Universities and graveyards

UConn Panorama and Graveyard

it’s summer in this picture. i was on top of a hill when i took this. i was 18. just before i left for college. the year 2000.

the rows of graves run down the hill to the high brick buildings. the silver dome of the basketball stadium rises like a silly saucer. the trees were the dark green of summer. it was probably hot out.

it’s a little eerie that the view of the university leads down out of a hill of graves. this is the university of connecticut; they have the same thing at cornell university too. a campus graveyard. just a place for the bodies to go when they’re done working, i guess. a convenience, just like the campus coffeeshop. why leave campus when all the amenities are close at hand?

or maybe it’s an allegory of academic death. down in the valley is the campus; up on the hill are the dead, watching over it all. it fits perfectly with that trope of the “dead wood” among the professoriate, a stock image of the old, decrepit and unproductive faculty weighing down on the young and lively.

it was quiet up in that graveyard; no one much liked going there. some people say universities are logocentric, are all talk, but how do they explain the symbolic significance of academic space dedicated to silence, to emptiness, to unproductivity?

down there in the valley of campus buildings i took another picture. it was a sardonic piece of graffiti.