Literature & Language News

“Where do PhDs in English Get Jobs?”

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To many observers, the job market for PhDs in English (and other humanities fields) may seem to be in crisis, but as has recently been pointed out by Anthony T. Grafton and Jim Grossman (2011), it is not, at least as the term crisis is usually defined. This job market…

What Is an @uthor?

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It’s not as if all of us at the MLA hadn’t dutifully read our Barthes back in graduate school. But it’s one thing to autopsy the death of the author from the safety of the seminar table; it’s quite another when the author (with some 157,000 Twitter followers) nixes one’s…

Is The Distinction Between STEM And The Humanities Obsolete?

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When I speak about virtues, ethics and leadership, people ask, sometimes in jest, whether I am a scientist or a humanist. When this happens, I reflect on what we want our students to strive to become and answer: both. In The Conversation‘s Science 2.0 blog, physicist Todd Martin argues that the distinction between STEM and…

The Wisdom Deficit in Schools

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Achieve the Core, for example, an organization founded by the lead writers of the standards, explicitly encourages schools to teach students to “extract” information so they can “note and assess patterns of writing” without relying on “any particular background information” or “students having other experiences or knowledge.” This emphasis on…

The Rise of the Medical Humanities

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Faced with some of life’s most painful moments poetry can reassure us that we are not alone – others have suffered too. But a great poem also allows us to make sense of feelings that might otherwise be a searing amorphous mass somewhere deep inside us. Great poetry makes us…

The Common Core Has Not Killed Literature

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Contrary to what some skeptics argue, the new standards don’t suck an appreciation for traditional wisdom out of English class. Thus asserts Meaghan Freeman, a middle- and high-school English teacher at Willsboro Central School in upstate New York, in The Atlantic.

Turning novels’ plots into data points

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It’s easy to mock what have emerged as the digital humanities, because they seem to partake of a lust for data, of data for data’s sake, that feels at the moment like an unseemly trend. But anyone who asks what use these charts could possibly have, what “practical value,” has…