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English in America

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David Jackson

on 17 July 2013

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Transcript of English in America

The Classical College
The Research University
No graduate school training for college professors.
Courses were assigned with little regard to special expertise.
Not professional
Enculturation (not vocation)
College was for the 2-4%
White males only
College was the place for cultivating Christian ministers/leaders
The coherence of the culture reflected a consensus that the foundations of good education was a unity of:
Greek & Latin
Respectable upper-class manners, customs, social values
Class Unity -- Educators felt that the social bonds of college life were more important than anything a student might learn.
Extra Curricular Literary Culture
The literature of one's own language was not taught in formal classes. Rather, it was already a flourishing part of the extracurricular life of the college and the general community. College and town literary societies, college debating clubs, student literary magazines, undergraduate competitions, and frequent public lectures and readings constituted an informal literary education.
The Hierarchical Ideal of Leadership
Caste oriented -- the country was supposed to be led by a "caste of trained 'college men' who were to preside over the arts and the professions."
Hostile to capitalism -- the twin vulgarities:
Commercial enterprise
Plebian labor-agitation
What Happened to the Classical College?
As businessmen became increasingly reluctant to send their sons to schools whose curricula offered nothing useful - or to donate money for their support, some educational leaders began exploring ways of making higher education more attractive.
Criticism from Business Class
The triumph of Jacksonian populism in the 1820s
The rapid industrialization following the Civil War
Shifting conceptions of social class in the 19th Century
Liberal Reforms of the Classical College
Harvard: Charles William Eliot installed the elective system in the early seventies (resisted by Porter of Yale & McCosh of Princeton)
Eliot's Harvard and White's Cornell introduced written examinations and replaced recitations with lectures and discussion classes.
Institutions such as Cornell (1867), founded on the principle of suiting college education to a wide diversity of interests
The state, land-grant colleges of the West, which initiated vocationally centered curricula.
Private denominational colleges in the Midwest
Women’s colleges that sprang up after the 1860’s
College enrollment was static while the population of the country was growing rapidly.
The Generalist
The philologists' right to define the terms of professionalism in literary studies was contested from the beginning. A competing model was defended by a party of "generalists," who were also committed to the idea of departments of English and modern languages, but who upheld the old college ideal of liberal or general culture against that of narrowly specialized research.
The organization of specialized departments, majors & graduate studies
The Problems with English in the Research University
Inherent contradiction of increasing enrollment while making education more technical
German Philology
English Philology in America
The Weird Compromise
What is excluded from English in the weird compromise
Public Relations
Popular Culture
A general analytical & scholarly style
A commitment to the autonomy of the literary text
The idealist philosophy about "folk" language/literature
The "Romantic" Indo-European Linguistic Theory
The "folk lore" problem
The Splintering of Empirical Linguistics
The Private Liberal Arts College
"New Criticism"
Various Non-linguistic
Replacements for Philology:

"humanities" & "liberal arts"
Post-New Criticism
Current Literary Scholarship in the Public University
Full transcript