A spectacular and well-deserved smackdown from Karen Kelsky. My only wish: that she’d contrasted the packed-house “we need to make our PhD programs bigger” panel with Lee Skallerup Bessette‘s adjuncts panel that had five people in attendance:
— Lee Skallerup (@readywriting) January 11, 2014
This is why I rarely, if ever, consider the feelings of the Research-One tenured when I share my own pain. Because I know that all tenured people aren’t like this (especially those wonderfully dedicated profs at teaching schools, heroes all!)–but too many of the ones in power are. This MLA panel will set the tone for the “how should we feel about grad school” discussion in the modern languages for the next fucking year. And it was full of that odious, blinkered, selfish, self-aggrandizing attitude of “We need to save our field,” combined with a palpable disinterest in discussing the consequences of admitting PhD student after PhD student to populate your grad seminars with sycophants, and do the grading and teaching you’ll never deign to do.
I have an interview with Lee about this in process, so you’ll be hearing from me about it again, A LOT, but I was so happy with Karen’s takedown that I had to jump the gun on myself a little bit.
So, just so that everyone is clear. Just so that everyone is perfectly, perfectly clear: all that hand-wringing, all that “but what can we do”-ing, all that “it’s the administration”-ing that our tenured allies and “allies” do means absolutely, positively fucking nothing, as long as the taste-makers in the modern languages think only of themselves, their graduate seminars, their eminence, their not having to come into contact with the German 101 hoi polloi. “Us” is them. “Us” is not me. Fuck “us.”