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344 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 Major, Andre. A Provisional Life. Trans. Sheila Fischman. Oberon. 148. $ Pingwa, Jia. The Castle. Trans Shao-Pin Luo. York. 8o. $ 12.95 Rastier, Franc;ois. Meaning and Textuality. Trans Frank Collins and Paul Perron. University of Toronto Press. xvii, 282. $24-95 Reeves, Hubert. Latest News from the Cosmos. Trans. Donald Winkler. Stoddart. 224. $29.95 cloth Robin, Regine. The Wanderer. Trans. Phyllis Aronoff. Alter Ego. 184.$17.95 Rodriguez, Carmen. And a Body to Remember With. Arsenal Pulp. 166. $15.95 Santana, Assar-Mary. Bolero. Trans Louise Hinton in collaboration with Suzanne Grenier. Women's Press. 112. $12.95 Savoie, Jacques. Blue Circus. Trans Sheila Fischman. Cormorant. 154. $16.95 Wituska, Krystynaa. I Am First a Human Being. Trans Irene Tomaszewski. Vehicle. 218.$16.95 Humanities David Bercuson, Robert Bothwell, and J.L. Granatstein. Petrified Campus: The Cn"sis in Canada's Universities Random House. vi, 218. $29.95 'As we all know,' these three authors assure us, 'in a good cause a little exaggeration never hurt anyone.' As in their 1984 The Great Brain Robbery: Canada's Universities on the Road to Ruin, their good cause calls Canadian universities to account for inconsistencies in marking standards, strategic planning that eventuates in not much, poorly investigated; and overly hasty responses to accusations of harassment and discrimination, failure to evaluate adequately faculty performance in the post-tenure period, a pagecounting mentality towards mandated publication of often insignificant research, and a failure to differentiate the functions of different orders of institutions so as to preserve a top-flight few. But their cause is weakened by more than a little exaggeration and by a host of other tactics more usually associated with sleazy journalism than with scholarly rigour. They often choose examples to illustrate only one side of a question or a phenomenon and leave contradictory evidence nncited . In this vein; the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia make appearances as institutions which mishandled allegations ofharassment and discrimination in politicalscience deparhnents while the University of Manitoba, haJ:ldling similar issues much more effectively at approximate!y the same time, goes unremarked. Over-generalizationis rife but data and definition aren't. They claim that only 10 per cent of faculty are productive researchers without defining what their criteria for 'active' research are; without defining who is included in this 'statistic' (does it include college faculty, for example, many of whose mandate does not in- HUMANITIES 345 elude research?) and without citing the database from which they draw their inference. The language ofinference over evidence abounds: they 'bet' one thing, 'fear' another, and 'imagine' still worse. So, too, do inaccuracies. They describe tuition fees as 'rising for all students' even though they have been frozen in BC since the election of the current government. They claim in a 'combined eighty years of teaching in three different universities, together with hearsay from every university in the land,' to 'have heard of no more than twenty' instances in which faculty resigned rather than face a likely tenure denial; given three positions created by resignations in the face of likely tenure denial in only one faculty at one university (uBc) in this year alone, one considers nominating them academia's most incompetent gossips. Nor are Professors Bercuson, Bothwelt and Granatstein always consistent . The chapter about separating out the virile goats of academic freedom from the silly sheep of feminist special interest groups, for example, would have it that feminists soon will have achieved goals of equity in employment by virtue of preferential hiring practices and the retirement of 'old, white males.' But elsewhere, a more moderate member of the trio acknowledges that the hiring which should have achieved this has fallen by the wayside of retrenclunent. And nowhere do they cite the readily available statistics on women hired as a proportion of women gaining the PH. o. More ludicrously, these crusaders against minority group rhetoric whinge that the response to The Great Brain Robbery 'would try to marginalize us by accusing us of the foulest kind of thinking.' Bercuson, Bothwell, and Granatstein have, in short, some legitimate points to make about accolliltability in n1any Canadian lliliversities around several issues...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 344-346
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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