9.426 scholarship in a crepuscular age

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Wed, 3 Jan 1996 21:16:49 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 426.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)

[1] From: wulfric@epas.utoronto.ca (29)
Subject: Scholarship in 1996

Willard McCarty raises one or two interesting points in his New Year's
greeting. The point of the cartoon would seem to be that the artist's
expressed need for funding to be able to say something of real interest can
be taken either literally or ironically. Both interpretations have validity.
Willard comments on the former. Which leads me to wonder what the notion of
"a young scholar's career" means in 1996. Do young scholars have the
perspective of a career? If they do, what sort of career is going to be
recognized in the millenial academy? One can have cause for pessimism after
(the luxury of) a sabbatical year spent in France and the return to the
Ontario of Mike Harris. In France young scholars with academic posts spend
their time attempting to cope with the "dumping-ground" reality of
present-day French universities where 80% of school-leavers armed with their
devalued baccalaureats spend a year or two standing, or if they're lucky
sitting, in university classrooms and giving each of their instructors
several hundred papers to mark every few weeks before failing their exams
and moving on. The determined academic's occasional midnight oil is not,
except in rare cases, used to work at a computer linked to e-mail or the
internet. And in Ontari-ario the word "scholarly" is rapidly taking on a
pejorative connotation in the mean climate of sweeping cutbacks. All of
which does not stop me trying to do what I consider of real value regardless
-- the barbarians have been at the door before. Perhaps this time around the
web may be one of the means of driving them back.

Russon Wooldridge
University of Toronto
Russon Wooldridge, Department of French, Trinity College,
University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 1H8, Canada
Tel: 1-416-978-2885 -- Fax: 1-416-978-4949
E-mail: wulfric@epas.utoronto.ca
Internet: http://www.epas.utoronto.ca:8080/~wulfric/