Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Do So Many Americans Dislike Academe? Evan Goldstein
Why Do So Many Americans Dislike Academe? The prospect of promotion to the status of full professor has Timothy Burke in a reflective mood. In particular, he has been thinking about why he has maintained his blog, Easily Distracted, for the past five years. Burke, who teaches at Swarthmore, describes his blogging as an effort to better understand how the society at large relates to academe. 'I blog because I want to understand how we’re seen, to hone my own ability to enter a wider public conversation, and to think about what it is that scholars and educators need to do to reform their own practices,' Burke writes. 'I want to understand where we are at fault, where public critics of academia may be mistaken or malicious in their views, and where we’re entangled in some much more complex social matrix that isn’t easily encompassed by debates within the public sphere.' Burke argues that 'all that is valuable and productive about higher now very much at stake politically in a way that it has not been in Western society since the mid-19th century.' In a very lengthy post, which is worth the effort of reading in full, Burke explores why Americans are so dismissive or hostile to academic institutions and academic professionals.

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