The University as Sanctuary: Home and Unhomeliness


Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


Recent work at the confluence of Philosophy and Higher Education Studies has conceptualized the
university as a place for belonging. The university, on this understanding, offers respite and refuge
and familiarity; it is a place for insiders and outsiders to come together and to forge meaningful and
lasting bonds. One of the interesting aspects about this body of scholarship is that its antithesis also
exists. There is an equally compelling body of work in the philosophy of education that
conceptualizes the university as singularly alienating, troubling, and disorientating. But are these two
ideas of what it means to experience a higher education at odds with each other? We would argue
to the contrary, rather maintaining that they are ineluctably related through the idea of sanctuary.
We propose the idea of the university as sanctuary to encapsulate and exemplify both what it means
for the university to be a site for safety and familiarity (a ‘sanctuary’ in a very meaningful sense),
and, paradoxically, a place where such senses are importantly challenged. In what follows, we
develop a line of thinking about the university that moves beyond the idea of the institution as a
place of sanctuary (for whichever group(s) need to seek safety and security there), towards a
broader idea of the university as sanctuary. We are interested in the implications of this idea for
scholars’ experiences of belonging as well as their encounters with radical otherness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Nov 2023


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