Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I mean no disrespect at all( please understand I'm a person who turned down a funded Ph.D. offer to do an only partially funded MA), BUT I've never heard of decent programs making you fund part of your Ph.D. However, based on results here and on the results board, there are people in the humanities AND hard sciences (like NYU's Math Ph.D. . . WHAT?!) who are being asked to foot the bill for the Ph.D. This is absurd, in my opinion. Is this trend because of the times or something that has been existent for awhile? I mean, these are EXCELLENT programs asking candidates to fund part or all of the Ph.D. for AMERICAN (please don't read this as imperialism, just border considerations . . .ahem taxes and residency shit) students. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for admits or anything like that, but really? Is this the course American higher education is taking? In light of our abysmal primary and secondary system, I could see that America would want to capitalize on what has been, to date anyway, a largely superior grad education system, but I highly doubt any of these excess fees are going back to the state, etc., so what's the deal? Is the inherent business nature of grad schools overcoming the dedication to education so that the interest in making money is motivating these insufficient funding offers? That seems TOTALLY counterproductive to the idea of scholarship and research in my opinion. Please, please, please, American House, don't abolish the DOE AND, more importantly, Senate don't approve. That is the means that many people get access to education at the post secondary and then, by extension, graduate level. Sigh. It's so sad to see the way politics is going in this country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean no disrespect at all( please understand I'm a person who turned down a funded Ph.D. offer to do an only partially funded MA), BUT I've never heard of decent programs making you fund part of your Ph.D. However, based on results here and on the results board, there are people in the humanities AND hard sciences (like NYU's Math Ph.D. . . WHAT?!) who are being asked to foot the bill for the Ph.D. This is absurd, in my opinion. Is this trend because of the times or something that has been existent for awhile? I mean, these are EXCELLENT programs asking candidates to fund part or all of the Ph.D. for AMERICAN (please don't read this as imperialism, just border considerations . . .ahem taxes and residency shit) students. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for admits or anything like that, but really? Is this the course American higher education is taking? In light of our abysmal primary and secondary system, I could see that America would want to capitalize on what has been, to date anyway, a largely superior grad education system, but I highly doubt any of these excess fees are going back to the state, etc., so what's the deal? Is the inherent business nature of grad schools overcoming the dedication to education so that the interest in making money is motivating these insufficient funding offers? That seems TOTALLY counterproductive to the idea of scholarship and research in my opinion. Please, please, please, American House, don't abolish the DOE AND, more importantly, Senate don't approve. That is the means that many people get access to education at the post secondary and then, by extension, graduate level. Sigh. It's so sad to see the way politics is going in this country.

The governor in my state has vowed to cut funding to public education and has said publicly "Ohio doesn't benefit from research papers lost in a drawer somewhere." I don't want to offend or argue about politics, but just as far as public education goes, politically right now it is not valued at all and schools, at least in the Midwest, are quickly losing more and more funding because of attitudes like this. It depresses me so much that bank bailouts are okay but public school teachers are the enemy of fiscal responsibility.

Sorry for the politics rant- I agree that paying to do a PhD is probably the worst investment of all time. GETTING PAID to do a PhD is slowly become a bad investment as well, when you taking into consideration the time spent living on patlry stipends (I think some people do take out partial loans when they've got a stipend of 9K) compared with the rates of finding a job after the PhD. They ain't that high right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed, Woolfie. As an aside, I think part of the reason why schools are taking so long to provide any admits at all is that funding is on the line right now, and God knows our GOP governors couldn't care less about education.

The governor in my state has vowed to cut funding to public education and has said publicly "Ohio doesn't benefit from research papers lost in a drawer somewhere." I don't want to offend or argue about politics, but just as far as public education goes, politically right now it is not valued at all and schools, at least in the Midwest, are quickly losing more and more funding because of attitudes like this. It depresses me so much that bank bailouts are okay but public school teachers are the enemy of fiscal responsibility.

Sorry for the politics rant- I agree that paying to do a PhD is probably the worst investment of all time. GETTING PAID to do a PhD is slowly become a bad investment as well, when you taking into consideration the time spent living on patlry stipends (I think some people do take out partial loans when they've got a stipend of 9K) compared with the rates of finding a job after the PhD. They ain't that high right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The governor in my state has vowed to cut funding to public education and has said publicly "Ohio doesn't benefit from research papers lost in a drawer somewhere." I don't want to offend or argue about politics, but just as far as public education goes, politically right now it is not valued at all and schools, at least in the Midwest, are quickly losing more and more funding because of attitudes like this. It depresses me so much that bank bailouts are okay but public school teachers are the enemy of fiscal responsibility.

Sorry for the politics rant- I agree that paying to do a PhD is probably the worst investment of all time. GETTING PAID to do a PhD is slowly become a bad investment as well, when you taking into consideration the time spent living on patlry stipends (I think some people do take out partial loans when they've got a stipend of 9K) compared with the rates of finding a job after the PhD. They ain't that high right now.

But Ohio DOES benefit from research papers that aren't "lost in drawers"--i.e. those us academic folks bust our butts to polish and perfect for conferences and other academic engagements. What's more, funding research enables the RECOVERY of misplaced scholarship, literature, etc. I'm thinking specifically of Emily Dickinson's poems, which someone actually found in a desk drawer years after her death. Take THAT, John Kasich! :)

Edited by ecg1810

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lyoness, I've noticed the same asinine things on the result board. PhD - partial funding. Things like that. But make no mistake, it's not just the humanities who get hammered for "useless" projects. Whenever Fox News does their monthly round-up of "government waste," they usually highlight some poor grad student's or professor's research, which is often in the sciences, especially biology. $200,000 TAX PAYER DOLLARS SPENT ON STUDYING LAB RATS' RESISTANCE TO JELLY BEAN OIL. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAX-PAYER FUNDED GRANTS USED TO STUDY HOW MONKEYS REACT TO MIRRORS. Anything that doesn't have an immediate, practical, industrial use is going to be likewise rididuled and in danger of losing funding in the coming years. Luckily, we in the humanities, unlike the 'practical' folks in all the sciences, have never argued that we provide knowledge with an industrial application. I think Stanley Fish has done a public good arguing his case for the humanities, saying that they provide no practical good whatsoever but are their own good. I think (hope) this will allow them to stay funded while many biology, physics, and psychology programs contract into insignificance. This is one of the reasons I went into rhet/comp. Hard to see a Fox News headline reading, GRAD STUDENT GIVEN 16K A YEAR TO TEACH COLLEGE WRITING AND STUDY HOW ESL STUDENTS FUNCTION BEST IN AN ENGLISH CLASSROOM. But we shall see, eh?

Anyway, this is why I applied to private schools!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But Ohio DOES benefit from research papers that aren't "lost in drawers"--i.e. those us academic folks bust our butts to polish and perfect for conferences and other academic engagements. What's more, funding research enables the RECOVERY of misplaced scholarship, literature, etc. I'm thinking specifically of Emily Dickinson's poems, which someone actually found in a desk drawer years after her death. Take THAT, John Kasich! :)

I'd be careful to go down that road. How many Ohioans have read Dickinson? I think it's better to argue that "research papers lost in drawers" benefit those who worked on them and those would care to read the research. They serve no "public good" because the public, by and large, does not care about research--scientific, humanistic, or otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be careful to go down that road. How many Ohioans have read Dickinson? I think it's better to argue that "research papers lost in drawers" benefit those who worked on them and those would care to read the research. They serve no "public good" because the public, by and large, does not care about research--scientific, humanistic, or otherwise.

Well, I still think canonical literary figures, like Dickinson, hold a place (however small) in the minds of the masses. Even though many Ohioans (or Americans for that matter) haven't perused a volume of Dickinson's poetry, that doesn't mean her work's impact is negligible. How many folks have actually read Shakespeare, but still recognize his contributions as culturally significant? I don't mean to equate Dickinson's reputation with Shakespeare's, but I think it's easier to use a more well-known figure like Dickinson to show how research in the humanities can lead to important discoveries.

EDIT: Yes, as an aspiring humanities scholar, I'm biased in asserting the significance of Emily Dickinson (who I'm using as a general example to illustrate ways in which literary scholarship proves dynamic)--but I don't think I need to argue for the importance of humanities research as a whole for the purposes of this discussion. Clearly, all of us in the literature forum find the humanities inherently valuable, or we wouldn't waste our time pursuing them at the graduate level.

Edited by ecg1810

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an ex-teacher and a soon-to-be English PhD student, this stuff really makes my blood boil. In addition to the "recovering lost scholarship" and "maintaining a level of intellectual competence" arguments that have already been made (which should be enough on their own to justify the existence of humanities research) there is a far more practical purpose for paying graduate students. We are the ones who teach the undergraduates at the universities that fund us! How hard is it to realize that, in our stead, the university would have to pay a faculty member, whether tenured or adjunct, around twice as much as they pay us! Maybe the universities should just stop paying anybody to teach English or Philosophy or History or Ethics or any kind of suspect experimental sciences. Apparently we've already made all of the advances that humanity can make. We are the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder and all we have to do is spend the rest of eternity maintaining our current status quo. Or...OR...Plato knew what he was talking about when he recognized that a healthy society needs their philosophers (in all subjects). Unfortunately, we are on the road to raising a nation, and possibly a world, of dunces who can't read Plato because paying someone to teach others to do so isn't worth the money. Once that happens, we can all be pleasantly ignorant of the fact that invention and advancement are always born out of philosophy.

