“fancy accoutrement for privileged pedants”
Jade Pinero of the Cornell Daily Sun has a few thoughts about the state of higher education which are worth your time. Take a look:
Academia, at least in the social sciences, is the pursuit of knowledge by and for the elite. It’s a circle-jerk for nerds.
Joining a university faculty is like signing up to play a professional game of whack-a-mole. Institutions require scholars to publish in order to remain employed; specifically, they require regular original research written for peer-reviewed journals or discipline-specific books. Behind each publication awaits the due date for the next.
Academia’s mandated curiosity (“publish or perish”) is problematic, but its mandated stylistic orthodoxy is a bona fide tragedy. The only scholarship these institutions recognize is formally written with a lexicon too complex and a subject too specific for all but the most erudite audiences.
The bulk of scholars’ time and energy is spent on such research, leaving even those who would prefer to create more accessible content exhausted. Our most gifted, inquisitive minds exist in a vacuum. Their revelations are not endeavors in awakening the masses, but fancy accoutrement for privileged pedants.
The pursuit of knowledge has, unfortunately, always been the purview of the elite.
From the 18th to early 20th century, the Western world’s movers-and-shakers partook in exclusive ‘salons’ where VIP attendees discussed politics, philosophy and culture. Like those salons, the contemporary world of academic literature cultivates revolutionary ideas far away from those who most need the revolution.
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