An inherent tension between the global and the national frame of reference defines the modern research university. This seems to be the conflicting diagnosis of two recently published volumes on the matter: In their book on The University and the Global Knowledge Society, David J. Frank and John W. Meyer (2020) link the spectacular rise of the university to its lasting claim to generate “universalized truths” (Frank & Meyer 2020). John Aubrey Douglass and others (2021), in contrast, paint a decidedly different picture. In their volume on Neo-Nationalism and Universities, Douglass and eleven co-authors trace how universities have increasingly come under pressure by a recent wave of neo-nationalism that has challenged the very idea of the global research university right to its core. In presenting these contrasting accounts, the two volumes raise a number of pressing questions for science studies and higher education research more broadly: How do recent developments of neonationalism and populism connect to the longer history of national interests in science as a tool at the hand of the state? How do such nationalist tendencies play into, or counter, the global expansion of the university? And finally, how can we secure the transnational and open idea of a university in times when the specific organizations as well as their cultural core are threatened by national governments? To engage with these questions, this Review Symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars who discuss the two volumes and share their diverse perspectives on Universities between Inter- and Re-Nationalization.

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