Edited by Nikita Basov, Georg F. Simet, Jeroen van Andel, Sechaba Mahlomaholo & Vhonani Netshandama The Intellectual Critical Issues Series Editors Dr Robert Fisher Dr Daniel Riha Advisory Board Dr Alejandro Cervantes-Carson Dr Peter Mario Kreuter Professor Margaret Chatterjee Martin McGoldrick Dr Wayne Cristaudo Revd Stephen Morris Mira Crouch Professor John Parry Dr Phil Fitzsimmons Paul Reynolds Professor Asa Kasher Professor Peter Twohig Owen Kelly Professor S Ram Vemuri Revd Dr Kenneth Wilson, O.B.E A Critical Issues research and publications project.
http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/ The Transformations Hub ‘Intellectuals, Knowledge, Power’ The Intellectual:
+44 (0)1993 882087 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-1-84888-027-6 First published in the United Kingdom in eBook format in 2010. First Edition.
Table of Contents Introduction vii Georg F. Simet and Nikita Basov PART I Intellectuals and Ideas Trashing Truth in Eight Easy Steps: The Decline of Intellectual Commitment and the Importance of Militant Atheism Jerrold L. Kachur A Defence of Philosophy Carlos David Garca Mancilla Theoretical Discourse on the Challenges of Black Intellectuals in Post-Modern America Tunde Adeleke Power and Powerlessness of Intellectuals in Turkey: The Debate on ‘Turkishness’ and the Murder of Hrant Dink Georg F. Simet Powerlessness, Lamentation and Nostalgia: Discourses of the Post-Soviet Intelligentsia in Modern Latvia Olga Procevska PART II The University, Knowledge and the Intellectual From Distributed Knowledge Creation to Intelligent Knowledge-Creating Systems Nikita Basov & Anna Shirokanova Sustainable Empowering Learning Environments: Conversations with Gramsci’s Organic Intellectual Sechaba Mahlomaholo & Vhonani Netshandama The Return of the Democratic Intellect Jim Moir From Academic to Customer: The Paradox of Post-Modern Higher Education Jeroen van Andel The Role of Community Engagement in Higher Education: Focus On the Discourse Relating to Knowledge Development Vhonani Netshandama & Sechaba Mahlomaholo PART III The Intellectual and the Cultural Turn The Role of the Intellectual: Shakespeare’s Exploration of Contemplative Life vs. Active Life in ‘The Tempest’ Unhae Langis Three Centuries before the Cultural Turn; or, the Critic on the Print Market in Early EighteenthCentury England Michelle Syba The Last Epic Storyteller and his Fictional Rewriting in People’s Republic of China Kenny K. K. NG ‘Imagining the Unimaginable’: The Importance of Storytelling for J.M. Coetzee’s Intellectual Practice Claire Heaney Intellectual in the Field of Contemporary Art Oleksandra Nenko Notes on Contributors Introduction to Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, Ideas George F. Simet and Nikita Basov 1. Inter-Disciplinary.Net and its Intellectuals Project The book we are happy to introduce here is a product of the 3rd Global Conference Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, Ideas held in Prague, Czech Republic, May 6-8, 2010. This conference is part of the Intellectuals project run by the Inter-Disciplinary.Net, which is a forum for the exchange and interaction of ideas on a wide range of issues of concern and interest in the contemporary world. Founded in 1999, these days Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a global network that aims to promote and sponsor inter- and multidisciplinary encounters by bringing together people from diverse contexts, disciplines, professions, and vocations, with the aim to engender and nurture engagements that cross the boundaries of intellectual work.
Dialogue facilitated by Inter-Disciplinary.Net is to enable people to go beyond the boundaries of what they usually encounter and share in perspectives that are new, challenging, and richly rewarding. This kind of dialogue often illuminates one’s own area of work, is suggestive of new possibilities for development, and is to create exciting horizons for future conversations with persons from a wide variety of national and international settings.
The ‘Intellectuals’ project is one of the central projects for the InterDisciplinary.Net. It seeks to explore the role, character, nature and place of intellectuals and intellectual work in contemporary society. Its purpose is to build, by annual conferences and network interactions between the participants, both an evidenced and critical understanding of the intellectual and intellectual work in the past and present. It also attempts to understand the prospects for the future and to find optimal ways of knowledge creation.
2. Major Thematic Areas The call for papers for the 3rd Global Conference of the ‘Intellectuals’ project encouraged papers of two main thematic areas:
Intellectuals and the End of the Academy; and Intellectuals after the Cultural Turn.
Papers dealing with the first thematic area were focused on the transformation of universities as ‘academies’ into knowledge-producing organizations that takes place in the process of knowledge society emergence. Related questions are: How should we understand the role of intellectuals in this transformation Are academic values and freedoms dying Is this a new crisis or symptomatic of past crises or the real face of the academy beneath lofty rhetoric How will this change knowledge production, intellectual work and the intellectual as a subject How should intellectuals viii Introduction:
respond and what alternatives are there Which are the most effective ways of knowledge creation on individual and collective levels Papers dealing with the second thematic area focus on the ‘cultural turn’ from the thinking in disciplines to the promotion of inter-disciplinary practice for intellectuals across the arts and humanities as well as social sciences. Related questions are: How do we look back of the nature of the changes that it brought Has it encouraged a frivolous post-modern disregard for the intellectual rigour of disciplinary knowledge and particular theoretical approaches to study or has it been a surface layer of creativity atop deep and persistent and entrenched disciplinary bodies Has it stimulated a greater sense of deep engagement with the experiential in social life or has analysis become superficial and self-absorbed as intellectuals write for intellectuals How has the cultural turn related to the rise of a media and culturally saturated society and how has that impacted on the intellectual Has the cultural turn, however much it has transformed bodies of knowledge, been the means by which intellectuals’ structures; processes of engagement and practices have remained more continuous than changed 3. The Structure of the Book To go deeper into analysis of the two specific aspects outlined above, six themes indicating the types of issues that might be addressed were suggested. These themes were: History, the Intellectuals and Intellectual Work; Intellectuals and their Troubling Relationship to Knowledge;
Intellectuals and the Knowledge Society; Public Intellectuals and the Intellectual in Public and Political Life; Intellectuals and Cultural Life; and last but not least Intellectuals and the Development of Bodies of Knowledge.
