Monday, January 30, 2006

    State of the English

    State of the English Department

    It should be said that my degree is in English.  I like to specify that I am more inclined toward American Literature, but the degree itself just says English.  I find myself needed to embellish…to peddle and sell it.  The degree itself has no cache, no obvious use of function.

    I refer you to a blog article by Jonathan Kramnick called Varieties of Academic Reception.  He argues that since Said, everything has been said.  OK, bad pun.  His main argument, though, outlines that over-arching discipline movements are probably a thing of the past, given the democratic and fragmented nature of the modern university's liberal arts department.  

    To his argument, I will add: the marginalization of English studies (read: literature and written arts) as a valid concern for universities (much less the world at large) will only grow until they find a way to become relevant once more.  Nobody cares (and I say this with significant sadness) about literature because there is not application…there is no payoff.  It doesn't even allow for the level of escape movies, the net and other media offer.  Until English answers the "why should I bother" of the modern student, they will continue to be tweebs in tweed, ripe for mocking in whatever campus comedy that plays at the local mega-plex.

    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen

    2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Is there a direct 'payoff' in other disciplines ... math, for instance? What
    department did you study in? It sounds to me as though it had really bad teaching.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    p.s. by what department, i mean which school -- sounds like one to be avoided -- i know some professors like the one(s) you describe but where i am -- not a fancy school by any means -- students *like* English ... i know because of advising, they're always excited about it... so what happened to poor you with it?

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006  

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