• Home
  • The Imperial University
The Imperial University

The Imperial University

Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

Edited by Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira

From the front lines of the war on academic freedom, linking the policing of knowledge to the relationship between universities, militarism, and neoliberalism

400 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780816680900
  • Published: April 30, 2014
  • eBook
  • 9781452941844
  • Published: April 15, 2014


The Imperial University

Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

Edited by Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira

ISBN: 9780816680900

Publication date: April 30th, 2014

400 Pages


9 x 6

"The public space of higher education is under siege. The Imperial University interrogates in brilliant detail the nature of such attacks and the hidden structures of power and politics that define them. But it does more in providing a passionate call to rethink higher education part of a future in which learning is linked to social change. A crucial book for anyone who imagines the university as both an essential public sphere and an index of what a democracy should be." —Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University

"Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira’s The Imperial University charts the many ways that institutions of higher education fail to meet the needs of students and the teachers who instruct them. It’s a wonderful, stimulating and anger-inducing book."—Truthout

"No book indexes the political brutalism that often hounds academic settings these days so intimately and nerve-rackingly as this one. This is, far and away, the most affecting, comprehensive, and visionary collection of essays published to date on the politics of contemporary higher education."—Academe

"Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira provide an invaluable collection of scholarship on the transformation of the University into an apparatus of empire and the U.S. War on Terror."—American Studies Journal

"A thoughtfully and often passionately crafted volume that problematized issues of academic-militaristic collusion, American exceptionalism, academic freedom, and in many cases, expulsion from the ivory tower."—Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

"A provocative interrogation."—Journal of American History

"Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira take great care to bring the battles on university campuses home to readers with great immediacy and in their full connection to warfare, militarism, racism, the politics of nationalism, and neoliberal versions of imperial violence."—American Quarterly

At colleges and universities throughout the United States, political protest and intellectual dissent are increasingly being met with repressive tactics by administrators, politicians, and the police—from the use of SWAT teams to disperse student protestors and the profiling of Muslim and Arab American students to the denial of tenure and dismissal of politically engaged faculty. The Imperial University brings together scholars, including some who have been targeted for their open criticism of American foreign policy and settler colonialism, to explore the policing of knowledge by explicitly linking the academy to the broader politics of militarism, racism, nationalism, and neoliberalism that define the contemporary imperial state.

The contributors to this book argue that “academic freedom” is not a sufficient response to the crisis of intellectual repression. Instead, they contend that battles fought over academic containment must be understood in light of the academy’s relationship to U.S. expansionism and global capital. Based on multidisciplinary research, autobiographical accounts, and even performance scripts, this urgent analysis offers sobering insights into such varied manifestations of “the imperial university” as CIA recruitment at black and Latino colleges, the connections between universities and civilian and military prisons, and the gender and sexual politics of academic repression.

Contributors: Thomas Abowd, Tufts U; Victor Bascara, UCLA; Dana Collins, California State U, Fullerton; Nicholas De Genova; Ricardo Dominguez, UC San Diego; Sylvanna Falcón, UC Santa Cruz; Farah Godrej, UC Riverside; Roberto J. Gonzalez, San Jose State U; Alexis Pauline Gumbs; Sharmila Lodhia, Santa Clara U; Julia C. Oparah, Mills College; Vijay Prashad, Trinity College; Jasbir Puar, Rutgers U; Laura Pulido, U of Southern California; Ana Clarissa Rojas Durazo, California State U, Long Beach; Steven Salaita, Virginia Tech; Molly Talcott, California State U, Los Angeles.

Piya Chatterjee is Backstrand Chair and professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies at Scripps College. She is the author of A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation and coeditor of States of Trauma: Gender and Violence in South Asia.

Sunaina Maira is professor of Asian American studies at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City and Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire after 9/11.


Introduction. The Imperial University: Race, War, and the Nation-State

Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina MairaI. Imperial Cartographies1. New Empire, Same University? Education in the American Tropics after 1898Victor Bascara2. Militarizing Education: The Intelligence Community’s Spy CampsRoberto J. González3. Challenging Complicity: The Neoliberal University and the Prison-Industrial ComplexJulia C. OparahII. Academic Containment4. Neoliberalism, Militarization, and the Price of Dissent: Policing Protest at the University of CaliforniaFarah Godrej5. Faculty Governance at the University of Southern CaliforniaLaura Pulido6. The BDS Movement and Violations of Academic Freedom at Wayne State UniversityThomas Abowd7. Decolonizing Chicano Studies in the Shadows of the University’s “Heteropatriracial” OrderAna Clarissa Rojas DurazoIII. Manifest Knowledges8. Normatizing State Power: Uncritical Ethical Praxis and ZionismSteven Salaita9. Nobody Mean More: Black Feminist Pedagogy and SolidarityAlexis Pauline Gumbs10. Teaching outside Liberal-Imperial Discourse: A Critical Dialogue about Antiracist FeminismsSylvanna Falcón, Sharmila Lodhia, Molly Talcott, and Dana Collins11. Citation and Censure: Pinkwashing and the Sexual Politics of Talking about IsraelJasbir PuarIV. Heresies and Freedoms12. Within and Against the Imperial University: Reflections on Crossing the LineNicholas De Genova13. Teaching by CandlelightVijay Prashad14. UCOP versus R. Dominguez —The FBI Interview: A One-Act Play á la Jean GenetRicardo Dominguez