The death of universities

Academia has become a servant of the status quo. Its malaise runs so much deeper than tuition fees. By Terry Eagleton in The Guardian.

terry…What we have witnessed in our own time is the death of universities as centres of critique. Since Margaret Thatcher, the role of academia has been to service the status quo, not challenge it in the name of justice, tradition, imagination, human welfare, the free play of the mind or alternative visions of the future. We will not change this simply by increasing state funding of the humanities as opposed to slashing it to nothing. We will change it by insisting that a critical reflection on human values and principles should be central to everything that goes on in universities, not just to the study of Rembrandt or Rimbaud.

In the end, the humanities can only be defended by stressing how indispensable they are; and this means insisting on their vital role in the whole business of academic learning, rather than protesting that, like some poor relation, they don’t cost much to be housed.

How can this be achieved in practice? Financially speaking, it can’t be. Governments are intent on shrinking the humanities, not expanding them...there is no university without humane inquiry, which means that universities and advanced capitalism are fundamentally incompatible. And the political implications of that run far deeper than the question of student fees.” (more here) (Thanks, August)

 

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