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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
In what department does Dr. Burt teach?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2035  Thursday, 23 August 2001

From:           Louis Swilley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Aug 2001 16:38:17 -0500
Subject:        In what department does Dr. Burt teach?

Dr. Richard Burt and others teaching about pornography - are they in the
Literature departments of their universities?  If so, shouldn't they
more properly be in History, Anthropology, Sociology or Psychology
departments?

I recently observed several classes given in a course in a university
English Department; the course dealt with "literatures of several
cultures," and the professor seemed to think that exclusively pointing
out regional and cultural curiosities reflected in various parts of a
works constituted a proper *literary* address; whereas it seemed to me
that the course as given was indistinguishable from one in a department
of Sociology or Anthropology - the pieces of each work used as
illustrations of ideas more appropriately examined in one or the other
of those other departments.

Have we that here in the courses of Dr. Burt and others of his
interests?

In times ancient and now, alas, apparently hardly revered, I was taught
that the *address* to the subject defined a course's placement among the
departments of a school and that the *aspect* or *dimension* of it was
that which was, above all, to be made clear to one oneself as teacher,
and to one's students.  Evidently, these distinctions have become
unfashionable, and now we are to blur our way through the several
disciplines.

L. Swilley

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