Educators, Fordism and exhaustion
    • Passing and failing
    • Death by forms
    • Ubuntu and humanism
  4. Of Science and Souls
    • Humanities to the rescue
    • A new imaginary
    • The nation, transformation and imaginaries
    • Of nuts and semiotics
  5. Of Bulls and Bears
    • Managers and forms
    • Theses, supervisors and public investment
    • Schuksing the debt, Schustering the finances
    • Post-docs, performance units and allergies
    • Education and commodification
    • An ode to deans of old
    • Beyond path dependencies
    • External examining and surviving
    • Hazard and safety
    • Territoriality, disciplinary boundaries and tearooms
  6. Publication, Rankings and Abacus Management
    • Rankings and linearity
    • Purveyors and permissions
    • Publishing, predators and perishing
    • Selfies and publishing metrics
    • The publishing factory
    • Publics and populism
    • Ethics and document trashing
  7. Writing Africa and Identity – shifting (our)selves
    • Zululand Battlefields – rethinking identity
    • Cultural policy
    • Writing the write
    • Presence/absence
    • The contradictions of history
    • Making sense of the field experience
  8. Of Colonialism and Capture
    • The Twittersphere
    • Of democracy and losing
    • Posties and toasties, celebrity and grumpy studies
    • Doing and grooming
  9. Cartoons, Blackface and Social Critique
    • Storm in a t-shirt
    • Visas and travels
    • Blackface, whiteface, arse-about-face
    • Idiots and robotisation
    • Beyond the absurd
  10. Culture can Kill
    • Culture and initiation
    • Quackery and pseudoscience
    • Students and Safe spaces
    • Stress, illness and early retirement
  11. The Academentia Sunrise
    • Retirement and gotchacology
    • Covid 19 and Gotcha, a new beginning