Sunday, August 29, 2021

The clichéd Casaubons in "The Chair"

Because enrollment in the English Department in the Netflix series "The Chair" is dropping, the Dean wants high-salaried older professors to take early retirement. The series takes place in the present, so these professors must be in their early sixites. They would have been in high school and college in the seventies, growing up on punk rock and new wave, and in their careers, they would have been engaged in the academic culture wars that began in the 1990s. Yet they are depicted as absent-minded, out-of-touch Casaubons whose scholarship is old-fashioned and whose courses are boring. Such cliches undermine the show's earnest attempts to address the problems of contemporary higher education. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 August 2021)


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