Hopes and Futures of Academia: Reimagining Bacon's New Atlantis
ATLANTIS tackles the multifaceted challenges facing academia today by focusing on alternatives articulated within or at the boundaries of higher education. These challenges are not only practical, but also deeply theoretical and engage fundamental epistemological and ontological discussions about the intertwinedness of science and society, and the knowledge this relation generates. Using Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis (1626) as a reference point, this project’s ambition is to co-create different narratives, infrastructures and frameworks that amend the consequences of the technocratic imaginaries of knowledge and progress crystallised in this story. Following the lead of researchers that have taken people’s hopes and visions as objects of analysis and entry points into broader societal concerns, ATLANTIS aims to: 1) develop a nuanced account of the diverse challenges facing academia and better understand emergent or successful responses and transformation; and 2) co-create possible and utopian academic worlds that open new horizons for meaningful discussions and paradigm-shifting actions that account for its current weaknesses and blind spots, particularly when it comes to gender and multispecies entanglements. ATLANTIS is anchored in anthropology and science and technology studies (STS) and focuses on three distinct but interconnected lines of inquiry about academia and its future at the present (neoliberal) moment. ATLANTIS takes a forward-looking approach that is historically and ethnographically grounded, while engaging innovative co-creation and future-oriented techniques articulated at the intersection of anthropology, innovation, and design. ATLANTIS is hosted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and includes a secondment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It is co-supervised by Vivian Anette Lagesen, Knut H. Sørensen, and Sharon Traweek.