| After reading this book, I realize that my own graduate experience was benign only because my committee was benign. Its members were gentlemen as well as scholars who had no axioms to grind. Thus, total immersion in a scholarly environment for four years produced that magical metamorphosis of a student into a scholar. This is as it should be. David Solway argues in Lying about the Wolf that an academic discipline is a high-context sub-culture. We have to pay our dues in order to participate in the Great Conversation. However, I've heard the horror stories, where the demand for dues is unreasonable. The author has the courage to tell such tales out of school.|
One academic tradition that the author does not honor is the provision of an index. This may be a conscious attempt to avoid one of the TRAPpings of scholarship. Some scholars insist this is a capital offense. Though not so strict, I would have appreciated an index for re-visiting sections I wanted to take a closer look at and for re-finding all the examples of case studies listed above.
The author concludes correctly that there has been little change in the Ph. D. program between his visit and his revisit, and implies that the academy is a rigid institution. This is a wee bit unfair. Between 1987 and 2001, the academy has been flexible in admitting women and minorities into its tenured ranks. Indeed, some male WASPs (who view themselves as the only underprivileged group left) argue that it has been so flexible that it has bent over backwards - and forwards? - on this issue. The author states that there are "over 550 distinctive fields in which the doctorate was awarded" (Page 61). That would imply that the academy has been, if anything, too flexible.
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