Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Professorial Eccentricity

Phoebe has an intriguing post about the apparent decline of professorial eccentricity. High-functioning eccentrics is what she entitled the post. FLG commented over there, but then something else occurred to him when he went back and saw that Jacob Levy had commented.

As far as FLG can tell, the University of Chicago accepts nerds and turns them into super-nerds, most of whom seem to pursue a PhD. Consequently, isn't the University of Chicago pretty much a high-functioning eccentric factory?


The Ancient said...

Maybe all the "eccentric slots" have been taken over by people in "new disciplines."

(I mean, have you ever listened to Cornel West? Or just about anyone in a "cultural" or "women" studies program"? Perhaps the manifestation of "eccentricity" has simply migrated from physical dishevelment to its intellectual counterpart.)

Phoebe said...

I think most UChicago undergrads major in econ, and from there it's not typically onto a PhD program. They usually seemed very normal, but of my set, yes, lots of now-PhD students, lots of eccentrics.

Miss Self-Important said...

Econ is the biggest major, but only by a plurality, not a majority. And many of the econ majors are international students often being paid by their governments to study and required to return to manage the Singaporean economy, so I don't know how we'd determine their position on an eccentricity/normality scale.

But yes, academic intensity (though not always success) is an important element of one's social reputation at Chicago. There is more pressure to be serious about school than at places that encourage excellence in all student pursuits--from school to sports to alcohol intake.

Phoebe said...

I remember hearing majority not plurality, but thinking how could that be, because I met maybe three econ majors, ever. (OK, more, but not many more.)

Jacob T. Levy said...

My recollection is that it's about 25% of BAs, which is probably a majority within the social sciences division.

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