Students Re-Discovering the University: Presence of Mind and Body

The article starts from the observation of a rediscovery and reoccupation of the university that continues the history of smaller or bigger revolutionary movements establishing a universitas studii. The thesis is, first, that today’s de-identification with screen work and the affirmation of the importance of places to study is about the willingness to realize a public and collective presence of mind. Second, we elaborate on the thesis that students today perhaps are not rediscovering on campus education in order to fulfill their need for social life or social contact, but to answer the call of the university and its promise of a meaningful, contestable, experimental encounter with “something” that makes them study. Students as well as professors seem to prefer to be where something happens and as it happens, despite the streaming or recordings being available. Today’s mediation by the screen transforms the lecture, seminar, or discussion into an image, which makes the student an outsider or spectator. Studying seems to not only involve a presence of mind but a simultaneous presence of body.

Masschelein, J., & Simons, M. (2021). Students Re-Discovering the University: Presence of Mind and Body. Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education, 3(3), 133-146.