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Should Students Be Encouraged to Pursue Graduate Education in the Humanities?

Controversy

Abstract

Last January at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle, Brian Croxall, one of the leading young scholars of the digital humanities—and a selfdescribed “failure,” since he does not hold a permanent academic position—began his talk with a PowerPoint slide of a rejection letter that he had just received from a small department of English: “Please accept our sincere thanks for your interest in the position. We received more than nine hundred applications, so it is truly the case that there are many, many talented scholars whom we are not able to interview.” With odds like that, Croxall observed, it might be time to rethink graduate education in the humanities, at least insofar as it trains students to become college teachers.

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