top of page

Theme in 2024:
Rage against the machine: Remaking universities for hopeful futures


The 2024 theme of ‘Rage against the machine: Remaking universities for hopeful futures’ is intended to energise researchers and scholars to enquire into all the usual and multi-layered aspects of university work (practices of teaching, research, citizenship or service) but with renewed attention to possible and hopeful transformations. And we hope it will provoke some new foci for enquiry as well. We need to understand more clearly and more deeply the nature of contemporary changes and constancies in the university as well as their many effects for all who dwell there. We also need to understand how these matters and their effects impinge on the place of universities within their societies and within far-reaching formations such as globalisation, financialised capitalism, and a wide range of social-political upheavals.

About CUSC

The inaugural Critical University Studies Conference (formerly known as the International Academic Identities Conference) will take place in June 2024 in Hong Kong. The conference has been renamed to broaden its horizon towards a wider range of interests among higher education researchers and scholars than the earlier title might have suggested. Upholding and strengthening the distinctive culture of AIC – that entails values of companionship, creativity and criticality – will remain a key aspiration for the Critical University Studies Conference.


The conference takes its new title from the work of Jeffrey Williams (2012), Liz Morrish (2018) and others who argue for the need to take a ‘resolutely critical perspective’ on the ‘knowledge factory itself’ (Williams, 2012, pp. 2-3). As both Morrish and Williams point out, a central target for critical university studies is the effects of neoliberal policies on higher education institutions. The job of critical university studies is twofold: to draw on a range of disciplines to argue against the ‘academic practice as usual’ produced under a thoroughly economic logic and to imagine how those usual practices might be different – and better.

bottom of page