Negotiating Neoliberal Expectations in STEM Literacy Practices: Cultivating Strategic Capacities and Recognizing Contradictions

CGS Brown Bag Lecture Series
Mar 29, 2017
12:15 PM to 01:15 PM
463 Burrowes

Shakil Rabbi, Penn State

This talk presents the academic literacies of a multilingual graduate student and how they are shaped by neoliberal pressures in the university. As neoliberalism consolidates itself as hegemonic ideology of the neoliberal university, academic socialization and research activities are ever more pressed towards creating compliant identities and dispositions in students and scholars. An analysis of a STEM graduate student’s literacies and motivations show that such academic practices do echo the dispositions and expectations pushed by neoliberal ideologies, but are not overdetermined by them. Rather that his motivations are layered, with ambiguous implications and strategic negotiations making up his academic literacies and disciplinary outcomes. Closely mapping such tensions in academic literacies, we believe, provides ways to make writers and scholars aware of possibilities within the neoliberal university and develop the dispositions needed to negotiate neoliberal expectations and assumptions for more ethical and empowering purposes.

Shakil Rabbi is a PhD-Candidate in the English Department. His research interests include academic literacies, multilingualism, and writing, the place of writing studies in the university, and the rhetoric of public intellectuals. He has taught classes in rhetoric and composition, writing in the social sciences, distant learning composition, English literature and education, and worked as an undergraduate writing tutor and graduate writing consultant at Penn State. He has also worked as a lecturer in English Literature and composition in Bangladesh, and as a primary school teacher in Thailand.

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