Playing Mozart on the Titanic

An article about the Modern Languages Association’s annual meeting by Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors. His new book, No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom, has just been published. Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed.

A generation ago, when the MLA’s Graduate Student Caucus sought to reform the organization, it circulated several posters at annual meetings. Most telling, I thought, was a photograph of the Titanic, captioned “Are you enjoying your assistant-ship?” It was no easy task back then convincing the average tenured MLA member that the large waves towering over our lifeboats would not be good for surfing. Now the average college teacher is no longer eligible for tenure, and the good ship humanities is already partly under water.