I would prefer that we continue to pay people $10,000 to $25,000 a year to teach undergraduates and tutor in writing centers while they learn to pass on philosophical understanding, and to break new philosophical ground, in graduate school. I may be a little biased, though.

Sorry, I know I'm preaching to the choir.

Oh, and wild_rose, those goes WAY beyond party politics.

Edited by bigdgp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an ex-teacher and a soon-to-be English PhD student, this stuff really makes my blood boil. In addition to the "recovering lost scholarship" and "maintaining a level of intellectual competence" arguments that have already been made (which should be enough on their own to justify the existence of humanities research) there is a far more practical purpose for paying graduate students. We are the ones who teach the undergraduates at the universities that fund us! How hard is it to realize that, in our stead, the university would have to pay a faculty member, whether tenured or adjunct, around twice as much as they pay us! Maybe the universities should just stop paying anybody to teach English or Philosophy or History or Ethics or any kind of suspect experimental sciences. Apparently we've already made all of the advances that humanity can make. We are the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder and all we have to do is spend the rest of eternity maintaining our current status quo. Or...OR...Plato knew what he was talking about when he recognized that a healthy society needs their philosophers (in all subjects). Unfortunately, we are on the road to raising a nation, and possibly a world, of dunces who can't read Plato because paying someone to teach others to do so isn't worth the money. Once that happens, we can all be pleasantly ignorant of the fact that invention and advancement are always born out of philosophy.

I would prefer that we continue to pay people $10,000 to $25,000 a year to teach undergraduates and tutor in writing centers while they learn to pass on philosophical understanding, and to break new philosophical ground, in graduate school. I may be a little biased, though.

Sorry, I know I'm preaching to the choir.

Amen, bigdgp! We're on the same page for sure. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know we're all in agreement, but thanks for the opportunity to vent. I also appreciate all of the opinions and views people have shared. Here's to hoping things change soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question of usefulness is problematic. Fish's argument--or, well, the argument he was making two or three years ago in the Times--was that the humanities are simply about duplicating professorial taste. It's glib and relativistic, so it appealed to me, anyway. John Guillory (who is/was also a Miltonist) makes a related, though more refined and nuanced set of claims in the Cultural Capital. The humanities, he says, are about furnishing students with, well, cultural capital: "I am better [than you] because I have read Alice Walker and Edmund Spenser &c." There's (come on, you've got to admit it) at least a whiff of elitism in humanistic study. The systematic defunding of the humanities (particularly at state-sponsored institutions) makes some sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question of usefulness is problematic. Fish's argument--or, well, the argument he was making two or three years ago in the Times--was that the humanities are simply about duplicating professorial taste. It's glib and relativistic, so it appealed to me, anyway. John Guillory (who is/was also a Miltonist) makes a related, though more refined and nuanced set of claims in the Cultural Capital. The humanities, he says, are about furnishing students with, well, cultural capital: "I am better [than you] because I have read Alice Walker and Edmund Spenser &c." There's (come on, you've got to admit it) at least a whiff of elitism in humanistic study. The systematic defunding of the humanities (particularly at state-sponsored institutions) makes some sense.

Great point. In the past, I think the doctors, engineers, and captains of industry truly VALUED that cultural capital. It's not coinicidence that the humanities flourished in America because of names like Vanderbilt and Carnegie . . . Today, however, doctors, engineers, busines and industry leaders don't really value that capital. At best, they are indifferent to it. Once their support goes, the humanities go. Our capital is no longer valued by them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is so depressing :(

Abandon the lit ship, lyoness :) Come join us in rhet/comp. Some capital is still valued; someone has to teach the workers how to write and communicate in today's complex workplace . . .

Edited by RockDenali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abandon the lit ship, lyoness :) Come join us in rhet/comp. Some capital is still valued; someone has to teach the workers how to write and communicate in today's complex workplace . . .

Yet I struggle to convey the importance of this skill to ANY of my business or science majors in my intro comp courses. (They can't write a professional email worth a darn either). Riddle me that...;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet I struggle to convey the importance of this skill to ANY of my business or science majors in my intro comp courses. (They can't write a professional email worth a darn either). Riddle me that...;)

See, now, illiberal apologies for the humanities are, I think, ultimately deleterious. If literary practice is about utility--about teaching people how to write--then we ought to scrap novels and poems and just teach people how to avoid comma-splices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, now, illiberal apologies for the humanities are, I think, ultimately deleterious. If literary practice is about utility--about teaching people how to write--then we ought to scrap novels and poems and just teach people how to avoid comma-splices.

Well, I oversimplified what rhet/comp is about . . . I was reiterating what the business folk find us useful for (for what the business folk find us useful?). But then, it would be nice if fewer (not less) students used comma splices . . . . :)

Edited by RockDenali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet I struggle to convey the importance of this skill to ANY of my business or science majors in my intro comp courses. (They can't write a professional email worth a darn either). Riddle me that...;)

Ha! They'll figure it out soon enough if they want to be managers or run a lab.

