[log in to unmask] said:

> at the same time we can hardly expect a scholar working on, say, the
> syntax of the films by john ford to always be looking out for how this
> scholarship might be useful . . . that's not what scholars do

Agreed.  But my further question is, "should the scholars be teaching
arcane lines of  research to undergraduates"

Having read Weddle's article and the various reactions to it, I think
there is another dimension of this case that deserves exploration: the
context for a dopey exam question. Having taught film and film theory to
undergraduates (not graduate students) for over 20 years, I read that exam
question with consternation and distress.  It reads like a question that
MIGHT show up on a Ph.D. oral exam....or it is probably more appropriate
as the topic for a paper at a specialized conference.  (I have this uneasy
suspicion that the instructor who gave that exam was trolling for insights
for an upcoming conference presentation.)

In recent years, I have grown progressively disturbed by the way that
undergraduate education has become preoccupied with the narrow and
idiosyncratic specializations of graduate education --> or with the narrow
topics that are the research programs of the instructors.

I continue to hold that students who are studying the film production can
benefit profit from learning about film theory -- in fact, I have had
students say that they finally understood how to analyze a film after a
film theory course.  Likewise film studies students MUST know something
about film production.

But there are levels of theory appropriate for undergraduates, and that
exam question looks inappropriate to me.  There are extenuating
circumstances that might lead me to revise that opinion -- like the level
of the course or the assignments leading up to that one -- but, assuming
that the Weddle daughter's testimony about pervasive class confusion was
remotely accurate, the exam question needs more than glancing

North Adams, MA

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