Creative academic papers

Academic wisdom - a burrowing owlOn Academic Boredom

Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, October 2005; vol. 4, 3: pp. 319-324.

This paper gets a 10 from me. One of the few academic papers that’s made me laugh out loud. Written by a PhD student (English Dept) at Cambridge University. Hope you can get hold of a copy. Thanks Amir, you made my day.

A sample from the opening lines:
While few would deny that some kind of boredom is part of the culture of research and teaching in the Humanities, there are, however, two reasons why it is worth considering academic boredom as a species of boredom in its own right. First, it is not at all clear that the word ‘boredom’ refers to a coherent topic with an essential character. Since the word first gained currency in the 18th century, ‘boredom’ has come to be used to describe circumstances as various as the restlessness of a child on a car trip, the sense of monotony in assembly-line work, a crippling sense that the universe has no purpose, and there being nothing worth watching on television. These may not all be the same. Whereas, the kind of boredom experienced in university departments is of a very particular kind. It is most easily identified in terms of affect: the sense that the seminar is never going to end, that the speaker will never get to the point, that the articles one is reading are proceeding at a glacial pace, that one simply cannot get into a discussion, that one dreads getting into it in the first place.” (p.319)

Image: Burrowing owl, Wikimedia Commons

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