On April 29, 2014, The Fletcher School hosted a daylong series of panel discussion on The Ideas Industry: Is the Academy Needed or Wanted? at the Tufts University campus in Medford, Massachusetts.
The event brought together multidisciplinary perspectives, including renowned academics, journalists and public intellectuals, to explore the changing state of the academy in the marketplace of ideas. The spread of the ideas industry could be interpreted as an indictment of academia’s irrelevance to influence the public sphere. At the same time, many academics have exploited the tools of this emergent industry to promote their own ideational wares.
Has the marketplace of ideas changed? Has the academy become too removed from this marketplace to have an impact? Are there outreach efforts that can bridge the gap between the academy and the public sphere?