Saturday, July 28, 2012

Decline and fall ...

... New Statesman - Critical faculty. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The longer-term effect of making the PhD mandatory has been manifold and, arguably, malign. It encouraged, most malignantly, the current malaise of English studies: field specialism. If you spent five years researching a subject, until you knew more about it than anyone living, that is what you wanted to teach once you landed the first job. A subject that had hitherto fostered the undoctored jack of all trades gradually fragmented into a mosaic of doctored specialists.


  1. Yup, and the very worst kind of PhDs, and other degrees, are those in 'creative writing'.

  2. The article is not about basic scientific areas, of course, but the intangible "English". Similar for another article Dave sent me recently, about referring to the literature - did not cover basic science. (The scientific profession knows how to refer to previous articles - does not go into quote minining/cherry picking, which the humanities & social sciences are so fond of).