Me and Academia

And this (long) April Fools is Over…

Hey folks,

So, as you might have noticed I have changed the name of my blog from The Academicist to Towers Other Than Ivory. [UPDATE: And have since changed blogs, twice.]

And there are a few reasons for the change.

One being that, apparently, there is a word similar to this one in Spanish that implies a sense of being a head-in-the-clouds academic. Which, I don’t and have never really seen myself as. I mean sure, I’ve been an academic like the best of ‘em, but I try to tie myself to some reality (even if my topic seems esoteric and my patent optimism is often mistaken for near-surrealism).
Ironically, for me, the title Academicist was always one I’ve taken pretty tongue-in-cheekily as a shot against the jargon-heavy academic life (one I’ve been aware of since high school) and as a mea culpa to my nerdy nature. Primarily then, either way, a joke.
But, more and more often of late, I find myself in dissonance with academia. I love most of what I do, you know, as a historian or analyst of theory or policy–but I have grown to reject the academic life and governance. I mean, I know more about this stuff than most, but it’s like if you watch sausages being made–after awhile you just lose your zeal for it. Just yesterday I described this process as getting a Masters’ in Meta (which is what it is, really).
So too am I tired of chittering over departmental gossip, or wrangling over academic committees, or dealing with the incessant student politic, or just being around the gears of governance that I am personally invested in. Like, if paid I know I can do a good job in and around such spaces, but I have lessening passion for being within post-secondary education, as it stands (if not involved in–if that makes sense).
OISE has been part of that. I’ve grown tired of how much it falls short of what I’d hoped it would be for me–instead, buried in all the things I’ve noted above and more. So has the CFS, the UTGSU, everything related to the University of Toronto. I’m just tired.
Yet, all this scares me too. I’ve made my life in academia for eight years. It was at one time the plan. But, it hasn’t been of late (over a year) and I’m always working to build alternative ways of being and living.
This doesn’t mean, mind you, that I don’t have new plans (or even older plans set aside for if I didn’t want to go forward in the academic way). But, for me, I feel a break between stages of my life ahead.
How I move forward in that means a lot to me. I have more to say on that in my next post (though, I hesitate to say I’m going to write something, as every time I do… well, I don’t) in terms of where I want to move forward but part of that is separating academia from my core identity.
So, here we start. I’m going to start knocking down other towers and–if slowly–put my own investments in the ivory one aside. It’s going to be an interesting journey.
All the best,

– Brad.

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