Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A little precision...

If there were any justice in the world, or if the world were just, you know, more fun, the academic blogosphere would be more like the London Underground in the mid-1960s and people would be filling random comment boxes with the anonymous tagline, "The Little Professor Is God." (If you don't get that reference, don't worry, the important part is next.)

Unlike, well, just about everyone who has been puffing up over Wm. Deresiewicz's recent piece on the decline of English majors, The Little Professor (aka Prof. Miriam Burstein) actually went in search of some data. She doesn't comb through it all, and in fact she notes that some data that she would like doesn't seem to be easily available. In particular, she would like to see what kinds of institutions are producing English majors, and in what number. However, she does identify something crucial: The raw number of English majors is actually on the rise. It's the percentage of college graduates majoring in English (or the market share) that's on the decline.

She does link to more data than I've seen any of the other Deresiewicz posts do. Anyhow, read it here. This reminds me of the wonderful posts that she wrote collecting data in response to the "Vanishing Shakespeare" report.

5 Comments:

Blogger rachel said...

Am I missing something, or did you just accuse me of "puffing"?

10:40 PM  
Blogger Michael E. said...

No, but you were linking to puffing, and huffing. But there was a lot more (both pro and con the original article) hot air out there.

10:51 PM  
Blogger sap said...

did i miss something funny about rachel puffing?

9:00 AM  
Blogger sap said...

never mind, i put my close-reading cap back on (it tends to fall off when reading blogs) and figured it out. disregard.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Frodo lives!

9:47 AM  

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