Confronting the Dark Side of Higher Education

Publikation: Forskning - peer reviewTidsskriftartikel

In this paper we philosophically explore the notion of darkness within higher education teaching and learning. Within the present-day discourse of how to make visible and to explicate teaching and learning strategies through alignment
procedures and evidence-based intellectual leadership, we argue that dark spots and blind angles grow too. As we struggle to make visible and to evaluate, assess, manage and organise higher education, the darkness of the institution
actually expands. We use the term ‘dark’ to comprehend challenges, situations, reactions, aims and goals, which cannot easily be understood and solved by agendas of quality assurance and professionalisation of higher education. We
need to understand better why gender issues or ethnic conflicts emerge, and why students take up arms, within an institution which is thought to be inclusive, inviting and open to all kinds of people and cultures. And we need to study the educational potential of days of boredom or isolation, caught up in daily routines of teaching or studying which do not lead anywhere or give way to any productive work. These matters have not been sufficiently researched and conceptualised as meaningful in themselves. We aim here to open a space for insights through the concept of darkness presented in this paper. In order to make educational darkness palpable we draw on the philosophies of darkness found in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Emmanuel Levinas. Through those philosophies we argue that the growing darkness within higher education is not a symptom we should fear and avoid. Having the ability and courage to face these darker
educational aspects of everyday higher education practice will enable students and teachers to find renewed hope in the university as an institution for personal as well as professional imagination and growth.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Philosophy of Education
Vol/bind51
Tidsskriftsnummer1
Sider (fra-til)114-131
Antal sider18
ISSN0309-8249
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2017

    Forskningsområder

  • Educational philosophy, Philosophy of Higher Education, Higher Education, Philosophy, Darkness, Emmanuel Levinas, Friedrich Nietzsche

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