Pedagogies of quasi-transcendental perjury

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In this essay, I examine the relation between ethics and epistemology in the pedagogical context of the neoliberal academy. Specifically, I proceed critically to examine this relation in the context of my university's learning and teaching policy and two of its audit technologies: electronic Unit Guides and the Curriculum Mapping Summary. By deploying a Levinasian philosophy of ethics, I interrogate the manner in which these audit technologies fundamentally compel me, as teacher, to betray the very thing that I am required to deliver as a promised ‘output’: ‘ethical skills.’ Drawing on Sue Saltmarsh's (2012: 79) call for an articulation of the storylines that, in the context of the neoliberal academy, would otherwise be ‘Rendered inconsequential apart from our functions in adhering to and implementing technocratic accountability regimes,’ I attempt to delineate a storyline of my complicity and dissent in relation to the neoliberal academy's audit cultures and its technocratic accountability regime. I situate my storyline along two divergent axes of accountability that, in effect, stand in contradistinction to each other and that, in turn, produce radically different effects. I conclude my essay with an embodied narrative that critically gestures to the lines of escape that cannot be managed or controlled by the imposition of technocratic regimes of accountability and governance. The storyline that I offer is of a student who effectively enacts the instantiation of ethics – not as programmatic outcome, not as quantifiable output and, crucially, not as an intended effect of the reading that I had set for a particular class which she attended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-309
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • ethics
  • neoliberal academy
  • audit regimes
  • pedagogy
  • whiteness


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