Academic Keywords: A Devil's Dictionary for Higher Education

Academic Keywords: A Devil's Dictionary for Higher Education

by Cary Nelson, Stephen Watt
     
 

Know what academic freedom is? Or what it's come to mean? What's affirmative about affirmative action these days? Think you're up on the problem of sexual harassment on campus? Or know how much the university depends on part-time faculty?

Academic Keywords is a witty, informed, and sometimes merciless assessment of today's

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Overview

Know what academic freedom is? Or what it's come to mean? What's affirmative about affirmative action these days? Think you're up on the problem of sexual harassment on campus? Or know how much the university depends on part-time faculty?

Academic Keywords is a witty, informed, and sometimes merciless assessment of today's campus, an increasingly corporatized institution that may have bitten off more than its administration is ready to chew. Cary Nelson and Steve Watt use the format of a dictionary to present stories and reflections on some of the most pressing issues affecting higher education in America. From the haphazard treatment of graduate students to the use and abuse of faculty (as well as abuses commited by faculty), Nelson and Watt present a compelling and, at times, enraging report on the state of the campus.

Editorial Reviews

William Kerrigan
The wooden prose of Academic Keywords lacks altogether the brilliance of Williams or the bite of Bierce.... The reader is left to ponder just what personal advantages there might be in offering such a book at a time when three decades of theory have ground to a halt in identity politics and there may no longer be much for serious leftists to gain in listening to the droning on of ersatz disciplines such as queer theory.... For those pursuing academic careers of full-time political anger, this may prove a useful guidebook.
Lingua Franca
Library Journal
How would you define academic freedom? Do you know the true meaning of faculty or sexual harassment? These are three of 47 words and phrases explained in this unusual work. Nelson (English, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Manifesto of a Tenured Radical, New York Univ., 1997) and Watt (English and cultural studies, Indiana Univ.) have composed a dictionary they describe as a cross between Ambrose Bierces 1911 The Devils Dictionary and Raymond Williamss Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1976). Like its predecessors, Nelson and Watts work incorporates (sometimes irreverent) definitions of words and phrases of importance to the academic world to help both academics and the public better understand education today. The definitions range from a few sentences to miniessays several pages long. Some entries include See also references to other definitions. The authors feel that higher education is in serious trouble, and their book works successfully as a consciousness-raising vehicle. We make no apology for and offer no retreat from the very bleak, even apocalyptic, portrait we paint of higher educations prospects, they write in their preface. Recommended for academic libraries.Terry A. Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS
Booknews
More of an encyclopedia, with the alphabetical articles weighing in at several pages each. They combine scathing humor with serious criticism of the academic system, respect and praise for some elements of it, to begin thinking differently about the process, hope for reform, and practical measures to take. Among the entries are academic freedom, downsizing, mentoring, responsibility-centered management, and yuppies. Mildly cross- referenced. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415922036
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Paul Lauter
A terrific book—funny, sad, useful, outrageous—one of the best reflections on America's contradictory university system. Read it and weep&@151;or laugh—or, best of all, act.

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