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Workshop: The Failures of Institutional Knowledge

Nov 10, 2021 - Nov 12, 2021
Failure / Knowledge Logo

Failure / Knowledge Logo

The fourth thematic workshop of the DFG research network “The Failure of Knowledge – Knowledges of Failure” addresses the dynamics of knowledge production within and among social institutions. With sustained challenges from divergent political actors to the ideal of knowledge as rational, objective, and universal, the university as the prime locus of modern knowledge production faces increased pressure to adapt its scholarly protocols and its public mission to the twenty-first century. Members of the research network along with invited speakers will use this meeting to explore how literary and cultural studies can address the entanglement of knowledge and institutions by way of critique, historicization, theorization, and self-reflection regarding the institutional role of the humanities.

Two keynote lectures, as well as a panel discussion are open to the public and will be streamed via Webex. For information on how to join online, please visit the network website:


Workshop Organizers: James Dorson, Alexander Starre, Simon Strick

Download the Workshop Poster


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

6:15-7:45 p.m. (CET)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Michigan State University)

"Failures of Leadership: Rethinking the University in the United States"


Thursday, November 11, 2021

4:00-5:30 p.m. (CET)

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brown University)

"On Refuge and Black Refusal"


Thursday, November 11, 2021

2:00-3:30 p.m. (CET)

"Failures of the Neoliberal University"

Discussants: Katharina Motyl, Regina Schober, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Anja Schwarz

About the network: In the research network “The Failure of Knowledge – Knowledges of Failure,” fifteen scholars of American Studies and related disciplines are investigating the nexus of failure and knowledge, addressing such timely concerns as ‘the post-factual,’ climate-science denial, or the digital divide as well as historical questions such as the suppression of Indigenous knowledge systems. In addition to examining the agency of knowledge in the production of failure as well as the knowledges of ‘failed individuals,’ network members also scrutinize the failure of knowledge in our so-called ‘post-truth’ age, in which expert knowledge / established modes of knowledge production are being ignored or denied.

Read more: https://knowledge-failure.org/concept/