Monday, August 24, 2015

Maybe Academics Need To Get Out More Often

I've been pondering the idea that there is such a thing as "peak knowledge." That is, for some topics, there comes a point where there's nothing left to know or discuss and academic papers subsequent to that point are repetitive or silly. In support of this concept is Jeet Heer, a senior editor at the New Republic who had this amazing tweet.
Where do you go from this point? I've got this image in my mind of a group of diversity academics on an ice floe, floating out to sea, arguing finer and finer points of racial theory, creating their "formidable body of knowledge" and losing all touch with normal people back on land until they reach this point - where redheads with alabaster skin aren't "white" any more.

Maybe there's a simpler solution to help these strange people re-integrate into the larger culture and get away from their bizarre, university coffee shop theology.

Academics need to pledge to play outside for 60 minutes a day in order to prevent the madness you read above.


Trigger Warning said...

I think he may be confused by the term "black Irish".


Progs are easily confused.

IlĂ­on said...

It's also a matter of incentives -- to earn (or "earn") your PhD, you have to "contribute new knowledge". The early entryists in the field (or "field") can discover (or "discover") the Big Stuff. The next academic generation can fill in the details. The third and subsequent generations have to settle for finding increasingly subtle flaws in the knowledge (or "knowledge") previously generated.

And, when the "field" is bullshit anyway, it quickly turns into just the situation in the OP.

K T Cat said...

Trigger - har har har!

Ilion - bingo.

Anonymous said...

Ilion -- brilliant!!!!