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Graduate Internship Programs in the Humanities: A Report from One University

Graduate Internship Programs in the Humanities: A Report from One University Graduate Internship Programs in the Humanities: A Report from One University Deborah Carlin It came as a disappointment, though perhaps not as a surprise, that only a handful of people attended the December 2000 Modern Language Associa- tion (MLA) panel on graduate internship programs. Ever since former MLA president Elaine Showalter (1998: 3) deployed her now infamous metaphor linking the job market for literature Ph.D. students with a historical disaster in the making —“We can’t afford to waste our collective energies anymore in competition for the dwindling job market, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and fighting about who gets into the lifeboats first”— many graduate students, fairly or unfairly, perceived her agenda as the abandonment of their academic futures, a kind of leadership by lifeboat. Their dissatisfaction stemmed largely from the perception that, in advocating careers outside aca- deme, Showalter and her allies backed away from the more institutionally intractable, and thus politically charged, issue: tenure-track jobs have declined at an alarming rate directly proportional to the rise of adjunct teaching, and the profession relies on substantial numbers of graduate students to staff com- position and general-education programs as “apprentices.” Yet when, by the MLA’s own estimation, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pedagogy Duke University Press

Graduate Internship Programs in the Humanities: A Report from One University

Pedagogy , Volume 2 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Copyright
© 2002 Duke University Press
ISSN
1531-4200
eISSN
1533-6255
DOI
10.1215/15314200-2-2-213
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Graduate Internship Programs in the Humanities: A Report from One University Deborah Carlin It came as a disappointment, though perhaps not as a surprise, that only a handful of people attended the December 2000 Modern Language Associa- tion (MLA) panel on graduate internship programs. Ever since former MLA president Elaine Showalter (1998: 3) deployed her now infamous metaphor linking the job market for literature Ph.D. students with a historical disaster in the making —“We can’t afford to waste our collective energies anymore in competition for the dwindling job market, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and fighting about who gets into the lifeboats first”— many graduate students, fairly or unfairly, perceived her agenda as the abandonment of their academic futures, a kind of leadership by lifeboat. Their dissatisfaction stemmed largely from the perception that, in advocating careers outside aca- deme, Showalter and her allies backed away from the more institutionally intractable, and thus politically charged, issue: tenure-track jobs have declined at an alarming rate directly proportional to the rise of adjunct teaching, and the profession relies on substantial numbers of graduate students to staff com- position and general-education programs as “apprentices.” Yet when, by the MLA’s own estimation,

Journal

PedagogyDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2002

References