1. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Black Market Education

    Discussion in 'Research' started by stormcat, Jan 8, 2016.

    So I'm writing a story wherein there is a black market. But it's not drugs or weapons or even people who are bought and sold here. No, the item sold is far more precious.

    Education.

    You see, this world is a theocratic regime where most citizens can barely read and write. Only the upper crust can afford to attend the one school, and while there all they learn is various flavors of "God did it, stop asking questions". Yet as we learned from Serenity, You can't stop the signal. There are teachers out there, former professors who refused to stop teaching evolution and other controversial topics, the historians who know that the church's history contains more blood than any war, and even philosophers who dare ask "but what if you are wrong?"

    The world of my story is full of the knowledge-hungry and inquisitive, but the church has decreed that such education is frivolous, especially for the common man. They take only that which they like and reject entire fields of science and mathematics because they don't mesh with their bizarre theology. Book burnings are common, and former libraries and schools have now been turned into brothels and workhouses. The theocratic elite tried to kill off the educated, so students must study in secret. The former university professors are wanted men and women, but their love of teaching is so powerful, they risk life and death everyday to spread the knowledge.

    So, I need help planning out this "University underground". It combines elements of the aforementioned black market, a secret society, and a university. How does this organization recruit eager new students without alerting the church? How does it protect itself? This is gonna be big, so I'll add new questions as they arise.
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I suggest you do your research on the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education. The situation in Iran is much like you describe for Baha'is who are forbidden by the government from going to college. In fact there are 20 or so Baha'is in prison for daring to teach.

    Obviously certain particulars can't be disclosed without putting the entire organization at risk, but this is a nice rundown
    http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/irans-secret-university-for-bahai-global-and-underground-43600
     
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  3. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    Fascinating. But there's a slight catch.

    My story takes place over 100 years before the internet was developed. It would be easy enough to have all the students and faculty go on computers like that, but no, they must meet somewhere in person. Secretly of course.
     
  4. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The BHIE has existed since before the internet as well. In the early days they all met in person.
     

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