Monday, March 15, 2010

"Salaries soar for heads of British universities More than 80 university heads, generally known as vice-chancellors, now earn more than the prime minister"

From the past: comments removed
A history of the modern academy would show that the fixation on money began in the 70’s first with the astronomical rise in salaries of administrators and the concomitant shrinking of the salaries of faculty. It became a scandal decades ago. [link*] Then the faculty caught on. The contemporary culture of academia, of professional intellectuals, is one of a neoliberal individualism (as others have said: traceable to the 60's). That some are paid $150,000 or more to preach against neoliberalism is irrelevant.
A response to Anthony Grafton [published then removed by the administrator]
Grafton refers twice in the first paragraphs to "humanists", opposing them to "bureaucrats, and 'managers'" as if the latter were not members of the professorate, but over the past 40 years the bureaucratic ethos has come to dominate the academy in the classroom as well. The academic study of bureaucracy in economics and political science has become in the age of Sputnik and mass man, the celebration of it - outside the academy there's a more appropriately ironic take. The humanities now are thought of wishfully as demi-sciences, and literature and history as forms of interpersonal communication have become instead the study of stories as inanimate objects.

The arts and humanities are thriving in the outside world as they're dying in the academy because the academy has ceased to defend them on their own terms. Humanism is said by philosophy professors to have its beginnings in Descartes and the Age of Reason, and that's simply not true, as any scholar should know. It's Descartes who said "History is like foreign travel. It broadens the mind, but it does not deepen it." That's not the beginning of humanism, that's the end of it.

The humanities out of delusion or desperation have tried to piggyback on the sciences and failed. Universities have become technical schools and a lot of what is taught is the "techincal" mastery of hot air, packaged like collateralized debt. Economics is not science. "Technical" philosophy like "technical" Marxism are creatures of a bureaucratic age, "Naturalized" epistemology is founded on analogy. The humanist academy has become a bubble economy and the true technical academies shrug.

No, scholars do not "innovate" they observe the history and effects of technical innovation and remind us, even when almost no one wants to listen, that not much has changed.
That last line sounds too much like an argument from passivity. I live my life in the unending hope that someday everyone will grow the fuck up.

*During his tenure Liacouras became the highest paid university administrator in the US.

No comments: