12.0553 serious problem(s)

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:53:39 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 553.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> (25)
Subject: retiring but not shy

[2] From: Anthony <anthony@ccs.sogang.ac.kr> (15)
Subject: Humanities in danger?

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:49:13 +0100
From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: retiring but not shy

De te fabula narratur

As Horace says, don't laugh. We have been talking about the tenure hassle,
and it certainly is that. It is at the interfaces of life that the big
traumas happen. Detenureification can also be traumatic. I am now going to
wax personal, but as you see from my title it concerns you, too.

I have just been notified by my supervisor that I must give up my office (up
Hearts and Flowers, read Alcuin's farewell to his cell). Like many emeriti,
I have an office filled with books, equipment, and in this case also a thin
little wire which connects me to you. Like many emeriti, I looked forward to
retirement and a chance to get some things done.

This comes, naturally, at the worst time. The expense of setting up
elsewhere is enormous. One simply has to change directions radically, give up
such frivolities as Internet, downloading the Ante and Post-Nicene Fathers
and Old Swedish, talking to colleagues, looking things up in books, etc.

The point to all this is that I am telling a story which happens to most
retiring professors, and it seems that those who are into the governance of
universities have not addressed the problem. The retiring but not shy scholar
finds him- or herself in the situation outlined above or an analogous one, at
a time in life when _force vitale_ is dwindling, resources dwindling (sans
everything, to quote the bard), but when he or she might do his or her
(cannot persuade myself to use _their_) best work. As mankind gets older and
older, there will be more of us in this situation, and the loss to
scholarship could be enormous (I write in cliches).

Anyway, forget about me. This is a problem which needs to be addressed.

Jim Marchand.

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:49:27 +0100
From: Anthony <anthony@ccs.sogang.ac.kr>
Subject: Humanities in danger?

This query is more related to Humanities than to Computing but I am not
sure where else to address it. The Korean Government, like many others,
is not showing much interest in funding research or teaching in the
humanities at university level and seems to believe that universities
should be wholly oriented toward socially 'useful' programs of a
scientific or otherwise practical kind. English Departments are under
pressure to provide nothing but conversation classes and 'introductions
to daily life (if not 'business culture') in the US and UK'.
I have been asked by colleagues here to find recently - published books
or articles in English which might be quoted in submissions of opinion
in support of the maintenance of some version of the traditional
humanities college in the modern (21st- century) university. I would be
most grateful if members of this list could indicate to me anything of
the kind that they have found forceful.
(Professor) An Sonjae
English Dept, Sogang University, Seoul

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