By revising liberal arts education to prepare graduates to negotiate professional authority in their fields, I believe English studies academics can undertake our side of this collaboration. I argue that negotiating our own professional authority can fur- ther key goals for each constituency. On the one hand, it can forward English studies' goals of encouraging critical thinking, cultural analysis, and preparation for democratic citizenship. On the other, it can forward public constituencies' goals of more equitable professional lay interactions and more effective preprofessional training. By entering this kind of negotiation ourselves, we can make it part of what humanities instruction teaches. By teaching students to negotiate professional authority with lay people, we can help to construct the practices of a more democratic professional and civic life. Yet to undertake this negotiation, we must learn to work productively with the moments of professional-lay tension we encounter, both in the classroom and out.
Arts and Humanities
Ghosts: Liberal Education and Negotiated Authority
College English, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Jan., 2002), pp. 302-325