The Global Labour Research Centre at York University will host the inaugural John Eleen Annual Lecture in Global Labour on Oct. 26 with the updated theme “Higher Education and the Plague of Authoritarianism,” presented by Henry A. Giroux.
Giroux is a professor at McMaster University. He holds the Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the Department of English and Cultural Studies.
The event takes place from 6:30 to 8:30pm in N940 Ross Building on York University’s Keele campus.
Giroux will discuss how higher education in our politically desperate age is threatened by a legacy that it does not dare to name, and that legacy with its eerie resonance with an authoritarian past asserts itself, in part, with the claim that education is failing.
Giroux asserts that the Trump administration needs education to fail in a very particular way. Hostile to its role as a public good and democratic sphere, it is attempting to reshape education according to the market-driven logic of neoliberalism with its emphasis on privatization, commodification, deregulation, fear and managerialism.
Under such circumstances, higher education is threatened for its potential role as a public sphere capable of educating students as informed, critical thinkers capable of not only holding power accountable but also fulfilling the role of critical agents who can act against injustice and resist diverse forms of oppression. In this lecture, Giroux posits that the modern loss of faith in the marriage of education and democracy needs to be reclaimed, but that will only happen if the long legacy of struggle over education is once again brought to life as part of a more comprehensive understanding as education being central to politics itself.
Giroux is on the editorial and advisory boards of numerous national and international scholarly journals, and has served as the editor or co-editor of four scholarly book series. He is a regular contributor to a number of online journals, including Truthout, Eurozine, and CounterPunch. He has published in many journals, including Social Text, Third Text, Cultural Studies, Harvard Educational Review, Theory, Culture, & Society, and Monthly Review. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (2014); Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism (Peter Lang 2014, 2nd edition); The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights, 2014); Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of the Spectacle (co-authored with Brad Evans, City Lights, 2015); Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2016); America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017); and The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of Authoritarianism (Routledge 2018). His primary research areas are: cultural studies, youth studies, critical pedagogy, popular culture, media studies, social theory, and the politics of higher and public education.
The John Eleen Annual Lecture in Global Labour is an initiative of the Global Labour Research Centre and is co-sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour and Unifor.
Eleen (1922-2015) had a varied career, including union organizer for the UE and senior research assistant in cancer research. He was later recruited as research director for the Ontario Federation of Labour, a position he held for 23 years until retirement. He was committed to labour activism, and was an advocate for, and defender of, workers’ rights.