Radicals in Conversation

Dark Academia: How Universities Die

June 9, 2021

Content warning: suicide

Academia was once thought of as the best job in the world - a career that fosters autonomy, craft, intrinsic job satisfaction and vocational zeal. And yet you would be hard-pressed to find a lecturer who believes that now. Indeed, there’s a strong correlation between the marketisation and commercialisation of higher education over the last 30 years and the psychological hell now endured by its staff and students.

In his new book, Dark Academia: How Universities Die, Peter Fleming delves beyond the glossy brochures of smiling students, and lingering misconceptions of intellectual life in the ivory tower, into the hidden underbelly of the neoliberal university. It is a world dogged by mental illness and self-harm, authoritarian managerialism, students as consumers and ever-more competitive individualism which casts a dark sheen of alienation over departments.

We are joined on the panel by Peter Fleming and Simon Lilley, Professor of Information and Organisation at the University of Leicester’s School of Management.

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