INTER-SECTION Volume III - Page 5

| Editorial Statement | and productive academic environments, if fuelled by willing students, teachers and management, as is the case at the Faculty of Archaeology. In what follows, we invite our readers to return to some of these general issues permeating current This does not say, of course, that everybody needs to agree with the assessment of current academic state- of-the-art presented here, yet some of the raised issues, regardless of the taken stance or perspective, might help to reinvigorate a broader discourse on the matters touched-upon within our faculty – a discourse that is urgently needed since the overall trajectory of change appears to be irreversible. Reassessment and Extension of Aims During the last two decades, most European countries have witnessed a dramatic re-organisation of their academic systems, resulting in a radical done, perpetuated and ultimately communicated. have driven this development: (i) the so called ‘Bologna Process’ based on the earlier Magna Carta Universitatum (1988) and the Sorbonne- Declaration (1998) with the aim of “harmonising the architecture of the European Higher Education system”, and (ii funding framework through the establishment of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2007. These two top-down adjustments have fundamentally research and the mechanisms and logic of publishing cf. e.g. Hagner 2015). Effectively, (i) and (ii) have issued a somewhat ‘cruel’ tension between the political will to streamline and normalise university curricula on the one hand, thereby swinging away from humanistic ideas of ‘education’ (Bildung) towards the pragmatic notion of ‘training’ (Ausbildung) 1 – and, on the other hand, the tendency to primarily support cutting-edge research conducted by a small number of high- as Horizon 2020. 2 The strong emphasis on training rather than education, in conjunction with the ongoing separation between teaching and research, has resulted in a situation where students become, ironically, more and more detached from real more and more expected to deliver exceptional, innovative and high-quality work in their BAs/MAs/ PhDs and beyond to be able to compete for funding and/or positions on the next rung of the academic ladder. 3 Essentially, this situation has created (a) an extremely competitive environment for prospective researchers and fostered (b) ‘academic elitism’ (Closet et al. 2015) for which students, precisely because of the relatively manageable BA/MA curriculum, are often only poorly equipped . INTER-SECTION pursues two interrelated goals it aims to bridge the gap between well-structured training and individual research by assisting students standard; it helps them to translate their ideas into an article-format, to develop the necessary skills to write in Academic English and to experience what it means both to be self-critical and to be criticised in the face of peers. Secondly, it aims to counterbalance the apparent fetish on excellency that prevails in the current system. INTER-SECTION’s primary goal is not so much to support those who are already well- supported, but rather to offer an opportunity for those who have shown great potential yet lack possibilities and courage or simply shy away from high-impact journals and their self-proclaimed elitism. On the that most student research is valuable in and of itself – and thus deserves to be visible – and that most paper can be acquired quite easily after all. 4 On the other hand, INTER-SECTION wants to make room for a different vision of science than the one mainly propagated by institutions such as the ERC. This particularly in archaeology, must be conceived of as a fundamentally collective enterprise transcending one-sided teacher-student hierarchies 5 , and that, as a consequence, archaeological knowledge can only be substantially advanced when wide-ranging horizontal rather than narrow vertical exchange and interaction are promoted. This entails hearing the voice of students and being open to synergise with them. The respective vision of university and academic practices comes close to ‘and partly even extends’ what Jacques Derrida (2001) has famously termed the “unconditional university”. 6 Addressing the gap between training and research also requires new forms of engagement between students and academic staff/researchers. INTER- SECTION’s referee system, where each student brings in her/his preferred referee to assist in conceptualising and writing the manuscript, can be seen as one such attempt. Ideally, this re-engagement results in close collaboration and supervision which not only improves the overall quality of the submitted papers, but also contributes to the staff interactions. In the long run, we hope that this 2017 | INTER-SECTION | VOL III | p.3