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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Please Share Alternative Explanations

In my field of Hispanic Studies, tenure-lines in literature and culture are being eliminated while new lines in linguistics are opened at such a pace that there is nobody to fill them. While literature is dying, linguistics is experiencing a huge boom.

If anybody has an explanation for this phenomenon that differs from the one I gave in the previous post, please do me a favor and share it. Because I fail to come up with anything else. 

And yes, of course, I’m angry that my field – which will tell you about the destruction of the nation-state and the triumph of liquid capital, among many other things – is being destroyed in favor of the field that will tell you all about how “semantic predication is encoded in the syntax as some sort of coindexing between subjects and predicates.”

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20 thoughts on “Please Share Alternative Explanations

  1. Beware of my-field-is-superior-than-yours superiority complex, which is very common in mathematics, in particular.

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    • And by the way, science-is-superior-than-literature superiority complex is an alternative explanation for what is occurring in Spanish literature these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, this is a good explanation.

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        • Students come to us believing that “Africa is a country in Latin America”. We don’t have enough people to teach them that it’s not. Or enough courses. But we’ve got to invent linguistics courses to justify positions in linguistics. How this kind of knowledge can be of use to our students who can’t find South America on a map is a mystery.

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      • That’s what I thought, although I agree with the supposed safety of linguistics. Also, it seems scientific and objective, and you can do empirical research, as in, research on human subjects, and funded research. All of these things make it more technocratic, therefore good.

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      • Twice you have written “superior than”. This does not make any sense. Do you mean “superior to”??

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    • I have no problem with the word superior. I also never made a secret of believing that some disciplines are pseudo-scholarship. Educational leadership, for instance. That’s not a real discipline. It’s fluff.

      Or we had a university president with a degree in community building. She was as useless as her degree.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In my field, though, there are completely insane subfields, too. For example, it has become fashionable to open positions in disability studies. IN LITERARY CRITICISM. What this means nobody knows, but it’s cool to have such positions, so every idiot opens them. Or the insane “Chicano studies.”

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        • JProf on said:

          I don’t know how “fashionable” disability studies is. It certainly isn’t popular in Hispanic Studies; you could count on one hand the number of Hispanists who specialize in disability studies. So I don’t think that foreign language departments are going to be opening tenure-track positions in disability studies instead of broader specializations.

          My understanding is that in the area of American and British literature, it’s a much more vibrant subfield. And some of the work done by American/Brit lit scholars on disability is very interesting, in my opinion.

          I have absolutely zero interest in Chicano Studies, but I don’t think that this subfield is “insane” or invalid.

          Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right about educational leadership.

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        • My brother created a degree in Educational Leadership several years ago when he realized how poorly qualified many public school principals were for their jobs. I think educational leadership is like pedagogy…there is a body of knowledge which needs to be shared with young people, but doing research in it is rather pointless, much like research into the best way to put an earthworm on a fish hook.

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  2. Because pitting literature against linguistics distracts us with infighting so we stand by while everything to do with language is culled from the system of higher education/used to form the new global elite.

    For what it’s worth, both the dissolution of the nation state and the rise of liquid capital are extremely relevant to my research as a linguist. This is one reason I read your blog. While there is nothing I can do to make you take my field seriously, I do think if you actually read research in it you would find it interesting.

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    • As I already said, I not only read but actually published my own research in linguistics for many years.

      Then I read The Glass Bead Game and realized that this wasn’t for me.

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      • What field of linguistics and what was the last piece of academic research you read and when? It’s a huge field, and continues to develop. You can’t reduce it just to certain theories of semantics or whatever topic you researched years ago.

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        • The last I read was last week because we are interviewing candidates. It was on phonetics. And it was quite good, too.

          I’m thinking of making my students read it as a form of especially cruel and unusual punishment. 😋

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          • Phonetics is also one subfield of Linguistics, not the whole discipline. If you don’t enjoy reading that subfield of research (I don’t either), it doesn’t mean there aren’t other subfields you would find interesting (if you read them).

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  3. Pingback: Humanities destruction – Technology as Nature

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