Critical University Studies


The Critical University Studies (CUS) Working Group convenes monthly to foster a scholarly community that contends with issues of race, gender, class, dis/ability, sexuality, and other forms of minoritization within and through higher education. We interrogate how colonialism, white supremacy, antiblackness, heteropatriarchy, and capitalist accumulation are constitutive to the formation and maintenance of universities, and how to disrupt their powerful hold. Our goals are to: 1) Deepen our transdisciplinary critical theoretical inquiry related to the study of higher education; 2) Strengthen our methodological approaches in order to conduct ethical and rigorous research in university settings and with(in) communities that shape and are influenced by institutions of higher education; and 3) Cultivate community among graduate students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars at Berkeley and beyond. 

Rosalie Zdzienicka Fanshel (PhD student, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management)
Caleb E. Dawson (PhD candidate, Graduate School of Education)

Critical University Studies Events

Updated 4-25-2023 CRG Forum Flyer

Conceptualizing Campus Abolition and the Movement to Resist University Expansion and Urban Renewal

4 - 5:30 PM  | CRG Forum Series  | In Person, 554 SSB (Barbara Christian Conference Room)Click here to register.

Conceptualizing Campus Abolition and the Movement to Resist University Expansion and Urban Renewal
with Charles H.F. Davis III (Assistant Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education; and Director of the Campus Abolition Research Lab, University of Michigan).

In Conceptualizing Campus Abolition, Dr. Davis will explore how the university’s entanglement with and perpetuation of the carceral state creates the conditions that render always already vulnerable communities subject to state and state-sanctioned violence. More specifically, Dr. Davis will draw upon theories from the Black radical tradition, decolonization and settler colonialism, and ethnographic study of the Carceral University to consider the otherwise possibilities for higher education to reimagine itself as a life-affirming institution. Rather than reinforcing the notion that universities and prisons sit in opposition to one another, whereas the former is presumed to be a domain of solutions while the other is seen as a consequence of society as the domain of problems, Dr. Davis invites us to consider the ways carceral society is a product of the university’s negligence and betrayal of its promise to serve the public good.

Hosted by Critical University Studies, a CRG Research Working Group.  Co-sponsored by the Chancellor's Independent Advisory Board on Police Accountability and Community Safety (IAB), Berkeley School of Education, Center for Race & Gender, Department of African American & African Diaspora Studies, ESPM Graduate Diversity Council, and the Black Studies Collaboratory at UC Berkeley.

CUS Spring 2022 Event Flyer

Black, Feminist, & Queer Studies in Education (Spring 2022 Speaker Series)

03.29.2022 | 4:00 PM| Zoom Webinar
How to Be a Queer Educational Studies Researcher (and Not Get Caught)
with Ed Brockenbrough (Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania)

04.18.2022 | 5:00 PM| Social Science Matrix, 820 Social Sciences Building
The Public University as Landlord:  Are Universities Plundering Our Cities? 
with Davarian Baldwin (American Studies, Trinity College) 
in conversation with UC Regent John A. Pérez through a collaboration between the Berkeley Faculty Association, Department of Geography, GSE, and Social Science Matrix. 

04.25.2022| 5:00 PM| Zoom
Disembodied Punishment:  The Affective Live of H.B. Stowe Academy
with Kenly Brown (African and American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis)

Join us as we learn from esteemed experts and foster a shared vision for supporting critical scholars and scholarship on (anti-)blackness, gender, and sexuality in the Graduate School of Education and beyond!

This series is sponsored by the GSE Dean’s Office; Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender; Critical University Studies working group; Education Minor; Berkeley Review of Education; Department of Geography.

CUS Speaker on 10-31-2019

A Place to Be Human: Black Placemaking In And Against Education Opportunity

10.31.2019| 2:30 - 4:00 PM| 127 Dwinelle Hall 

2019 – 2020 Critical University Studies Speaker Series
A Place To Be Human: Black Placemaking In And Against Education Opportunity
with Dr. Jalil Bishop. 

Dr. Bishop will present on his latest research project which highlights how schools and colleges create precarity in Black communities. His findings show how underdevelopment in Black neighborhoods and unequal opportunity in schools and colleges are interlocked. He will focus on a tradition in Black communities of Black placemaking and lifemaking to highlight how Black people navigate, contest, and imagine beyond geographic and educational inequality.

Co-sponsored by Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Graduate School of Education, African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, D-Lab and the Center for Race & Gender.