Ideology Masks Austerity

Forget about the woke claptrap. The really scary stuff is where it mentions “world literatures.” The plan is to do away with departments like mine and teach a tiny selection of books in other languages in translation.

If you aren’t in academia, you don’t have the experience of reading these job ads. I do, and this one screams “huge budget cuts.”

Ideology masks austerity.

12 thoughts on “Ideology Masks Austerity”

    1. // the literature vs. not literature war in English departments has been lost

      Do you mean there won’t be degrees in English literature anymore, and instead students will study courses containing a mix of history, sociology and other disciplines?

      If so, I see a huge problem. Doing PhD research – or probably even MA – should lead one to become an expert in a particular field.

      Studying everything together may mean not understanding any field even on BA level, a classical “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Schools should provide the latter, while universities are the place to learn something deeply, no?

      Imagine what kind of research the graduates of new programs will be able to do. It could be only the wokest, shallowest kind since they won’t have the basis, the knowledge, to do anything else.


      1. It’s already the case, though. All joy has gone out of mentoring PhD students (from other schools, obviously. We don’t have a PhD program). All they do by way of research is reproduce the word soup you can see in the quoted job ad. Pages and pages of this shit.


        1. // All they do by way of research is reproduce the word soup you can see in the quoted job ad.

          I suppose you talk about Spanish literature here. Is the problem what many students want to write about and how, or that they haven’t been taught literature sufficiently to enable them write anything else?

          Re English departments, is literature still taught in depth there? Most new courses may use only relatively recent authors, what about the older stuff?


          1. It’s much more present in English literature, actually. In Spanish, we have many Hispanic people who aren’t into this crap. In English, everybody is an Anglo so it’s much worse.

            As for teaching literature, the English department at my school teaches a course on video games. So yeah.


            1. “the English department at my school teaches a course on video games”

              Donkey Kong as Hamlet, Mario as Julius Caesar


      2. Basically yes (in my view) although that’s an old fashioned view now. It seems that since media is the new literature, media studies is the new literary studies. I am not on board with this idea, but it is very common. Yet English faculty themselves seem very well read. I was myself interested in languages and culture / cultural studies as an undergraduate, only got into literature because you were supposed to (I wanted to develop several foreign languages and it was only the literature major that would let me do that, more intuitively obvious fields like linguistics wouldn’t let you actually get really good at the languages in question). I understand students who want to do foreign languages but not foreign literature, and I understand people in English who might better fit into Rhetoric or Communication or something (my university had English, Comparative Literature, Dramatic Art, all kinds of different ethnic studies and area studies interdisciplinary programs NOT based in English, also Rhetoric, all of these as separate departments, but in many places English is supposed to encompass all of that). I don’t get the hatred of literature, supposedly the literature people take up all these resources others desperately need and people should be into tech writing, and so on, and so forth, I just don’t know, don’t know what I’d think if I were on the inside, but it looks like a Balkanized war zone, perhaps


        1. “I don’t get the hatred of literature…” Do you think it’s because far too many students these days don’t like to read, or professors assume that they don’t like to, and that’s why “media studies is the new literary studies”?


          1. Yes, or they can’t read (this is more common that one believes), or they are simply a lot more sophisticated and confident commenting on media, because they’ve been practicing all their lives


      3. I recall over 15 years ago reading something by a recent English PhD who complained that graduate school in English had become a destination for people who wanted to do history or sociology or philosophy, but didn’t want to be bothered with acquiring the specialized knowledge and research techniques of those disciplines.

        So the current situation has been in the works for some time.

        Liked by 2 people

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