Writing this from the Boston Logan Airport, where I cleared security in less than 10 minutes (including queuing time). Two more hours to boarding time so plenty time to spare. Updating a quick post now – on my presentation at the AAG – and then followed by marking theses! Crazy deadlines in the next 2-3 weeks I really cannot see how I would manage… *sighs*
So AAG 2017 was a week of productive meet-ups (with twitter friends), learning, and exchange of ideas. I presented in my own session that I organized alongside Dr Mark Holton (Plymouth), on Theorizing Citizenship in Higher Education: Students as Agents of Change? My presentation drew on initial thinking about liberal arts experiments in Asia and the question of citizenship formation. Key to my presentation is the idea that liberal arts experiments are doing three things in East Asian countries and cities such as Singapore, China (Shanghai) and Hong Kong: 1. calibrating education systems to respond to economic shift in global demand for new skill sets and competences, while departing from traditional focus on technical know-how and rote-learning; 2. developing education and learning networks through internationalization and transnational collaborations in order to plug into global knowledge economy, at both institutional and state levels; and 3. cultivating new kinds of citizenship – especially among the young generation – for a new ethical milieu, whereby cosmopolitan openness and social responsibility are now cornerstone values for securing more hopeful futures.
I show specifically through the case of Singapore’s liberal arts initiative between NUS and Yale University some contradictory dynamics around citizenship production at the interstices of the state, educational institution, and young people themselves, transpiring within the space of the campus. I ended the presentation with some thoughts about the need to recognize multiple articulations of citizenship subjectivities, and the importance of paying heed to the notion of “curated youth agency” to examine vibrant forms of citizenship produced by students as possibly ongoing products required to sustain emerging state/institutional agendas, rather than straightforwardly against them.
The slides of my presentation are made available here for viewing: