Outside the academy, I’m sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day. That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know. My colleagues and peers have, however, experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population. They report higher levels of workaholism, the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones. The picture is often even bleaker for women, people of colour, and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are ‘delicate woeful souls’ or not, it’s difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.
In some ways, it’s easier than ever before to be an expert in something - YouTube can teach you almost anything you want to know. At the same time though, it’s not the best time in history to purport to be an expert, either. And in a ‘post-fact era’, where politicians can make statements like … Continue reading Are You an Intellectual, or a Member of the Intelligentsia?