In the stillness and solitude of the dungeon

At a well known seat of learning in Sydney, there is a group of post-graduate students working audaciously and like Horace seeking truth “in the groves of Academe.” They study in the bowels of the earth in a place called the dungeon beneath the archives. 

Each student works at a desk with a computer and silently pursues the PhD that is beckoning and yet is tantalizingly elusive. 

Most disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are well represented by our scholars: anthropology, sociology, linguistics. literature, political science, geography and history. 

It would be a mistake to view these PhD aspirants as a homogeneous group being more amorphous and indistinct than united, segmented, yes. The students have arranged themselves into four cliques: those from the United Kingdom, Australians, Chinese and lastly, people from South East Asia, India and Eastern Europe. 

There is not much contact and communication between these cliques except in the case of the British and the Australians. Perhaps an explanation of this is there is still some affinity left between the mother country and the former colonies. 

The British and the Chinese have practically nothing to do with each other. A political scientist might interpret this in historical and geopolitical terms as between the has-been and will- be. 

The members from the assorted countries have to make out with each other. They jokingly refer to themselves as the barbarians

All these post-graduate students are well grounded in complexity theory, feminist, gender, class and race stratification, alienation and the whole box and dice that academia offers to analyze human behaviour, but one may be forgiven for wondering if some of them are sufficiently aware of how to communicate with the diversity of humanity whom they will encounter in today’s world.

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