Cold as Ice to Me

Paul Harvey

Not specifically on religious history, but on the state of graduate school in History or the Humanities more generally, especially for you advanced undergrads. or early grad students who may read this blog:

Anthony Grafton, "Graduate School in a New Ice Age," ponders the meaning of life for graduate students as even the best-endowed of institutions move rapidly from prosperity to austerity, and why it is that graduate school, in comparison to an earlier era, has become "formidably professionalized." You can read it alongside Tim Burke's characteristically excellent post Oh the Humanities, and Patricia Cohen's "Doctoral Candidates Anticipate Hard Times," from Saturday's New York Times.

Long story short: I'm SO glad I finished up graduate school well before California went bankrupt, and in an era when a bit of wandering, and wondering, could still happen before settling on "the professional career."


Randall said…
Paul, Thanks for this post. I never know what to make of gloomy assessments of the humanities.

Stanley Fish's NYT blog review of Frank Donoghue's The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities was particularly depressing:

"One vision, rooted in an 'ethic of productivity' and efficiency, has, [Donoghue] tells us, already won the day; and the proof is that in the very colleges and universities where the life of the mind is routinely celebrated, the material conditions of the workplace are configured by the business model that scorns it.

The best evidence for this is the shrinking number of tenured and tenure-track faculty and the corresponding rise of adjuncts, part-timers more akin to itinerant workers than to embedded professionals....

Humanities professors like to think that this is a temporary imbalance and talk about ways of redressing it, but Donoghue insists that this development, planned by no one but now well under way, cannot be reversed. Universities under increasing financial pressure, he explains, do not 'hire the most experienced teachers, but rather the cheapest teachers.' Tenured and tenure-track teachers now make up only 35 percent of the pedagogical workforce and 'this number is steadily falling.'"


Popular Posts