Educational Hubris

Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991, a prize¬†designed to encourage writing by authors throughout the world and in all languages that creates positive solutions to global problems. The point of Quinn’s narrative about a conversation between a person and a gorilla is to raise the question of why humans assume that we are the evolutionary endpoint; in other words, to ask why we think evolution stops with us? Maybe, just maybe, there is more to come a bit farther along the evolutionary pathway.

Richard Utz, a¬†professor and chair in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, has a provocative piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “Against Adminspeak.” Utz takes on the currency of terms like “agility” and “nimbleness” as being an invasion of corporate jargon into the scared academic space. Utz’s sense that academic is above (or beyond) such concepts reminds me of the hubris Quinn finds in the human assumption that we are it. Maybe, just maybe, there are other ways to do education, if only we look.


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