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Whiteness of Futurity and Globalization of Higher Education


2021.08.25 | Søren Baltzer Rasmussen

Date Thu 16 Sep
Time 15:00 16:00
Location Online (Zoom)

Time: September 16th, 2021, at 15.00-16.00 Central European Summer Time (CEST) (UTC+2)

Place: A Zoom-link will be shared with the participants closer to the event

Register before: 14.9.2021


Press here to register for the event




Chair: Professor Susan Wright, Co-Director of CHEF, Aarhus University, Denmark 



Riyad A. Shahjahan  is an Associate Professor of Higher, Adult and Life Long Education (HALE) at Michigan State University. He is also a core faculty member of Muslim Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Asian Studies, and Center for Advanced Study of International Development. His areas of research interests are in globalization of higher education, decolonizing curriculum/pedagogy, temporality and embodiment in higher education, cultural studies, and de/anti/postcolonial theory. 

Kirsten T. Edwards  is faculty in the department of Educational Policy Studies, as well as affiliate faculty for African & African Diaspora Studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Her research merges philosophies of higher education, college curriculum, and pedagogy. More specifically, Dr. Edwards is interested in the ways that global racial asymmetries, context, and sociocultural identity intersect to influence teaching and learning in postsecondary education.



Amid growing debates about globalization of higher education (HE) reproducing inequalities, an analysis of race underlying this global phenomenon remains absent. This conceptual essay argues that our understanding of globalization of HE would benefit from an intersectional understanding of critical Whiteness studies and temporal studies to help racialize and further temporalize this phenomenon. It introduces Whiteness as futurity framework and its three components: Whiteness as a) aspiration, b) investment, and c) malleability. Drawing on this framework, it provides a critical race temporal account of globalization of HE by critically examining two contemporary global HE trends, namely: a) the global diffusion of liberal education, and b) the growing use of global university rankings (GURs). It argues that Whiteness as futurity colonizes (or orients) global subjects’ (nation-states', policy makers’, institutions’, and individuals’) imaginaries and reinforces the asymmetrical movements, networks, and untethered economies underpinning global HE. The article concludes that educators should consider seriously the insights of Whiteness studies in reconceptualizing globalization of HE.