FreshEd Live

Where Progress Lies

The Failures and Futures of Education

Arjun Appadurai in conversation with Will Brehm


Tuesday, March 24, 2020 from 3:30 – 5:00, Terrace (Level 0), Hibiscus B


The modernist beginnings of Comparative Education as a field left a lasting “merliorist motif” where progress through education was always thought possible. Learning about and borrowing educational practices from others continues to be seen as a good and scientific way to improve oneself. PISA – and the development-cum-academic apparatus built around it – is but the contemporary exemplar of such thinking. What if, however, this vision of progress is a lie? What if the human condition is not improving through education as we so easily convince ourselves? What if the “eternal economic growth” advanced through so-called educational best practices has an environmental and planetary limit? Professor Arjun Appadurai offers useful entry points into thinking about (comparative) education and its failures and futures. Using some of his latest work on regimes of failure, Arjun Appadurai joins Will Brehm in a wide-ranging conversation that explores the history, power, culture, and technology generating failure in education and what such insights reveal about our collective future.

Breakfast with Arjun Appadurai

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 7:30 – 9:45, 4th Floor, Flamingo

Join Arjun Appadurai for small round table discussions over breakfast. In these informal conversations, conference-goers will be able to engage in dialogue with Arjun Appadurai and other participants about any topic of their choosing. This is a space to extend the FreshEd Live event from the previous day, democratizing knowledge exchange. Feel free to stop by any time during the breakfast. Round tables will be limited, so we will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Professor Appadurai will rotate to each table, ensuring everyone has a chance to speak with him and each other. Please click the link below to register and RSVP!


These events are co-sponsored by FreshEd, NORRAG, UNESCO, CIES, and CIES Globalization and Education SIG. This FreshEd Live event will be recorded. By participating, you provide consent to FreshEd to use your voice in a podcast.