Collegial Purgatories in an Accelerating Academia?

— by Hampus Östh Gustafsson

The quickening in academic tempo has been considered by scholars coming from various fields, including Anthropology and Philosophy as well as Psychology and Sociology. One perspective that is often missing in this context, however, is the historical. So, what happens if we inquire into conflicting academic times throughout a longer period? Speaking from the vantage point of the historian, I see good reasons to doubt whether all this talk of a rushed academic existence really is characteristic of late modern societies only. Has there ever been a slow academia, or is that only a projection of nostalgic narratives leaning perilously close to clichés of the so-called ivory tower? Were older universities – although small scale and elitist – really of a completely different kind?