NeoAcademia is a biweekly exploration of the shifting walls of the ivory tower.
When I thought about starting this podcast, I hoped to get all kinds of perspectives, but John covered one I hadn’t thought about: the retired professor turned podcaster. We had a very playful conversation about what we both do now: have playful conversations.
I had been thinking about this idea of academic populism for a while, but I wasn’t sure if it made sense - as a term and in general. John didn’t tell me I was an idiot, so there might be potential for this idea. In my mind the concept is simple, The People want in on the decisions about knowledge. Or at least they think they do. Just like with politics, people think they want responsibility, but I suspect they mostly want power. After thinking about this more, I wonder if the word ‘academic’ is redundant because populism applies to politics, politics is about the allocation of resources, and education and knowledge are resources. Either way, I haven’t heard much said about the dangers of democratizing knowledge, but it does seem like some people are afraid of this. And a lot of people are scared of populism…so this idea is definitely gaining merit in my mind.
There’s a book somewhere in all this exploration. I feel it brewing… More on Friday in the bonus content.
1:59 Teaching vs Podcasting, Great Resignation, Covid and Teaching Online
7:04 The performative environment of the NeoAcademic world
10:38 The essence of all communication is lies
13:30 Academic populism and the limits of what can be done outside of the university
16:17 The hierarchy of knowledge: philosophy vs. science
22:51 Dangers of the democratization of knowledge: evolution as an example
24:19 String theory are post-modernists
28:03 The purpose of higher education Universities sell us on “how to live”
33:01 The persuasion of democratic or authoritarian populism
35:31 Is the education system a Leviathan or are humans their own Leviathan?
41:07 Why aren’t college kids throwing stones at policemen anymore?
44:02 The adolescent rebellion of today leaves us open to Gorgias’ persuasion
47:24 The instrumentalism of institutionalized education and the vanity of teaching
48:38 Power is found in the expectation that something is “common sense”
John on Teacher’s Talk Radio
For more resources from this episode, check out the collection John and I created for you. Use the password “neoacademia” for access
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What could be an unintended consequence of democratizing knowledge? Comment or enter your answers on Big Nerve!