Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Cheryl B. Torsney
"The modern University," according to Bill Readings, "has had three ideas: the Kantian concept of reason, the Humboldtian idea of culture, and now the technobureaucratic notion of excellence." "Excellence" euphemistically describes the principle of the university as corporation, as geared toward revenue rather than ideology. This portrayal raises difficult questions for the humanities, as ideological domains. Taking Readings's The University in Ruins as a starting point, this study examines the English discipline within the "university of excellence," considering West Virginia University's department as a case study. It begins by charting the evolution of WVU's self-understanding, from an institution of culture to one of excellence. This foregrounds my discussion of two department chapters---the rise of composition and "theory"---as symptomatic of excellence. The study concludes by relating Readings's views on how academics might orient themselves to the "ruins" of the university so that it remains a space for thinking.
Morris, Joe, "English in the university of excellence" (2001). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 707.