Karl Steel's Reviews > Profession 2007

Profession 2007 by Feal, Rosemary
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's review
Dec 26, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: nonmedieval_nonfiction
Recommended for: academics and anti-academics
Read in December, 2007

Anti-academics because they should see what concerns us.

John M. Ulrich's piece was most surprising. The 'tyranny of the monograph' (see Lindsay Waters' writings over the last 7 years) looks very different at 4/4 institutions, where there is, in fact, no such tyranny. Waters, Greenblatt, and others who have bemoaned the increased emphasis on the monograph, and the consequent production of books no one wants to read--or write!--, and this when university presses shrink budgets, libraries buy far fewer books, and monographs each lose their presses an average of $10,000, speak to the concerns only of professors at research universities and schools down the chain--mine, for example--that try to imitate them. Ulrich says there's no such emphasis at his institution, nor ones like his, and suggests that the anxiety of Gleenblatt at al is an anxiety not so much about the state of the profession as it is one about the unique status of their own institutions: "From the point of view of a research institution, if faculty members at teaching institutions all begin publishing monographs, the value and status of the monograph will decline and with it the prestige that elite universities relish" (119). Ulrich suggests that Research Universities might wish to emulate certain aspects of teaching institutions instead of worrying about teaching institutions imitating them. Smart and surprising work.

The Caroline Levine is also highly interesting. Gerald Graff is, as always, exciting, and the material on Affirmative Activism, while not particularly thrilling, is important, and should be read by everyone in the academy, particularly those who don't notice the extreme whiteness of the professoriate.

More on this volume can be found here.

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