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1 4 Historically Speaking · September/October 2004 increase in difficulty with an increase in the level ofcourses. We need more faculty willing to teach freshperson seminars. We need more seasoned faculty to teach survey courses. We need more faculty to recognize that the "reproduction" of the professoriate , as it has been described to me, is not the most holy task. We need fewer graduate students competing with undergraduates for time with faculty, and fewer graduate students substituting for faculty in classrooms. That is, we need to do more to train our students to be educated citiBruce Kuklick isNichoL·Professor ofAmerican History at the University ofPennsylvania . Hislatestbook isA History ofPhilosophy in America, 1720-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2002). zens. Ain't It Awful? You Bet. It Always Is Leo P. Ribuffo Bruce Kuklick has been one of my best friends for more than three decades. Thus I saywith candor and affection that this article does not represent Kuklick at his best. It reflects an educational background and academic career spent entirely at elite universities . It contains too many self-righteous ex cathedra assertions that even Kuklick does not believe when pressed to think about them. Just as everyperson is his or her own historian , every person is his or her own futurologist . In some dumb sense, to appropriate Carl Becker's phrase, Kuklickas an everyman futurologist made predictions about the future when he acquired mortgages and decided to raise four children. And I suspect he attempted to make those decisions with minimum stupidity. So why should not the rest of us, acting in our capacities as what William Appleman Williams called "citizen historians," engage more broadlyin futurology about something as insignificant as our own craft, business, profession, trade, and— sometimes—racket? Kuklick claims to detest the historybusiness (whatin calmer moments he has described as an honorable "practice") because itis too much ofa racket. Yet, as Kuklick has also admitted in less oracular moments, he has spent much of his career studying intellectual businesses and rackets. Perhaps when pressed Kuklick might admit that our trade deserves the same serious attention he has elsewhere lavished on churchmen, philosophers, archaeologists, and even shortstops . We getno such respect from him here.1 Kuklick's central argument is that historians suffer from "mass professionalization." Simply put, there are more historians than the market can absorb, and this oversupply derives from the propensity ofacademic stars, some ofwhom are also academic racketeers, to build their egos and empires while avoidingundergraduates . This argument is true as far as it goes, but Kuklick oversimplifies the situation, in the process showing an unmerited enthusiasm for market forces absent elsewhere in his work. There seem to be roughly 5,000 academic historians in the United States. Is this too many? The number is no larger than the number of big-time professional athletes—a frivolous occupational cohort Kuklick likes more than historians. Certainly Americans have the right to cast their dollarvotes, to recall an old image from Economics 101, on shortstops rather than professors, but this is not necessarily a good idea. Kuklick forgets that mass professionalization has been an inescapable byproduct of mass education, a development thathas enormously benefited the United States in general and many ofus academics in particular. Ifuniversity education had remained as limited and insular in the 1960s as in the 1930s, Kuklick and I might be hammering nails and sweeping floors as our fathers did rather than enjoying what he recognizes as one of the most pleasant jobs in the world. Indeed, the very pleasantness ofourjob means that supplywill exceed demand most ofthe time. What are the intellectualconsequences of mass professionalization? Kuklick reduces them to a nostalgic assertion that it is now "almost impossible" for people "to discern what is meritorious." I think this is no more true now than in 1966, when I entered graduate school, even though, now as then, I disagreewith mostofourtrade's elite aboutwhat is interesting, important, original and, ideally , both original and pretty much true. As a WilliamJamesian, Niebuhrian, Cold War revisionist, social democratic professor outofsyncwith the elite ofour trade in 2004, I am a noncombatant in the grandioselymisnamed "culture wars" at least partly because I remember, within human limits, what it...


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