Academic Jargon without Kool Aid

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

It turns out that we outsiders are not the only ones who have developed a jaundiced view of academic jargon. Insiders who don’t like Kool Aid also find it inane.

“Young people are now told that they must produce ‘original’ research to get into the best graduate schools—never mind that they’ve just arrived at college and barely know their way around the fields they might want to pursue,” Elizabeth Corey writes in the Spring 2017 issue of Modern Age. “A technique called ‘rapid prototyping,’ pioneered by computer engineers, advocates quickly moving from initial idea to implementing without agonizing over perfecting anything at all.”

“College professors are now informed, without irony, that they should work this way too.” Corey teaches at Baylor University.

Of course, this trend will work well with fads in academe that are already ideologically loaded but have done little to contribute to the sum of human knowledge. “Methods of study like ‘standpoint theory’ and other allied varieties of perspectivism have made the pedagogy of the oppressed an institutional mainstay in university programs like Gender and Sexuality Studies, Africana Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Jewish Studies,” Corey notes. “Each day’s news in the Chronicle of Higher Education is full of articles about race, affirmative action, diversity, inclusion, equity, ‘campus climate,’ protests, equality, intersectionality, and much more.”