Let me count the ways

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From a medieval lit professor, in the comments to this post featured today at IHE:

By the way, if the job market is the big fear, go into Composition -- it is one of the least bookish of the fields, but it offers jobs galore.




someday I'm going to write an article on the visceral feeling of anger/violence/dejection that comes when reading blog entries. seems to be happening to me this morning.

Since we're less bookish, I guess that means we don't read and so can't be offended by such statements.

What truly amazes me, though, is when one's own colleagues say such things to one's face. Maybe you don't have to deal with this so much, Collin, being outside of an English Dept.?

Hey, well, medievalists lead such difficult, wankish lives--I suppose we'll just have to allow them their little jokes.

Go look at the guy who made the comment. There is hardly a reason to care what HE thinks.

I think all sorts of snarky thoughts about other disciplines/periods/subjects. I just have enough sense to (mostly) keep it to myself...or at least not to write it in public.

Yeah, it's hard for my mind not to run through the cycle of potential replies, even as I acknowledge that one guy at Troy is not exactly worth the fight.

But to answer you, Donna, it's definitely not as in my face as it must be for others. That's definitely a plus, and to my mind one of the real args for separate depts and even colleges. It's not so much that I worry that we suffer in comparison to the mighty bookishness of the medievalists, but that we continue to be treated like interlopers and judged by standards that aren't of our own devising by people who haven't the second idea what it is that we do or how dependent (in many cases) their own positions are upon what we do.

But I rant. Heh. cgb

Yes, much nashing of teeth!

The first year of my grad program one of the non-writing studies professors announced to his grad class (which had writing studies students enrolled in it) that the writing studies students were from a "slower, dumber applicant pool."

Nash, nash, nash...

Let's see, I'm writing a disseration, I'm fluent in German, read Greek and Latin and Medieval Latin (since I work with classical and medieval rhet), and I'll probably get a job when I'm done...

But, I'm the dumber and less-bookish one, huh? I just keep telling myself they're jealous, they're all jealous!

I'm gonna break ranks a bit here, folks. I don't think it's necessarily the case that comp-rhet is less "bookish," but rather that our field is populated by more than its fair share of less-than-bright and/or downright lazy people when it comes to scholarship/research. I found grad students - and now colleagues - in other fields tended to be more widely and deeply read and much more invested in "being scholars."

Anecdotal evidence, of course. However, I know there are others out there who feel the same way - we've talked about it.


Aww, Cranky, you know that you're not breaking ranks all that much. Like you say, we all know people who fit that particular bill.

But there are lots of layers to that off-hand comment, one of which is an entire discipline being painted with the one brush, and by someone who has even less anecdotal evidence than we.

Another big one for me is that, really, is a r/c degree any easier? Most PhD's are still in English departments, where the courses have the same expectations for rigor, where the exam lists are just as long, where the dissertations are just as long, etc. And in a response to a post wondering if grad school is the right choice, the implication that doing a r/c degree is somehow breezier just strikes me as misleading. Not to mention snotty.


Where are these "jobs galore," and are they staffed by fulltime faculty or adjuncts? 'Cause we do have jobs galore in our field, and they pay about fifty-nine cents an hour, without benefits.

I have to agree with DocMara on this one. Speaking as someone who is a medievalist as much as he is a compositionist, I wouldn't put much stock in what he says. But I'll also note that composition isn't the only field that gets subjected to such clueless comments. I've heard non-medieval academics say things like studying medieval culture is worthless, and a Chaucerian friend of mine was once asked if she ever got depressed because she didn't work with texts in English. I could go on but I won't. As I said, Nokes isn't worth paying attention to.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on August 9, 2006 4:52 AM.

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