In 1999, twenty-nine ministers of education in Europe signed the so-called ‘Bologna Declaration’. This document, only 4 pages long, documented the political intention of the EU to restructure European universities in such a way that their courses and their degrees would become uniform – from astrophysics to Celtic Studies. By this means, the EU intends to create one integrated educational market in which future students will be able to do their Bachelors-degree in Amsterdam, their Masters-degree in Athens and their PhD-degree in Aarhus without any formal impediment, or any doubt as to differences in quality. Therefore ‘QualityAssesment’ and ‘Quality Control’ of the universities are the buzzwords in all plans based on ‘Bologna’. The EU hopes that by integrating all national higher education systems and by tailoring this unified educational system to the needs of the economic market, the EU will turn into the most competitive economic bloc in this world. So the basic goal of ‘Bologna’ is not only to ‘outperform’ the US both educationally and economically, but also the emerging BRIC-powers of the 21st century, especially China and India. Given some unforeseen developments since the ‘Bologna’-plans were made in 1999, Dr. Lorenz’s talk will deal not only with these plans, but also with what went and what still is going seriously wrong. He will give special attention to the ill fate of the humanities, those old disciplines that are destined for (at least institutional) extinction in the neo-liberal 21st century universities - just like the dinosaurs were in Jurassic times - unless rehumanizing the universities is taken seriously soon.
Chris Lorenz received his Ph.D. in history and historiography at the University of Amsterdam and held a chair in the philosophy of history at the University of Leiden from 1989 to 2004 prior to joining the history faculty of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has published mainly in the fields of modern German historiography, philosophy of history, comparative historiography, and developments in higher education, and in addition to numerous journal articles, his edited works include: (with Stefan Berger), The Contested Nation. Ethnicity, Class, Religion and Gender in National Histories (2008); ‘If you’re so smart why aren’t you rich? Beschouwingen over de universiteit, de politiek en management’ (2008); (with Stefan Berger), Nationalizing the Past Historians as Nation Builders in Modern Europe (2010); and (with Stefan Berger and Billie Melman), Popularizing the National Past: 1800 to the Present (Routledge 2011). In addition to winning a research prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung in 1996, Prof. Dr. Lorenz has held visiting professorships in Graz, Erfurt, Stellenbosch, and the University of Michigan. He is currently on the board of the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography, an organization that encourages frequent conferences and workshops promoting the history of historiography and the theory of history; it is a meeting place for historians and philosophers to exchange ideas and new approaches to the study of the past. He was most recently team leader of the international group ‘National Histories and their ‘Other’’, sponsored by the European Science Foundation as part of their larger project on ‘Representations of the Past: National Histories in Europe’ (2003-2008).
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This series of twelve lectures is co-sponsored by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, the UF Honors Program, the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish History at UF, the UF International Center, the UF Office of Research, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UF Center for Jewish Studies, the UF Libraries, the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, the UF France-Florida Research Institute, the Hyatt and Cici Brown Endowment for Florida Archaeology, the UF Department of History, the UF Department of Classics, the UF Department of English, the Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Chair, the Albert Brick Chair in English at UF, the UF African American Studies Program, the UF Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, UF College of Design, Construction and Planning, and the Alachua County Library District.
For an overview of the Rehumanizing the University Speakers series, click here.
Past lectures can be viewed online here.
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611