Lecture by Lynn Arner (Brock University): “Who Teaches English Doctoral Students?: Pedigree and the Professoriate”

May 22, 2017 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Location and Address

501 Cathedral of Learning


Speaker: Lynn Arner (Brock University)


Abstract: David Colander’s startling article “Where Do PhDs in English Get Jobs?: An Economist’s View of the English PhD Market” examines the placement patterns of PhD recipients in tenure-track positions at American universities and colleges. Colander found that PhD holders who graduated from programs ranked in the bottom half of English doctoral programs held no tenured or tenure-track posts in doctoral programs in the first tier and less than 5% in the second tier. PhD recipients from third-tier English doctoral  programs, which includes the University of Pittsburgh’s English program, fared only marginally better. In Canada, where tuition is relatively cheap, where universities are overwhelmingly public, and where gender equity among Humanities professors is often celebrated, are English PhD holders similarly tracked? Employing her own original data, Lynn Arner     describes the degree patterns of tenured and tenure-track scholars in the twenty-two English doctoral programs in Canada. Arner delineates where faculty members in each tier of English doctoral programs obtained their PhDs. These PhDgranting institutions typically di!er from the schools where contingent faculty obtained their doctorates. Arner explains the elaborate web of patterns between the institutional pedigree of an English doctoral program conferring a PhD and the institutional pedigree of a doctoral program hiring a PhD holder. Such placement patterns intersect with nationality, race, ethnicity, and especially gender, with the extent of these gendered patterns made more stark by publicly unavailable data that Arner and Li Wang processed from Statistics Canada’s repositories. Finally, by engaging with theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Arner discusses the implications of the tracking patterns she has uncovered, with particular emphases on class and gender.


Bio: Lynn Arner is Associate Professor of English at Brock University in Canada. She is the author of Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: Poetry and the Problem of the Populace after 1381; and, with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she is writing a book on class and gender in the professoriate. In addition to guest-editing a special issue of Exemplaria: A Journal of  Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Arner has published articles on various late medieval English texts and on class and gender in the current professoriate in the discipline of English in the U.S. and Canada.


This public lecture is sponsored by the Humanities Center. Light reception to follow.


Lynn Arner (Associate Professor of English at Brock University) will discuss David Colander's article “Where Do PhDs in English Get Jobs?: An Economist’s View of the English PhD Market” during this public lecture, organized by Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellow with an assignment in Film & Media Studies, Diana Anselmo-Sequiera.