Academic Dystopia

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This is not an academic writing, this is merely the expression of a student, using easy to chew vocabulary, personal views and freedom of speech. And why would I need to write an academic writing? So that I decorate something that is born from me, served to you by the standards that someone else decided upon?I believe that human beings are capable of creative and collective communication, but in order to achieve that we need to use a common language and ground, and perhaps it is time to strongly experiment with academic materials served in other ways. I would like to start with a story. The story of an architect student. For gender empowerment, I decide that this student has to be a female; and since we are in Turkey, she will be a Turkish female, architecture student (not living on the east). Ayse, did everything by the books. She always wore clean clothes, she helped her family, she studied hard, she was modest, but not too prude. She was not what people call a nerd. She had her social circle, of pretty clean girls like her, and a boy or two from time to time. Of course life is not a straight line, so her life had ups and downs, disease or economical issues and personal fights would bother her shinning horizon from time to time. When she got accepted to Architecture, her life became more delicate, more elegant. She didn’t have a car, middle class family could barely afford her living in a dorm and going to classes with a bike. At university, she learnt to create in clean ways, as clean as her future. She loved talking about this “ Less is More”, thing, and she knew a few names like Le Corbusier and Frank Llyd Wright, and a few clean and shiny buildings. Ayse, didn’t enjoy reading, though she carried a book from the library, in order to show off, she never opened it to read the name Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. She most certainly didn’t enjoy visiting construction sites, though she would always snapchat, instagram and tweet with that cute white helmet. Ayse most definitely didn’t want to sit and rot in Turkey, while she had so much light in her. Thesis was her biggest obstacle, since didn’t read enough (plus all the older students said it was useless to read, just google what you need), and she most certainly didn’t know how to write down her thoughts. At the end, what she wrote was not as unique, as original, as shiny as her projects, but a little bit of google, a little bit of help from a friend who reads, help from the professor who told her three times how to write and serve an academic writing. Everything worked out.

Of course, she didn’t have the economical background that would allow her to fly towards her dreams of creating opera buildings somewhere in Europe. So first she worked at a local office. Eventualy after changing many jobs for many years, she ended up working for the biggest construction company in Turkey. One of her latest projects, was the demolition of a neighborhood, in order to build a shiny 50 floor high rise, that was her creating. Ayse didn’t know, because she had never cared to learn, that in this neighborhood, all homes were constructed with local materials, by the local community, using waste materials from other neighborhoods, providing shelter to more than 100 families. The builders that once built these houses, may have been poor, but at their villages they were masters of creating details carved on wood. Doors, ceilings, stairs, even though a little rotten by the humidity (because they couldn’t afford the varnish) , each had a splendid mark of the Ottoman Empires Arts and Crafts. I feel that if you read this story up to this point, there is no need to analyze this destruction, not legally, not ethically, not artistically , not socially or in any other way. I will add one more short story though. Burak was the guy who signed and gave the final approval of the demolition. He was at the same class with Ayse, and he was actually the type of student that has everything and studies only to take over the family business.


And now after 723 words, you ask me what does this have to do with Utopia. Academic environment, is considered to be the ground that provides the equipments of evolution. It prepares the future. Because of the countless possibilities that might come as a result of an academy’s flourishing, it might determine if following our generation and so on the concept of Utopia will survive or will reality become one final dystopia. But how can you destroy everything with one sentence? It doesn’t make any sense.

Well it does, once you realize that the ideal University Students, not Ayse, but those who question, discuss and in some cases act, are a minority. Dialog in productive, social level is fading away. The technological wonders that come together with many things including, depression, aggression and bloom of narcissism, are affecting people of young age more than anyone, creating a completely unique and possibly “ dangerous” generation. Even worse, in many countries, students are forced to act in the trimmed, shiny student way. University protests are being shut down, professors arrested, academic asylum is being removed. And all Ayse cares about is making something as good as Rem Koolhas, and occasionally Burak.

So I will not use academic vocabulary, and my writings will not have the form that you expect them to have, because times have changed, and now people prefer “digesting” information without having to “chew” it, and we need to find new ways to help Ayse understand that the need of becoming a star, is not the way to become a star, because Ayse needs to trim her soul and brain more in order to find what she is after. Because if this goes on like that, then the students will become masters, and as masters they will contribute to the creation of a dystopia, without even realizing it. P.S. This story is fictional. It is my personal dystopia, and it is how I feel about the academic environment in many countries of the world.