Shakespeare Scholars Need Not Apply

Everybody is pissing on U of Chicago for this but it’s actually not a bad idea at all. The job market in English is atrocious. They have no hope in hell of placing their PhD graduates in jobs. Unless the graduates have this new and suddenly extremely prestigious qualification, that is.

The important thing for a graduate program is to place people in jobs. What they do after that will be their own choice. Nobody can force you to do research in any area you don’t want.

5 thoughts on “Shakespeare Scholars Need Not Apply”

  1. It’s not even about the field. Once a student gets in they can surely shift their research interests.

    It’s about getting an incoming class with certain characteristics. We all know this. We all know that while, in principle, anyone can study any kind of literature, certain fields do attract more people of certain types. And while anyone could thus write a personal statement proclaiming interest in the appropriate field, if the essay demonstrates, shall we say, a “first person” interest in that type of literature, that person will have a better chance of getting in.

    We all know this.


    1. This is true but it’s also true that the job market is so bad that you shouldn’t even go into the field unless you are a genius or … have a first-person-interest identity, as you brilliantly put it.


  2. “Nobody can force you to do research in any area you don’t want.”
    Well, yes, but they certainly can – and do – prevent you from doing research in areas you might be interested in.

    This is pure and simply badly disguised anti-European discrimination. What’s worse, it’s at U of Chicago, which currently stands at number one on the acsdemic freedom index of US institutions of higher learning. The rot has already set in.


  3. Response to: “Shakespeare Scholars Need Not Apply”

    I have a colleague in the English department at my university who was hired as a specialist in the Victorian Novel. He was hired in 1967, a year before I was, and he retired about the same time I did. Almost all his numerous publications have been books about baseball.


    1. Exactly. I was hired as a specialist in modern peninsular literature but I’m increasingly publishing about Latin America because that’s the direction where my interests developed. It’s a piece of great luck for my department now that we lost our Latin Americanist. What would be happening if it weren’t for me, I honestly don’t know. Somebody needs to teach these courses. The only Latin Americanist we have left is… complicated.


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