Friday, December 08, 2006

To Question Why?

Again, I am baffled and confused by the actions of so-called "learned academics/professors".

Our supposed-to-be respected and learned professors who run the University of Queensland at St. Lucia, Brisbane have scrapped the study of American literature! Can you believe this? I can't. America, the world's dominant power and our most important ally, has had the study of its literature taken off the list of courses offered at Queensland University! I might be repeating myself, but I have to do so to believe what I'm reading and hearing!

What is happening at St. Lucia? In the past two years four key positions have been lost, all in the area of literature. They have lost a professor, a senior lecturer and a lecturer in the fields of Australian and American literature. Courses are being diminished and staff sacrificed in the English department...the department of English Cultural Studies and Art History. Apparently the cuts are not just in literature, but in history and philosophy, as well.

This is a scandal, but you can bet your bottom dollar further discussion or exposure of this hard-to-fathom move will be pushed under the rug!

The 2007 Professor of Australian Literature and Cultural History (new title), the director of the centre, Professor David Carter has reportedly said '"the univerisity's long tradition of teaching Australian literature would continue...the future is not all bleak.'" Somehow, I'm not totally convinced by his utterances!

Umm...someone should remind him and the other so-called "learned professors" at the university who have abandoned the study of American literature there is a saying going around..."no man is an island"....I think this may apply to the nation of Australia, also...


  1. Hi Lee,

    First visit for a couple of days - great posts, specially on the subject of friends...

    Go the Aussies eh? - what a game that was, I couldn't leave the TV - just like an exciting one-day finish!

    And, American Studies - my suspicion is that it is not at the top of the list that our fee-paying, international students are keen on ?

    Bureaucrats and economic rationalisation - I think the whole way our Universities are heading does not bode well for thefuture, back to education for the rich - how sad!

  2. You're right,'s all so political nowadays. Granted, emphasis is being put on sciences, engineering etc., but to scrap the study of American literature seems to be a desperate, thoughtless exercise to my way of thinking. It's not only American literature that's taken a hit, but also the study of Australian literature.

    Henry Lawson, 'Banjo Paterson', Judith Wright, Ethel Turner, Morris West, Marcus Clarke, Patrick White, Frank Hardy, C.J. Dennis, Xavier Herbert, Dymphna Cusack, Mary Gilmore, Frank Slessor, Amy Witting, Miles Franklin, George name just a few...I guess our great writers and those of America...never the Twain shall meet!

  3. Arts courses arent very profitable for universities. And if I had to guess, I'd say this course was dropped because of a combination of lack of interest from the students and/or the faculty (ie, losing the only faculty member able to deliver it)
    When I was at university, in the four years I was there, my university scrapped classics, several languages (including Russian, German and French) and plenty of other courses.
    It's a supply and demand thing.

  4. If they are anything like American Universities, the funding will go useful courses like Understanding Vegan Cross Dressers, or Native American Left Handed Albino Studies. Most Americans don't even know American literature, it pales in comparison to playing HALO on the X-Box. Oh well, my kids are dumber than a door knob, but they play a mean game of Grand Theft Auto. G'Day

  5. Howdy, fasternu..thanks for dropping by! I bet your kids beat you at the computer games! ;)

    Nice to see you again, Aurelius, too.

    Well, of course, the emphasis is put on other things these days and I guess it's difficult to find jobs at the end of one's university years and there would be not many positions available for experts in Australian and American literature. It seems a shame to me if these go by the wayside but I suppose those who are interested enough in them will seek out where to study them.

  6. I think history is a very important subject, yet it struggles against other more popular course subjects as commented upon previously.
    We need to learn from history and especially about the history of the current most powerful nation on earth, like it or not, namely America.

    Its interesting to note, I understand that eight up-and-coming University of Queensland researchers were honoured with awards from that university this year( grants)in the faculty of Arts in such diverse areas as the ethics of terrorism, reducing greenhouse gases in coal-fired power stations, new treatments for breast cancer and science communication.

    An understanding of American history and their impact on the rise in terrorism I would have thought was vital to support such studies. There is an interdependency to learn through history what was sustainable and ethical in the past and the mistakes that moulded civilisations and led to their collapse.

    The Rise in Terrorism has occurred concurrent to the occupation of Territory, linked to history and linked to American involvement.

    To reduce green house gases through fire –power stations it’s very helpful to understand the history that took place in the world largest economy as an important reference point to existing applications and likely future trends.

    Maybe the fee paying American students are not very interested in their own history. I have a friend who takes in a group of Undergraduate students for lecturing each year; He is surprised at their lack of coverage on current events and poitical aspects to the war and the like, when he poses questions to them.

    Best wishes

  7. Hi Lee, How sad that these decisions are made, I believe Della is right on the "money" here, what disgrace! The fires in Victoria are a real worry again! Thanks for visit to my site. Cheers Margaret

  8. I believe history is a most important subject, both our own and that of America...and I don't preface the learning about American history with 'like it or not'.

    On July, 4th 1776...The Declaration of Independence included the following:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed."

    These are the rights we Australians believe in, too. And these are the rights we have fought for in many battles throughout the years. We fight for the right of the individual...the right to 'be' and we must never lose sight of the rights we now enjoy. We must never lose hold of them.

    Terrorism is the actions of cowards. Cowards who are envious of the rights the Western World. Envy is an evil motivator.

    To be blunt and simple...the perpetrators should get off their butts and put their energies where they would help best...not in attempts at destroying what they wish they could have! They don't have the guts to strive to improve their lives or the living standards of their people. They just want to tear the 'achievers' down. They are not honest in their actions. They don't use their minds. That is their enemy...not the Western World. So easily they put their hand out for aid from the Western World, but then as easily turn and spit in our faces. They have abandon reason a long time ago and until they realise that and do something about it themselves, for themselves...the war against terrorism will continue, unabated.

    So many are ready to scoff and ridicule the United States of America...I am not one of those. I would rather have them as our ally, and am proud to have them as one of our Allies...

    I will go down fighting if ever my rights and freedom is threatened. I will never be dictated to by a who demands obedience from its surrender one's mind and life to such is not our way of life in the free Western World. Terrorists, like dictators are parasites.

    Now, I'll get down off my soap-box!
    But as I take the step down, I'll finish off what I started by saying...I believe history is a very important subject. Our youth must learn why and how we got to where we are today...and why it is so important to hang on to what we have and what we believe in!