Dark Academia is one of those -punk subgenres/aesthetic styles, but without the punk in its name. It deals with, basically, anything you’d see at the site of a old, respectable university in Europe or the U.S. — a library full of weighty tomes and classic literature, old money, gothic architecture, dark wood, leather seats, well-kept secrets. I would call it Hogwarts + Goth, as the aesthetic came into its own during the heyday of the Harry Potter movies, shortly before that cinematic universe drewto ts close. Also like Harry Potter, it leans into the years 1930 – 1959, before the social and intellectual upheavals of the 1960s, which “ruined” it forever.
In fantasy literature, it truly blossomed with Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House urban fantasy thriller, but it’s been hanging around, if unnamed, for decades: Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History (1992) and the movie Dead Poets Society (1989) being two examples. Of late, the monied private school for monstrous offspring that Wednesday Addams attends in Wednesday (Netflix, 2023) is Dark Academia at its finest.
Of course, a Dark Academia setting means dark-sounding names, of which these are but a few.
Dark Academia, Locations on Campus
|Thomas Joast Memorial Drive
Yeever Cultural Center
Sylvanus Chank Memorial Wing
Tundyne Health Sciences Center
Esther Burn Square
|Gracielle Moorcock Student Center
Fornheart African Art Gallery
Purity Verneeve Science Hall
Drylands Avionics Research Center
Myrtle Herrit Faculty Building
Sylvanus Chank Science Building
Ever Granger Art Gallery
Sophia Boscomb Student Union Building
Carthrot Lecture Hall