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NEWS: New book, USAf Conference, Calls for Contributions, ACUSAfrica Colloquium Report


Published recently by network members

The Responsive University and the Crisis in South Africa

Edited by Chris Brink

Around the world, higher education is faced with a fundamental question: what is the basis for our claim of societal legitimacy? In this book, the authors go beyond the classical response regarding teaching, research and community engagement.

Instead, the editor puts forward the proposition that the answer lies in responsiveness, the extent to which universities respond, or fail to respond, to societal challenges. Moreover, because of its intractable legacy issues and crisis of inequality, the question regarding the societal legitimacy of universities is particularly clearly manifested in South Africa, one of the most unequal countries in the world.

The Responsive University brings together contributions on the issue of responsiveness from a number of international university leaders, half of them specifically addressing the South African situation within the context of the international situation as presented by the other authors. In the global discussion about the role of universities in society, this book provides a conceptual framework for a way forward.

All interested in the global identity crisis of higher education, the societal role of universities, and the manifestation of these issues in South Africa would do well to pick up a copy.

For more information see

The Responsive University flyer 60379
Download PDF • 257KB


Universities South Africa Second Higher Education Conference

Registration is now open for virtual delegates to attend the USAf 2nd National Higher Education Conference.

The 2nd Universities South Africa (USAf) Higher Education Conference, conducted in collaboration with the Council on Higher Education (CHE), will take place from 6 - 8 October 2021. This conference will provide a platform for thought leadership, debates, deliberation and shared understanding among senior academics, researchers, the executive leadership of public universities, government, business and civil society. The conference is a no-cost event, open for online attendance by university staff, students and stakeholders. Early registration is advised.

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has endorsed the conference as a key national event for the sector.

Please see programme below. If you are interested in attending the book launch for The Responsive University and the Crisis in South Africa (see above), please see Session 10B on page 9.

Download PDF • 746KB


ACUSAfrica Call for Contributions

As part of expanding critical conversations on The University, contributions to this website are invited from scholars in all fields and disciplines who would like to share their scholarship, research, praxis, responses or reflections in a manner that is both academically rigorous and broadly accessible. The website allows for contributions to be categorised under the following (not mutually exclusive) categories: African CUS, CUS Around the World, Impact in CUS, and Reflexivity & CUS.

Anyone interested in submitting a contribution can email Dina Belluigi at, Sharon Stein at, or Jenny du Preez at to post it on the website. Anyone interested in becoming a curator of contributions can also make contact, and will be provided with access and technical guidelines.

Below we highlight two ways in which the website enables the sharing of scholarship and praxis to advance CUS:

1. Blog Contributions

Varied themes and topics are welcome from researchers and practitioners, to widen access to contributions that resonate with critical ACUSAfrica scholarship.

A general guide is that the written component of the blog should have a word count of up to 1000 words, with hyperlinked references throughout the text, integrated with open access or embedded images, video or audio.

2. Podcast

The podcast format intends to provide a means of engaging intergenerational audiences in more conversational and dialogical ways around Critical University Studies. The audio format makes podcasts accessible to those in areas with limited internet infrastructure and thus offers the potential to further expand the reach of the network and the scholarship it aims to share.

Contribution Themes Open to a plurality of ideas, the themes for contributions are flexible, but some of interest are: Imagining Differently; University Futures; Mapping the Field(s); Alternative Methodologies; Temporalities; Critical Hope; Ethics; Academic Freedom; Discourses of Excellence; Social Justice; Sustainability; Indigenous Knowledge Systems; Decolonisation & Decoloniality; Africanisation; Critical University Studies; Abolitionist University Studies; Critical Higher Education Studies; Radical approaches to studying the university; Institutional Change; Impact of Scholarship.

Click here to see the full concept note.


ACUSAfrica Colloquium Report

ACUSAfrica hosted its first colloquium in February of 2021. Entitled "Critical University Studies and the Battle Against Global Racism", the aim of the colloquium was to build the ACUSAfrica network to advance critical and radical approaches to the study of higher education through a combination of practical and intellectual work.

As such, it was constituted of three sessions, which located the colloquium within the intentions to 1) build the network, especially in Africa; 2) grapple with questions of the study of the university within the African context; and 3) engage with the battle against global racism, especially as it plays out in higher education.

The colloquium featured provocations by Paul Zeleza and Shirley Anne Tate.

Click here to see the full report, with links to recordings of the sessions and summaries of the discussions that took place.


Call for Special Issue of the Journal of African Cultural Studies on Campus Forms

For this special issue, the editors seek research article-length contributions and

other academic pieces (including interviews or photo essays) that investigate contemporary African literary and cultural approaches to the university as an idea, an institution, and a physical space. They are looking for essays that focus on African institutions (not on Africans studying or working at European or American universities, a theme that has been explored many times already); that attend to mobility, broadly construed (across borders, across institutions, and/or between institutional/campus space and other spaces); and that approach African university narratives from a comparative and multilingual perspective.

They are particularly keen to receive submissions on intra-African travel for education, and what kinds of communities and conversations have resulted from such mobilities. What themes, movements, experiences, recur and connect in multiple sites of higher education across the continent, or have implications for how “the African university” takes on meaning today? Essays might also attend to phenomena that do not easily translate and trouble the notion of “the African university” as an object of analysis. Contributions that attend to lesser-known campuses, and to cultural texts created in languages other than English, are especially welcome.

Click here for more information.



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