1. Higher Education and Alien Ecologies: Exploring the Dark Ontology of the University
Journal: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION Volume 1 Issue 1 pp. 17 - 40
The meaning of Anthropocene rests on the idea that there is a specific rationale behind the university and higher education, which is in itself progressive, educational, and redeeming. Institutions for, and students and teachers within, higher education, are more or less directly linked to the structures and rational of their political surroundings and social and cultural environments. However, just as there is depth to ecologies in the natural environment, and just as there is strangeness and even alien forms hidden within those environments, so it is with universities and higher education. They harbor hidden aspects, and these presences call from the dark, with their deeper and more unknown voices, even alien ones that seem to reach into universities not only from a future but also from a present that we cannot easily see or even understand. In this essay, we shed light on these more alien strands of higher education reality; what we term an “ontological excess” of universities. This darker ontology helps us argue that the foundations of the university go much deeper, and is societally more tangled, than the immediate pillars of the Anthropocene.