Farewell Symposium Arie L. Molendijk

21 June 2024 13:00 - 18:30

“Structural Change in Academic Life: Managerialism, Diversity & the Quest for Excellence”

Dutch Universities and academic life have changed almost beyond recognition since the first post-war years, and especially the last decades have seen a great number of political and administrative measures to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable: an ever-growing influx of students and the quest of international research excellence against the background of structural underfinancing. This process of change has been legitimated with an appeal to the ‘market’ (competition and production), quality control (assessments), and the technocratic discourse of ‘excellence’. Today, new ‘challenges’ have been added: the pursuits of diversity, inclusion and social safety.

The symposium will address the fate of the modern university, and the humanities and religious studies in particular. The speakers – Klaas van Berkel, Georg Pfleiderer, Brenda Mathijssen and Christoph Jedan – will discuss various issues at stake here, followed by discussion. The program continues with Arie L. Molendijk’s valedictory lecture. During his tenure of almost 25 years at the Groningen Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society (formerly Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies), Molendijk has published about the various challenges that face the academic study of religion. In his lecture, he will give a more personal assessment of this rapidly changing academic landscape. The symposium concludes with a reception.