Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If only I were a character on the Mary Tyler Moore Show....

I'm thinking of an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which Our Mary registers for a college journalism course taught by an egotistical professor who assigns his own textbook as required reading. Sleazeball move, yes? And yet I find myself disappointed when my upper-level literature students fail to consult essays I've published when those essays are directly related to their paper topics.

On the one hand, I don't want to require my students to read my work; on the other hand, some of the things I've written could prove helpful. 

When I read advanced students' research proposals, I often recommend additional sources they've overlooked: "You'll want to consult Paul Gilroy on the Black Atlantic," I write, or "John Lowe's treatment of Hurston's use of humor would be helpful here." You would think students would take note of those recommendations, but I didn't see Gilroy or Lowe cited in any of the papers I've just finished grading. If students are comfortable ignoring the big guns, I guess I shouldn't take it personally when they ignore my own humble contributions to the scholarly conversation.

But: my articles would have been helpful. And I told them so. And they ignored my recommendation.

Why would a student (or a class full of students) do that?

Our Mary would know. Where's Mary when we really need her?

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