In 2016 Bruno Latour delivered a lecture at Cornell University in which he responded to
what he called the actual situation of disorientation and (literal) lack of common ground by offering
some “hints for a neo-Humboldtian university.” One hint he offered was that we should consider
pedagogy as the frontline for staging an approach to societal challenges that links basic research and
public engagement. Here, Jan Masschelein follows and extends upon this hint through exploring some
ways to reclaim or reinvent the university as pedagogic form. Concretely, he describes the development
of a course on designing educational practices that is conceived as a way to turn cities into a milieu
of public and collective study. Masschelein’s contribution to this symposium offers a “technical story”
about physical, material experiences, one that contains some prepositions and propositions, an example,
many detours, and a few practical notes and considerations. By this means, he explores the meaning and
form pedagogy takes when we do not reduce it to teaching and extension, but instead approach it as the
genus and the locus of a nexus between public engagement and basic research. Masschelein concludes
by proposing the “public design studio” as a pedagogic form suited to the neo-Humboldtian university.
Theory, 69(2), 185-203.