The 15 papers chosen and presented both at the conference and in this book reflect these themes in detail.
Reflection on the themes produced a coherent structure, consisting of three interconnected problem fields, analyzing the intellectuals and the work of intellectuals: Personality of intellectuals in the contemporary cultural turn reflecting on the individual, mainly subjective component; the Post-’academism’ in higher education concentrating on the political, mainly objective component; and Intellectuals in previous cultural turns of specific contexts as arts, literature, etc., focusing on cultural turns in the past, usually from a hermeneutic point of view. According to the emerging problem fields, in this book the 15 papers were grouped to three packages of five papers each. In the following the papers of each part will be briefly introduced to describe the logic of the book.
Part I: Intellectuals and Ideas concentrates on the self-conceptions of intellectuals in diverse contemporary societies.
First of all, Jerrold L. Kachur reflects on the secularist malaise and the relativization of truth that are especially actual for the intellectuals in the Georg F. Simet and Nikita Basov ix post-modern Anglo-American societies of today. He suggests viewing truth, like Alain Badiou did, not as equated with knowledge, but as a ‘hole in knowledge.’ Following the explication of Badiou’s concept he analyses the possibility of verifying truth through fidelity. He suggests that Badiou might help to restore a sense of commitment for secular intellectuals who seem to have lost their way in these turbulent postmodern times.
Secondly, Carlos David Garcia Mancilla fathoms the role, place and possibilities of philosophy in the life of intellectuals and academies of today. In his eyes, the increasing specification leads to academies full with specialists whose discourses mean nothing to the rest of the non-specialists.
In this regard, philosophy is seen as exiled from practical life and its problems almost doomed to die from thirst in the middle of a river.
Tunde Adeleke contributes the third paper to this part. He analyses the role and responsibility of black intellectuals in today’s America. The author sees a dual positionality of black intellectuals in the academic world, as he defines its demand as twofold. On the one hand, black intellectuals qua intellectuals have to deal with intellectual rigor and production. On the other hand, they have as black intellectuals the task to take their part in the black struggle for ideological leadership.
The forth article focuses on a single intellectual, Hrant Dink, an Armenian journalist in Turkey. Georg F. Simet reflects on his professional attitudes and beliefs, the intellectual community and the murder as one exemplary case to illustrate power and powerlessness of intellectuals of disadvantaged minorities in Turkey today.
Last but not least, Olga Procevska offers an in-depth insight in the self-image of the Post-Soviet Intelligentsia in Modern Latvia. Due to her findings, the common lamentations about their powerlessness hinder them to form a new, western style intellectual. In this regard, Latvia’s intellectuals seem to miss out entirely on the challenges of the future by reflecting nearly exclusively on the accomplishments of the past perestroika period.
Part II: University, Knowledge, and the Intellectual reflects on the changes in learning and knowledge creation that characterize the emerging knowledge society and interpret the contemporary challenges of ‘academia’ from five different perspectives.
The part is opened by a paper by Nikita Basov and Anna Shirokanova who report some of the results of their international research project on knowledge-creating systems and collective mechanisms of knowledge creation. The authors see intellectuals as the primary knowledge creators. Their purpose is to find the most effective ways to create knowledge in knowledge societies through combining the new ICT opportunities and the potential of widespread social network structures of intellectual communication. The paper outlines in short the theoretical framework, as developed so far, in order to discuss possibilities for further improvement.
Secondly, Sechaba Mahlomaholo and Vhonani Netshandama provide an insight on how to empower learning environments, taking the example of South Africa and concentrating on the problem of overcoming its apartheid history. Following Antonio Gramsci’s concept of ‘organic intellectual,’ the authors analyze both the school and the higher education areas of South Africa in order to seek ways for public intellectuals to emancipate from the legacy of capitalist apartheid’s social arrangement by empowering learning environments.
The third paper of this part is a good example of reflection on the problems of democratization of learning and knowledge creation. Based on his own professional backgrounds and interests in personal and higher education development, sociological research, quality assurance, etc., Jim Moir offers a view on the traditional breadth of curriculum in Scottish higher education as a means a retaining the notion of the democratic intellectual tradition. In effect, his paper provides a sympathetic yet critical evaluation.
At fourth, Jeroen van Andel looks at the on-going paradigm change in higher education, namely the shift from academic to ‘customer culture.’ This leads to the paradox of post-modern higher education: although the society has become more fragmented and complex, students are less guided by higher education institutes on how they can best achieve their Bildung.
Instead, they are more and more regarded as customers who have to decide for themselves what Bildung they need.
The last paper of this part focuses on the role of community engagement in South Africa’s higher education system. Vhonani Netshandama and Sechaba Mahlomaholo commonly believe that universities will only come to their ‘fullness,’ when they are integrated within the communities that surround them and are involved in the major social processes taking place. In this respect, the paper shows ways for the commitment of the particular and the local interest groups under the leadership of academic intellectual ‘workers.’ Part III: The Intellectual and the Cultural Turn deals with the roles of intellectuals in times of cultural change and their possibilities to influence the transition process.