Friday, November 6, 2009

The Program No Professor Should Be Without

Everybody complains about academic writing, but nobody does anything about it. Now, some brainiacs at the University of Chicago Writing Program have at last brought technology to bear on the crisis. Tired of reading turgid, jargon-laden, politically correct prose? Sorry, can't help you there. But if you're tired of writing it, the U of C has just the tool for you: the Automatic Academic Sentence Generator. Just pick a few terms from the drop-down menus--like "the gendered body", "the nation-state," or "epistemology"--click, and you can get something like this:
The politics of normative value(s) may be parsed as the (re)formation of the nation-state:
Is that not quite what you meant? No problem! Click again for an instant edit, and you get this:
The (re)formation of the nation-state may be parsed as the politics of normative value(s).
This little device is good for a department meeting's worth of amusement at least. Try it for yourself, and don't miss the avatars Pootwattle, the virtual academic, and Smedley, the virtual critic.