Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Institutions of higher education, the nation’s ideological filters, shape our world and our very being-in-the-world. Given the current anthro-cultural state of affairs around the globe, this investigation posits institutions of higher education’s complicity in the proliferation of societal dis-ease and its responsibility in assisting to recalibrate the global moral compass. Following these assertions this inquiry is focused on the other-than-ness of higher education, and re-imagines both humanity and higher education to be what it is not yet, but must become. More specifically, through Buddhism and Ubuntu, this investigation (re)thinks institutions of higher education as transformational educative environments of human becoming rather than factories of knowledge acquisition and workforce deployment. Exploring the shift in the aim of higher education beginning in the latter half of the 20th and intensifying in the 21st century, this study theorizes the necessitation of an ontological revolution—a (re)turn to the equanimous privileging of ontology and epistemology—which opens up to the possibility of being differently in the world. Utilizing two non-Western knowledges/philosophies, the South African philosophy of Ubuntu and Eastern Buddhism, this inquiry de-centers Western ontological and epistemological positionalities. Asserting the inseparability of ontology and epistemology, this inquiry embarks on a re-conceptualization of the Western subject. The newly re-conceptualized Being-West sets the inquiry on a futural line of flight, (re)imagining an absent present-future in higher education bolstered by a new conception of self, and an onto-educational philosophy of higher education, which engenders being-becoming more human and an understanding our shared humanity. Finally, this conceptual inquiry offers no solutions, but provokes, encourages new lines of flight, which generate rhizomatic nodes of becoming, pregnant with the possibility of catalyzing a revolutionary human becoming.



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Committee Chair

Alsandor, Danielle



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