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The Politics of InterpretationIdeology, Professionalism, and the Study of Literature$
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Patrick Colm Hogan

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780195062724

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195062724.001.0001

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The Ideology of the Humanities and the Political Economy of Criticism: Notes Toward the Constitution of an Anarchist University

The Ideology of the Humanities and the Political Economy of Criticism: Notes Toward the Constitution of an Anarchist University

Chapter:
(p.173) 5 The Ideology of the Humanities and the Political Economy of Criticism: Notes Toward the Constitution of an Anarchist University
Source:
The Politics of Interpretation
Author(s):

Patrick Colm Hogan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195062724.003.0005

The extensive ideological uniformity of the American university, its frequent operation as a sort of organ of state propaganda, has been widely discussed and analyzed. The concrete economic reasons for this uniformity have been explored also. This chapter discusses some of the ideologies of the discipline of English and some of the political and economic factors which may be said to condition these ideologies. It examines the dissemination of official ideologies in our classrooms. Rather than taking up the common theme of ahistorical thought, it is concerned with the more narrowly and obviously political function of directly teaching imperialist distortions of history, explicitly confining the range of possible debate within the problematic of capitalism, and so on. It is argued that this is not at all unknown in our composition classes—or, for that matter, our literature classes. Following a discussion of this issue, the chapter turns to the economy and political structure of the English department and its place in the university. From here, it considers the economics of criticism in the profession as a whole. It concludes with some utopian conjectures on the way in which the university might be restructured, to its intellectual and moral benefit, along anarchist lines, lines which might foster the sort of dialectic discussed in Chapter 4 which is to a great extent suppressed by the actual structures of the university today.

Keywords:   American university, ideology, ideological uniformity, English, English department

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