Food for Thought

I’ve been travelling, rather than blogging–a friend came from overseas for the Olympics and I did some showing him around the UK, and since getting home have been writing like mad and starting postdoc applications. But here are a couple of frankly depressing pieces from other people on the state of academia:

Closing the Book on Celtic by Lizzie Boyle at Cambridge in History Today.  We talk about the lack of ‘common Celtic identity’ in all eras of premodern Celts, but things haven’t changed as much as we would probably like.  Cambridge is the only university in England where one can do all three major Celtic languages, but there aren’t many places in the Celtic neighbours either–Aberystwyth is the only one that springs to mind that offers Welsh, Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Breton. The divide is more than just linguistic, I think, as well–for such a small field, the divisions between literary and linguistic endeavours is wider than it needs to be. Literature and history go together well enough, but philology seems often to be set apart. Celtic Studies is really an incredibly interdisciplinary field, where historians study literary works in half a dozen medieval languages, but there seems to be some trouble presenting itself cohesively.

And then this post by the Homeless Adjunct: How the American University was Killed in Five Easy Steps I don’t have to go into how depressing this is, right?  As a graduate of two American state universities it looks like a familiar story, and goes hand in hand with the cultural devaluation of anything that doesn’t make loads of money right away.

Next post will be something happier, promise.

1 Comment

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One response to “Food for Thought

  1. Both the pieces you point to are well-argued and … well, depressing. And the woes of the American experience have clearly filtered through here in the UK, not just in academia but down to secondary education and beyond. Having retired from school teaching four years ago I’ve seen no sign of positive change, just a further spiral into corporatespeak and obfuscation; and only through private music tuition can I feel I’m fulfilling myself as an inspired and inspiring educationalist.

    Looking forward to reading your next happy post!

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