What Hath English Wrought: The Corporate University’s Fast Food Discipline

Cary Nelson

Abstract


I review some of the Modern Language Association's report from its Committee on Professional Employment strengths and weaknesses and in the process use it as an occasion to describe the wider implications of the history we have hidden from ourselves for decades. I will argue that English as a discipline bears a special responsibility for making the precipitous decline of higher education more likely in the coming decades. That is partly because English departments have made the college teacher what standard economic theory calls an elastic commodity, one for which there are any number of substitutes. At the end of the paper I will make some predictions about where we are heading, based on the mounting corporatization of higher education and on the increasing assaults on both tenure and academic freedom.


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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace