Aarhus University Seal

Alternative Internationalisms

Overall aims

We are considering broader forms of conceptualizing the ‘international’, in order to interrogate how these connect with/underlie/precede/structure/inform etc. the internationalization of higher education.

Starting with Ireland and Finland, these are two countries on the edge of Europe with some interesting parallels in their construction of the national, and experiences of the international which puts them at an angle to established discourses of internationalization.  

Our specific goal is to foster discussion of higher education’s international aspect that departs from more standard organizational and policy discourses, with engagement and participation from a wide range of researchers and national contexts. This is important as it is done in order to make a critical contribution to the scholarship of “the international” and higher education, as discussion of the future roles of universities in Europe will benefit from not only replicating previous or proven approaches to a topic.


Our goal is to do so, by:

  • rethinking internationalization from alternative (historical, theoretical, geographical, linguistic) perspectives;
  • unpacking internationalisms in different contexts;
  • linking the discussions of internationalisms to higher education policies: national, post-national, new national, post/colonial;
  • discussing alternate histories and alternate futures of higher education.


So far, we have held two of our monthly meetings, and with more planned.


Plan of work to be completed during 2021 

Our initial plan has been to bring this Working Group back to life, and following the winter workshop, there has been significant interest in the WG’s activities, with new members joining every month from outside the Critical Futures group.

The aims for 2021 are to continue our monthly Zoom meetings to discuss approaches to conceptual and empirical approaches to the international aspect of higher education, through discussions of participants’ work in progress, reading papers, and more targeted sessions where participants e.g. introduce and explain the specific conceptual frameworks they deploy in their research.

As before, the goal is to generate a critical mass of knowledge within the group of participants’ empirical and theoretical interests, to encourage potential future collaboration and publication.


What are you aiming to bring to the workshop in June 2021?

We have not yet discussed this, but Andrew will be presenting a session at this on twenty years of the ERA and Bologna. Other participants will attend, and prior to the event we can discuss this specifically at one of our monthly meetings to consider the WG’s contribution as a whole.