The English Department in a Changing World

Teaching EnglishThe English Department in a Changing World

Submitter: The cover says enough to explain why this 1985 publication is an awful library book. What’s striking, though, is how little has changed. Thirty years later, English departments still fight to justify their existence to administrators and parents, contend with dwindling resources, and struggle to include diversity in their curriculum. And even as the technology grows more sophisticated, the fundamental debates over the effects of digital media on impressionable minds – as well as the practical value of computer games in the classroom – remains the same.

Holly: I bet this was pretty groundbreaking stuff in 1985. Submitter is right that some (most?) of these concepts are still important 30+ years later. We just approach them from a 21st century mindset now. This is a weeder, for sure. A new book on the history of academia, curriculum, and education would at least put these ideas in the proper context.

English Department back cover

English Department contents

English Department


  1. Ah yes, the video games I played as a kid were so horrible and filled me with nothing but feelings of violence and killing: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic! And just this weekend I wasted my time on playing the Sims 4 when I could have spent that time doing something that didn’t rot my brain cells, like watching reality TV or three-hour-long sequels to movies based on books that nobody else reads! 🙂
    (Seriously, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings years before the live-action movies ever came out)

    1. Sing it, friend. I was using Tengwar script for my history notebook in 1969.

      Also, you kids get out from under my mallorns.

  2. Edit: And that Custer’s Revenge game was made by a company called Mystique, which made unlicensed games that were only for adults and definitely not for kids. But instead of the intended adult “raunchy humor” the games were creepy, gross, and just downright terrible. Custer’s Revenge has gone down in history as one of the worst games ever made, and rightfully so.

    1. I found out about that though a Wikipedian list of bad video games. Such lists get rigidly policed to prevent spiteful or stupid additions, but Custer had enough reliable citations to stay on the list.

  3. LJ Conrad: The thing on the left looks like an old top-loading VCR.

    I recently read a book called “Everything Bad Is Good for You” which was a well-researched persuasive essay about the actual mental benefits of playing video games – a thought-provoking read.

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