Anti-intellectualism

There’s an interesting discussion over on Plastic about anti-intellectualism on college campuses. In some ways, it is nice to see that I am not alone in noticing that the increase in numbers of people seeking a university education has significantly changed the environment of the university. I wonder how this plays out in differences between parents and children’s perspectives and expectations about the college experience. A few there mention that the masters is the new bachelors degree, which is increasingly true.

None suggest what can be done about it. The funny thing is that I would expect that if there were a demand, small universities that maintained high intellectual standards would be thriving. While there are some well-known universities that actually deliver in terms of rigor at the undergraduate level, most do not.

What does that mean? Does it mean that a college education (like opera and ballet) do not work well within the market. I suspect that this is the case. The unfortunate side of this is that those undergraduate–and indeed graduate!–students with the potential for deep thought are often dragged down to the mean. The “digerati” often seem keen on hiding any intellect they might possess, and even within the faculty of many institutions, intellectual pursuits are frowned upon as unproductive. And much of whatever intellectual work that exists is reduced to games and posturing rather than serious thought. (There is implicit meaning here: I am not suggesting that my own university or department is necessarily this way. My accusation is broader than that.)

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 1/24/2003 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    Is Geography still part of intellectualism? Just kidding, just a *gentle poke* from a Rochesterian in India. I found your Blog via GeoURL as being in Antarctica (well, Buffalo may be). You’ve got the concept of latitude & longitude reversed in your meta tag. Don’t forget to re-ping ;^)

  2. alex
    Posted 1/24/2003 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Ha! I was doubly fooled because the other antarctican in my neighborhood thinks he is in Ontario, so we managed to reinforce each other’s spatial delusions.

    The concepts are fine (latitude is all about the ladders; one of the few things I actually remember learning in grade school), but I guess I didn’t think about LAT coming before LON, and reversed ’em. I’m now back in Buffalo, but not feeling much warmer for it… Thanks!

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Imaginary magnitude on 1/27/2003 at 1:03 pm

    Antiintellectualism at universities
    Re the discussion of antiintellectualism, mass education &c. going on, for example over at Halavais and at plastic, I found

  2. By Imaginary magnitude on 1/27/2003 at 1:04 pm

    Antiintellectualism at universities
    Re the discussion of antiintellectualism, mass education &c. going on, for example over at Halavais and at plastic, I found

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