"mr. smith,

I applyed to ur job and was just checking on my resume, do you have it or should i re-send? thx."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, now, illiberal apologies for the humanities are, I think, ultimately deleterious. If literary practice is about utility--about teaching people how to write--then we ought to scrap novels and poems and just teach people how to avoid comma-splices.

I should perhaps clarify that although I earn my keep by teaching comp., it is not my area of study. I do find it odd (and counterproductive for us) that what my students most often claim to want out of this course sequence is utility, and yet they very seldom envision any sort of contemporary (particularly digital) communication or their future careers as involving the written word or argument in any way. Nor do they see those things as involving a need for reading in any sense (not even in the sense of being able to pick apart manipulative advertising, political rhetoric, or any other type of loaded language or text--broadly construed-- thrown at them on a daily basis). They also tend to come in assuming that by college they "know" English (at least the native speakers do) and that the course is therefore a waste. I spend an inordinate amount of time jarring them out of that "I'm 18 and hip, and you are stuck in the Stone Age" mindset. "Utility" has been pitched to them as the thing they can "get" out composition class, but they do not necessarily believe it exists. This is doubly problematic.

I actually think we back ourselves into a corner when we respond to charges of "uselessness" with assertions of "real world applications" in English. A lot of what we do has much broader and less immediately applicable "use" and capital than comma-splices (although, good lord, would I love to be winning that war), and I think that aesthetics generally are losing ground in higher education and American culture in disturbing ways (cue my "why I eventually dream of teaching at a liberal arts school" sidebar).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scholars who chatter about "beauty" seem (and might in fact be) unserious; discursive etiquette (except, you're right, maybe, at the liberal arts college) forbids it. Institutionalized literary study is, as Susan Sontag argued, necessarily philistinistic. Don't get me wrong. Certain books have been more important to me than certain longish lasting romantic relationships. But these sorts of feelings about texts have nothing to do with academe. It seems to me that what literary study ought to equip students with is confidence against variegation and density.

Edited by cyriac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's some further food for thought.

On how the humanities (and the texts and intellectual methods we teach and value), might in fact be seen as essential to a healthy civil society:

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/troy_jollimore_on_why_democracy_needs_the_humanities_20100423/

Snippets

[The claim that democracy needs the humanities, that the crisis in humanistic education leaves “the future of the world’s democracies hang[ing] in the balance,” is a strong one, and more hardheaded readers may respond with skepticism. As much as the humanities may enrich the lives of those privileged enough to devote themselves to them, they continue to strike many people as, essentially, frills. As long as a majority continues to see them this way they will be among the first things to be jettisoned when times get tough. Nussbaum’s contention is that this view is precisely the opposite of the truth: As the subtitle makes clear, the main part of “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities” is devoted to substantiating the claim that the skills taught by the humanities are “skills that are needed to keep democracies alive.”]

...

[socratic pedagogy, then, is meant to produce an ideal citizen, one who is 'active, critical, curious, capable of resisting authority and peer pressure'—the kind of citizen who poses a threat to authoritarian regimes but who enables democracies to function.]

Or a shorter, slightly more critical take on Nussbaum's argument here:

http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2010/06/value-democracy-nussbaum-arts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! They'll figure it out soon enough if they want to be managers or run a lab.

"mr. smith,

I applyed to ur job and was just checking on my resume, do you have it or should i re-send? thx."

This sounds like a good retort now, but a generation (or so) from now, "mr. smith" will be so used to this kind of bilge that it WON'T cost the applicant the job. In fact, he may even write like this himself--I've recently received an email from a prominent humanities scholar that was full of text abbreviations, etc. (written from his i-phone).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certain books have been more important to me than certain longish lasting romantic relationships. But these sorts of feelings about texts have nothing to do with academe.

Why not? I am not being glib or fatuous. I am very sincere because I do not think that statement is true; and if it is, then it is very sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This sounds like a good retort now, but a generation (or so) from now, "mr. smith" will be so used to this kind of bilge that it WON'T cost the applicant the job. In fact, he may even write like this himself--I've recently received an email from a prominent humanities scholar that was full of text abbreviations, etc. (written from his i-phone).

I won't disagree. My father works at Northrop Grumman, a major defense contractor, and he tells me how atrociously the college-hires sometimes write in their emails and reports. This does, he assures me, make them look bad. However, he also tells me that few of the old guard bother to address the problem anymore. They're too used to it. So, yes, I can see awful writing becoming the norm in fifty or sixty years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not? I am not being glib or fatuous. I am very sincere because I do not think that statement is true; and if it is, then it is very sad.

I second this question. Granted, I won't start academe proper until the fall, but isn't there a place for investigating how a text produces certain feelings in the reader?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.