Blogs > Cliopatria > Jonathan Dresner: Fish Caught

May 28, 2004 7:34 pm

Jonathan Dresner: Fish Caught

To the Editor,

Stanley Fish's call for academics to focus on academics, to the exclusion of public engagement is both short-sighted and anachronistic. We are long past the days when professors were monastics, hardly aware of the world around them: we are aware, even proud, that our work is relevant, and were it not so we would be properly rebuked.

The idea of discussing the direction of research without influencing and being influenced by contemporary concerns is absurd. The notion that we can debate course content without implicitly debating our influence on the wider world is silly.

And I wonder what Dr. Fish thinks of the new entrepreneurial model of academia, that we should be more engaged in activities which produce economic returns? Do we have no say, shall we not care in how our intellectual output is sold and used? Is that responsible?

Jonathan Dresner, Ph.D.
Department of History
University of Hawai'i at Hilo

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