11.0555 history of disciplines

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 2 Feb 1998 21:49:55 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 555.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Matt Kirschenbaum <mgk3k@faraday.clas.virginia.edu> (3)
Subject: Re: 11.0552 history of disciplines

[2] From: Chris Floyd <cfloyd@carmen.murdoch.edu.au> (34)
Subject: history of disciplines

Date: Sun, 1 Feb 1998 13:37:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Matt Kirschenbaum <mgk3k@faraday.clas.virginia.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.0552 history of disciplines

For the rise of literary studies as a discipline, see Gerald
Graff's _Professing Literature: An Institutional History_
(Chicago 1987); also Terry Eagleton's opening chapter in his
_Literary Theory: An Introduction_ (Minnesota 1983). Matt

Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 10:28:52 +0800
From: Chris Floyd <cfloyd@carmen.murdoch.edu.au>
Subject: history of disciplines

With regard to English, I often refer to:

Eagleton, Terry. _Literary Theory: An Introduction_. Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.


Widdowson, Peter. _Re-Reading English_. London: Methuen, 1982.

Background research into F. R. Leavis and the "Newbolt Report" is crucial.
See: King, Noel. " 'The Teacher must exist before the Pupil': The Newbolt
Report on the Teaching of English in England, 1921". _Literature and
History_. 13:1. Spring 1987. (14-37).

The story goes that scratch an English lit specialist and you find a
Leavisite. This has somewhat changed since what Widdowson calls 'the crisis
of English' and Harold Bloom (in _The Western Canon: The Books and School
of the Ages_. New York: Harcourt & Brace, 1994. p527) characterises as "the
Balkanization of literary studies", being the incorporation of a set of
possible theoretical approaches including Marxism (trans. 'liberal' for
Americans); structuralism; post-structuralism; psychoanalysis; and feminism.

I hazard to mention:

Bloom, Allan. _The Closing of the American Mind_. New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1987.

Clearly it touches on the history of academic disciplines insofar as it is
a conservative critique/diatribe. However, I fear its effect is prophetic
in the sense of the dumbing down that is occuring in institutions.


BTW I encountered another new discipline yesterday, namely industrial
design which is a cross over between engineering and art. It appears to me
more about packaging than content, but it begs the question of the arts
side. Whether it merely assumes the formal aspect, neglecting the
historical and philosophical issues. Thus becoming a sanitised, market
driven discipline.

Dr Chris Floyd
Phone: +61 8 9339 0490

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