The Critical University as Radical Project: Tanya Loughead’s Challenge to Regressive Changes in Contemporary Higher Education

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radical Philosophy Association,

University of Kentucky, Lexington

November, 2016

Critical university studies, as a field, has contributed much in recent years and over past decades through works by Martha Nussbaum, Henry Giroux, David N. Smith, Ellen Schrecker, etc., ― each of them challenging aspects of the corporatization and neoconservative politicization of higher education. Tanya Loughead’s new book, Critical University: Moving Higher Education Forward (CU), contributes to this counter-hegemonic pattern of critique by presenting an her own assessment built upon an array of radical philosophical and sociological perspectives that are absent from the generally prevailing, business-oriented views of U.S. higher education today. Extending the work of Herbert Marcuse ― on the emancipatory nature of the humanities, Henry Giroux ― on critical pedagogy as a project not simply a method, and Paulo Freire on the notion of cultural action for freedom, her book is a source of new critical theoretical and practical insight. It offers a timely assessment and a powerful, engaging, strategy for a change of direction moving to restore higher education’s classic purpose, which Marcuse propounds in the tradition of Kant, as an education, not for the present, but for the better future condition of the human race. Her book inspires the ingenuity and action required to advance materially, through struggle toward higher education’s now eclipsed goals, toward humanity’s birthright of a non-alienated conscience, character, and culture...


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