The Educational Commons – Introducing the Nonstop Institute

As Michael Cohen’s recent posting on the neoliberal crisis and the Open University makes clear, education as a human right is under assault around the world. Cohen’s discussion of the context in Britain paints a particularly dire picture, but universities throughout the European Union face similar circumstances, as my recent experience in Italy demonstrated.

Of course, both public and private institutions of higher education in the United States face significant challenges, both economic and ideological, in the current context of austerity. In these days of often desperate defensive struggles, one seldom comes across the kind of idealistic, let alone utopian, experiments in education that might offer some pole star to guide us out of the present morass. 

This makes the efforts of the Nonstop Institute particularly significant.  Based in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Nonstop is an independent educational nonprofit corporation that grew out of conversations between faculty at the now-defunct Antioch College and a variety of community activists and intellectuals.  The Nonstop Institute has managed to create a vibrant series of workshops and forums in the most inimical of circumstances, hosting, among others, prominent activist intellectuals such as Cary Nelson and Michael Hardt.

The following two posts represent brief essays by Iveta Jusová and Dan Reyes, who are both  members of the Nonstop community.  I believe that their work as engaged intellectuals and their efforts to build alternative institutions that remain open to the general public are of signal importance.

You can link to the Nonstop Institute website at

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On Public Intellectualism in the UK This feature in today's The Observer newspaper on Britain's relationship to 'public intellectualism' is at times illuminating, and at times frustrating in the most productive of ways. Indeed, some of my frustration with it connects directly to a theme that ST has explored on this website recently: ...

Ashley Dawson

Ashley Dawson, a professor of English at the Graduate Center/CUNY and the College of Staten Island, is a scholar of postcolonial studies and a climate justice activist. He is the author of two recent books on topics relating to the environmental issues, Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (Verso, 2017) and Extinction: A Radical History (O/R, 2016), as well as many other books on topics relating to migration, global justice, and cultural struggles. He is currently completing a book on energy democracy and just transition entitled The Energy Common.