Gerald Graff, 'The Unintelligibility of the Humanities', paper delivered at the annual convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association, 6 November 1993, p. 1.
Bruce Robbins, Secular Vocations ( London: Verso, 1993), pp. 84-117. For my more
extended (but still brief) take on Secular Vocations see 'Egghead Salad', Village Voice Literary
Supplement, no. 121 ( December 1993), pp. 29-30.
Hence, to return to an issue I broached in Chapter 5, 'Pop Goes the Academy', Constance Penley's uneasiness about the relations between fans and academics, and her
relation to herself as academic and as fan.
Each of these wonderful testimonies to the publicness of academic work is available
in your local library, unless your locals have banned The Source for its connection to rap
(aka violence). Stacey D'Erasmo, "The Gay Nineties: In Schools Across the Country, Gay
Studies is Coming on Strong'", Rolling Stone, 3 October 1991, pp. 83-7, 130; Dan Zevin, "Dancing in the Seats: Roll Over Beethoven, the Professors of Pop Have Arrived'", Rolling
Stone, 17 September 1992, pp. 83-8, and
Elizabeth Tippins, "Mastering Madonna'", Rolling
Stone, 17 September 1992, pp. 89, 111; Michael Eric Dyson, Rolling Stone, 28 October 1993,
pp. 75-6; David Rakoff, review of Alphabet Man, Details ( October 1993), p. 189. For the
review of Houston Baker Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy, see Bill Martin, "Connecting
the Black Dots'", The Source ( September 1993), p. 26.
Editorial, "Shakespeare for Mere Mortals'", New York Times, 3 September 1993, p. A22.
David Bromwich, Politics by Other Means ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press),
p. 46; hereafter cited in the text.
David Denby, "Does Homer Have Legs?'" New Yorker, 6 September 1993, pp. 52-69. Denby's article is engaging and broad-minded, yet marred by its reliance on Searlean caricatures of the cultural left as a bunch of folks who want to banish Homer for his glorification of war and his treatment of women as items of exchange. What the upstarts among
the cultural left at Columbia had been saying about the core curriculum, in fact, is that in
enormous survey courses, it's impossible to teach literary works in their cultural context,
as complex conversations with their day and ours, the way we think they ought to be taught.
The core course, unfortunately, practically forces one to teach a bunch of masterpieces in
chronological order and nothing else, and most responsible teachers who've had the experience will' admit that it's not unlike rushing a tour group through a museum.
J. R. R. Tolkien, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics'" [ 1936], in R. D. Fulk, ed., Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology ( Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1991), p. 36.
M. H. Abrams et al., eds, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 5th edn ( New
York: Norton, 1986), p. 26.