Guilt, Beer, and the Academy

I just took a three week vacation. Before you judge my commitment to my professional future, let me clarify a few things:

  1. The trip started out as a conference (albeit in the south of France).
  2. I met with collaborators for a future robot ballet.
  3. It was the first real vacation I took in four years.

Why do I feel the need to defend myself? Maybe it is the rampant workaholism in the United States. Maybe it is my entirely unimpressive tan. BUT NO. TODAY I AM GOING TO BLAME THE MONKS.

This article reviews the origins of Western academic culture (monasteries!) and some key cultural elements that influence modern scholarship and academic culture: individual labor, singular focus, and beer. …


Heather Knight

Computer Science Professor at Oregon State University

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