How to be Unprofessional
Plenty of empirical evidence demonstrates that humanist doctoral students are utterly screwed:
- The mean attrition rate in humanities Ph.D. programs is roughly half.
- Time-to-degree averages about ten years.
- There are practically no decent jobs for humanities doctorates.
And anecdotal evidence confirms, too, that many graduate students feel tormented by their advisers, tortured by poverty-level stipends, and generally just stressed the hell out.
So, what should we do?
Personally, I see this doomsday scenario as a radical opportunity. In such a dire situation, it would be irrational for me to simply conform to the norms of professionalization in the hopes of winning a tenure-track position. Therefore, I feel liberated. If I have nothing to lose, then I can to take big risks, go for broke, and enjoy my studies.
As I recently argued (in a special issue of Pedagogy dedicated to issues in graduate…
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