The Oversupply of PhDs

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at
Thu Oct 19 08:43:04 MDT 2000

On Wed, 18 Oct 2000, Louis Proyect crossposted:

> Helena Echlin, Letter from Yale (full article at
> psychology, tooGraduate school has a special appeal for those who have
> always done well academically. They can continue life in a world they know,
> a world with clear goals, rewards and respectability.   The job market is
> tight, but for most students it will be six or more years before they have
> to face it. Some of them may eventually enjoy the sizeable salaries of
> professors ($119,000 on average at Yale in 1999-2000, according to the
> Chronicle of Higher Education).

Yale truly is in another universe. Litcritters can hope to average 45K, if
they're really really lucky, no more. And while there are a lot of people
in the theory biz just for the money or symbolic capital, the really good
ones aren't (these are the types who always seem to end up in Comparative
Literature and have radical critiques of The System). Cultural theory
really can be a genuine use-value. I've always found my undergrad students
to be very receptive to theory, they want to *know* what the hell is going
on in the world-system.

The irony is, I'm applying to various English lit departments, most of
which would have a cow if they knew my political track record (Comp Lit
would be preferable, but there aren't many positions open). It's kind of
like being a Vietcong tac squad -- you quickly learn that camouflage is
the revolution's best friend.

-- Dennis

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