Hidden Intelectualism And Its Application In Academic World

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

The academic world has long required students to conform themselves to the presented frameworks and interests of their instructors. This, in itself, is not a negative skill to acquire, but it often leaves students unfulfilled in their academic pursuits due to a lack of personal interest. Providing students with the opportunity to bring forth topics they find most interesting and look at them through an academic and critical lens certainly bridges the gap between memorization and actual understanding of what they are being taught. Take into consideration the current American obsession with True Crime. Not only are these stories incredibly entertaining, but they also allow us to engage in research and discourse, as well as learn how to be more critical and discerning of presented information, amongst other benefits. An often-overlooked factor of academic studies is how it exposes us to many different schools of thought. We learn about different peoples and their stories, but many times a connection to the fact that these were real people does not form. History has a way of sterilizing the link between “us” and “them”. In our present lives, oftentimes find ourselves surrounded by family and friends who are similar to us in background and experience. Although the subject matter may be difficult, True Crime movies, documentaries, and podcasts give us the ability to bridge a gap between ourselves and those who are “different” from us. True Crime acts as a sort of bridge while also giving us the ability to explore a difficult and dangerous situation from a safe distance. Thus, it assists us in expanding our empathy while providing enough of a buffer

Jimenez 2that we can deep dive without hesitation. This allows us to engage in research and think analytically by investigating a case through the eyes of the victim(s), family, detectives, and perpetrator(s) involved. In Gerald Graff’s Hidden Intellectualism, he brings forth the idea that being able to enter into debate on a topic that truly interests you allows you to “become part of a community that [is] not limited to your family and friends, but [is] national and public” (Graff, pg. 438). This rings especially true for those interested in True Crime, as many cases are actively discussed in forums where members present and discuss theories and evidence. In these spaces, you must be able to partake in in-depth research and think critically to be able to discern the significance of various key pieces and properly argue your theories on a case. This has personally provided me extra practice that has been especially useful when I have needed to write discussion papers for my Anthropology courses. Oftentimes, you must find meaningful connections between the topic you are discussing and the conclusions you have reached with only the opinion of a scholar and physical evidence to guide you. At this point, due to lack of witness testimony, it is up to you to put the pieces together a well-researched.  Another skill that is highly developed when writing about these cases, is the ability to write in a clear and chronological manner. This requires the ability to analyze a situation, work on a pattern recognition, and learn to separate fact from opinion. 

Often there is nearly nonstop speculation surrounding an event due to inconsistencies with testimonies and physical evidence. In order to properly write about a case, you need to first research the back story, then analyze the available evidence separate from what the eyewitness claimed happened. In doing so, we are able to create reasonable conclusions based on an analysis of information (the basis of academic thinking). This lines up perfectly with Graff’s suggestion that inviting students to write about their personal interests can be highly useful if required to be done in a reflective and analytical way (Graff, pg. 440). As such, True Crime is not just a grisly topic that many Americans have taken a keen interest in, but an unfortunate puzzle that allows us to think critically and outside the box, communicate clearly using well researched theories within a large community, and grow our empathy for people we have never met in towns we may never visit. Although it may not be “traditionally academic” it mirrors many of the thought processing and research techniques we learn during our time in school

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