Tuesday, November 2, 2010

explaining the profession

One view of how it looks from the inside, at least among the tracked and tenured...

"College professors take a lot of heat from the general public, and we deserve much of what we get; and humanities professors get the worst of it. And arguably, English professors the worst of that: we represent, apparently, the absolute nadir of contemporary culture.

I said that to some degree we deserve it; what I did not say, you’ll notice, is that it’s true. Untrue, but we deserve it? Well, yes: I think that college professors as a group, and English professors as a high-visibility (and high-risibility) subset, have done a terrible job of explaining just what it is that we do, and actively countering the most pernicious caricatures of our work that circulate in the larger culture."

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