20 May 2024
by David Mills

Special Issue on ‘Regional Spaces in Higher Education’: Call for submissions

Emerging from our CGHE research, we welcome abstracts for a proposed special issue of the International Journal of Educational Research on regional spaces in higher education (i.e. those that operate at a level above nation-states). The concept of regional spaces in higher education is used to denote initiatives, collaborations, or alliances that transcend national boundaries to extend relations of cooperation and competition across borders. The issue will explore the ways in which such spaces are created – through bottom-up as well as top-down initiatives; how they are understood by relevant social actors; and the impact they have on everyday practices within higher education institutions.

There is a growing body of literature on the development of regional spaces in higher education, spanning regions such as Europe, Africa, the Arab States, Latin America, Eurasia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and various parts of Asia including Southeast, Northeast, and East Asia (Brooks & Rensimer, 2024; Chankseliani & Sopromadze, 2023; Charret & Chankseliani, 2022; Chou & Ravinet, 2017; Hammond, 2019; Jafar & Knight, 2020; Leskina & Sabzalieva, 2021; Pogorelskaya, 2022; Welch, 2018).[i] The proposed special issue builds on this scholarship with empirical attention to the region-building spatial strategies of higher education actors and governments, often in ‘partnership’ with private sector and civil society organisations.

We hope that the special issue will cover different geographical regions of the world and bring together papers that employ a variety of methodological and conceptual approaches. We especially welcome contributions from early career researchers and those located in or speaking from the Global South. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Specific policy initiatives to strengthen regional higher education (e.g. the European Universities Initiative)
  • Processes of boundary-making (and contestation) with respect to regional higher education spaces, including the role of bordering and migration politics in shaping regional mobilities
  • The impact of regional initiatives on higher education students and staff, including mobility and academic collaborations
  • Geopolitical developments and tensions between or within regional higher education spaces
  • Interactions between transnational and ‘local’ universities within regional higher education spaces
  • Challenges to the European higher education space in light of Brexit, growing nationalism, and the war in Ukraine
  • The sustainability of regional higher education initiatives, considering environmental, financial, and social dimensions
  • Legal and regulatory frameworks governing regional higher education initiatives
  • A historical perspective on the development of regional educational spaces and how a historical perspective can contextualise contemporary issues and trends

Abstracts – of up to 750 words – should be sent to Lee Rensimer (l.rensimer@ucl.ac.uk) by 17th June 2024. These should cover the article’s key argument and the data and methods that will underpin this, as well as relevant conceptual and/or theoretical frameworks. Please also send Lee a short biographical statement (100 words) and institutional affiliation for each author. Selected abstracts will form the basis of our proposal for a special issue to the International Journal of Educational Research. Assuming our proposal is accepted, authors will then have approximately five months (from the time of acceptance) to write and submit their full paper.

Guest editorial team: Lee Rensimer (UCL), Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey), Maia Chankseliani (University of Oxford), Tristan McCowan (UCL) and David Mills (University of Oxford),

[i] Brooks, R., & Rensimer, L. (2024). Higher education actors’ responses to the Ukraine-Russia conflict: An analysis of geopolitical spatial imaginaries. Journal of Education Policy, 0(0), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2024.2334945

Chankseliani, M., & Sopromadze, N. (2023). Listening to locals: Regional spaces in higher education in the global south. International Journal of Educational Research, 122, 102264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2023.102264

Charret, A., & Chankseliani, M. (2022). The process of building European university alliances: A rhizomatic analysis of the European Universities Initiative. Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-022-00898-6

Chou, M.-H., & Ravinet, P. (2017). Higher Education Regionalism in Europe and Southeast Asia: Comparing Policy Ideas. Policy and Society, 36(1), 143–159. https://doi.org/10.1080/14494035.2017.1278874

Hammond, C. D. (2019). Dynamics of Higher Education Research Collaboration and Regional Integration in Northeast Asia: A Study of the A3 Foresight Program. Higher Education, 78(4), 653–668. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00363-x

Jafar, H., & Knight, J. (2020). Higher Education in the Arab States: The Realities and Challenges of Regionalization. Comparative and International Education, 48(2), Article 2. https://doi.org/10.5206/cie-eci.v48i2.10788

Leskina, N., & Sabzalieva, E. (2021). Constructing a Eurasian Higher Education Region: “Points of Correspondence” Between Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 0(0), 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/15387216.2020.1866997

Pogorelskaya, A. M. (2022). Academic mobility for region-building and the creation of a Eurasian identity. European Journal of Higher Education, 0(0), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/21568235.2022.2093240

Welch, A. (2018). China’s Southern Borderlands and ASEAN Higher Education: A Cartography of Connectivity. In Geographies of the University (pp. 567–602). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-75593-9_18