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Friday, April 23, 2021

Another reason academic debates can be dull

 Often the issue at debate is one of terminology. What to call something, how to classify things, what buzz word we like. There is too much pressure on the language itself. Of course, these debates are necessary, because there are real issue behind the choice of a lexicon, but the illusion is that a correct set of terms will resolve and intellectual issue. It won't. We know this, because the terms keep shifting. What is really behind the debates is legitimation and power. Who gets to decide, who's perspective is legitimate.  

It is dull because it is internal to the field itself. Imagine trying to teach those debates to undergraduates who aren't going to be professors later. Why should they care about some professor's pet terminology? I'm happy if they don't call a play a short story

{We got in a debate the other day about the basic language program. The word basic come under fire because it is demeaning, supposedly. We need a more dignified language to talk about students who literally cannot speak the language yet. The students are incompetent at speaking Spanish, or they would be in a higher numbered class, and there is nothing wrong with that either.}

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