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The Global Future of English Studies

ISBN: 978-0-470-65494-1
224 pages
April 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
The Global Future of English Studies (0470654945) cover image


  • The Global Future of English Studiespresents a succinct, carefully documented assessment of the current state and future trajectory of English studies around the world.
  • Compiles data on student enrollments, faculty hiring, and financing in English studies around the world including China, home to more English majors than the U.S. and U.K. combined
  • Rejects prevailing narratives of contraction and decline that dominate histories of the discipline
  • Stresses English studies' expansion within a rapidly expanding global academic apparatus, and the new challenges and opportunities such sudden and dispersive growth presents
  • Essential reading for anyone interested in studying or teaching English in higher education
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

PART I The Future of English Enrollments: Massification and Global Demand 1

I Beyond Crisis 3

II Let’s Do the Numbers 9

III Not a Bust but a Boom 27

PART II The Future of English Professors: Efficiency versus Prestige in the Age of Global Rankings 51

I The Economics of Massification 53

II Doing More with Less 57

III Demand for the Doctorate 65

IV Credentials Fever 76

PART III The Future of the English Curriculum: Literary Studies in Its Global Aspect 105

I The End of the Discipline as We Know It 107

II Language versus Literature 115

III China: English Plus, Literature Minus? 126

IV English Studies and “Culture Studies” in Europe and Australia 141

V Creative Writing for a Creative Economy 157

VI The Global English Major 172


Index 193

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Author Information

James F. English is Professor of English and the Director of the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Comic Transactions: Literature, Humor, and the Politics of Community in Twentieth-Century Britain (1994), The Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction (2005), and The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value, which was named Best Academic Book of 2005 by New York Magazine.

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"At last, some good news! In this informative study, James English brings a much-needed sociological perspective to current debates on the state of literary studies. Embracing a global viewpoint and offering some eye-opening statistics, he persuasively shows why the future of English literature is far healthier and more hopeful than its doomsayers have predicted."
Rita Felski, University of Virginia

"By shifting perspective on the discipline of English from a narrative of crisis and decline to the story of a globally transformed and expanding field, James English forces a radical revision of our understanding of what the discipline is and what it might be. Witty, learned, analytically rigorous, and cosmopolitan in its reach, this is the most important account of the state of the discipline currently available."
John Frow, University of Melbourne

"This is an impassioned and timely defence of the academic study of English worldwide."
Richard Todd, University of Leiden

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