Sorry saga of PhDs

August 6, 1999

No one told me it was going to be easy to get funding for my PhD or to find a job afterwards. I spent four years in different jobs after completing my MPhil, paying off debts and saving for three years of further study. During the PhD the only funding I got was Pounds 3,000 from Manchester University which, in the final year of my research, recognised its quality. During my three years I have combined teaching with other jobs. I have published three major academic articles and a publisher is interested in my thesis. The reason I cannot find a job? The research assessment exercise, which favours academics who have churned out publications regardless of quality. My thesis provides a major re-reading of a canonical author. In an era when theory is preferred to content, how can a literary project compete with gay theory and cultural hybridity?

James Whitehead, Dunham Town, Cheshire

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