Academic Hubris

My wife is currently enrolled in an upper division “Social Theory” course in Sociology. The book used for this course ends with a four page self-indulgent rant about the book’s author and the important “grand theories” he has provided to the discipline. This rant takes up more space than the text devoted to Walter Benjamin or any single feminist theorist!

Now, don’t get me wrong. . . I can be as self-indulgent and the next person (I mean, I AM writing a blog, eh?). But one should not go around trumpeting one’s own contributions as if they were the word handed down from on high. . . it’s bad form. . . You should at least have your graduate students do that sort of thing for you 🙂

At any rate, I’ve been noticing this sort of behavior often lately at conferences and the like. My own colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin recently held a symposium on “The Austin School” of political engagement at a recent AAA meeting. I have all of the respect in the world for these colleagues (I mean I REALLY admire many of their works), but I just think that you don’t proclaim yourself “a school” (like the Frankfurt School or the Chicago School), that’s something that OTHER PEOPLE proclaim once your contributions to methodology or theoretical positioning have been recognized. . . Otherwise (I think ) you just look like you have delusions of grandeur.

maybe I’m just too southern. . . .(I’ll knock that stereotype down later).

jamie

Tags: , , ,

Categories: academia, anthropology

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