Internationalization for an Uncertain Future

This small conference is funded by the Spencer Foundation. Originally set to meet in Vancouver in June 2020, the meeting moved to a virtual format. This new format will allow us to share many of the conference materials.

Abstract: As higher education is increasingly called upon to play a central role in addressing the challenges of today’s complex, uncertain, and unequal world, many colleges and universities have introduced an international dimension into their institutional strategies, policies, and practices. Internationalization has been deemed instrumental to preparing students, producing useful knowledge, and generating solutions for the proliferating challenges of an ever more interconnected planet. Yet there is also growing concern that mainstream practices and policies of internationalization not only reflect but also potentially reproduce already uneven geo-political and economic relations. This conference will bring together a group scholars working in the area of critical internationalization studies in order to determine the parameters of the field, outline a shared (but internally diverse) research agenda, and identify primary issues, future priorities, and pathways forward. This intergenerational group of scholars brings expertise in multiple dimensions of international education, and experience working across many geographic areas. The orientation of the conference will be to consider how we might reimagine the study and practice internationalization in the service of addressing shared global challenges in more equitable, sustainable, and ethical ways.

The following video by Sharon Stein offers an introduction to the conference and reflections on the current state of the field of critical internationalization studies:

Theme: Regional Perspectives on Internationalization

Clarissa Jordão, “Regional perspectives: Aren’t they all?”

Elizabeth Buckner, “Internationalization and the Middle East and North Africa”

Andre Keet, “Africa – Higher Education Internationalisation and Transformation”

Theme: Emerging Issues in Internationalization (in a [post-]COVID world)

Gerardo Blanco and Amy Scott Metcalfe, “Internationalization as Fatal Strategy”

Blanca Torres-Olave & Max Crumley-Effinger – “The scar must run deep: Wither academic hypermobility in the Anthropocene”

Roopa Trilokekar – “Can COVID-19 possibly rupture Canada’s nationalistic vision of international education?”

Theme: Internationalization, Race, and Racism

Kumari Beck, “What’s race doing in a nice field like internationalization?”

Christina Yao, “Internationalization, race, and racism in U.S. higher education”


Gian-Louis Hernandez, “Not our students: Race and nationality in Swiss universities”

Theme: Internationalization, Coloniality, and Imperiality

Roxana Chiappa, “‘Saber llegar’: Pause, humility, and (un)learning in the process of arrival in South Africa as an International academic”

Su-Ming Khoo “Repair of (public) higher education: Decolonization of knowledge and return of an equitable understanding for quality”



Sarah Amsler, “Modernity/Coloniality in Alternative Higher Education: A British and Transnational Perspective”

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