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February 24, 1980 - Image 13

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-24
Note:
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Page 6-Sunday, February 24, 1980-The Michigan Doily
*Books
The rambling
sagao one

9

9

The Michigan Daily-Sunday; F

grad review

A

- By Laurence Peters
There has always been a score of
problems with student publica-
tions, a great many dealing with how
one who reads them should classify
them. Are they good enough, and strong
enough, to stand up to their counterpar-
ts in the professional world? Are they
merely vehicles for careerists whose
integrity is compromised by their vaun-
ting ambition to see their name in
print? Are they "serious" training
grounds or merely playthings for young
people who want all the excitemept of
being "writers" or to achieve those
kinds of positions beyond the walls of
college?
Rackham Literary Studies is nestled
uncomfortably within such confines.
Designed as a means for graduate
students in the humanities to get
published more easily than they might
in a professional journal, it has come
under fire by some for being "third
rate." Others say it unimaginatively
apes other scholarly publications
without reflecting graduate students'
real needs.
The truth is that while some
criticisms are certainly warranted,
some are a bit unjustified. The journal
is going through a stage of change
currently, one which leaves it open to
many harsh critiques. Many of the most
strident appraisals have surfaced fairly
recently in a University survey report.
In it a student wrote to the survey
committee that "the essays are awful . .
formally stilted, appealing to no in-
terest but the writer's pretensions
(sic)."
This criticism smacks of wild over-
generalization. The quality of the ar-
ticles lead the prestigious Modern
Language Association to index the
journal in their bibliography. To fur-
ther question this challenge, there is the
fact that 155 American and overseas
university libraries are presently sub-
scribing to the magazine.
11of which is not to say that a good
many of the survey's other
charges were not accurate. One
weakness pointed out was that the jour-
nal was hardly known at all outside the
English and Modern Language depar-
tments, and how even within the
literature departments few grads ac-
tually submitted artifles. A change of
name, it is hoped, will symbolize the
publication's efforts to reach out to a
larger readership. The new journal,
called the Rackhant Journal of the Arts
and Humanities, is asking students of
anthropology, art history, drama, and
philosophy to submit papers. Along
with literature students who used to
Laurence Peters is a Ph.D. stu-
dent in the English and Education
Progragn. ,

write the bulk of the magazine, other
students are being asked to write for an
"educated" readership rather than the
formerly "narrowly. specialized
audience." The editors, Nina
Evarkiou, Martha Goff, and Richard
Prystowsky, admit that to write for a
broader audience is in many ways more
difficult than it is to write for experts.
At the same time, they say, scholarly
standards need not be sacrificed in the
process of requiring writers to be less
arcane in their references and more
patient with their readers.
A glimpse at some back issues under-
scores their point, as does citing such
foreboding articles as "Mayakovsky
and Cubism," or "The Symbolism of
the Human Hand in the Nebelunglied."
The introduction to the latter commen-
ces with the assertion that the reader-
or, those informed in such Germarr
literature-are to immediately bow
their heads to the 'fact that "The
possible genesis of the Nebelunglied
has been the subject of great controver-
sy!" And in the subsequent paragraph
the author continues, proclaiming a
desire "to explore the stylistic and
symbolic significance of one of the
more prominent formulae in the
Nebelunglied by tracing the incidence
of repetitions containing the word
'hand.'"
And even to the most informed, that
probably reads much easier than
an article that appeared entitled
"L'Apotheose de L'Erreur: Etude
du Jeu dans Le Paysan de Paris
D'Aragon" that begins "Des que
P'en dit 'surrealisme,' on evoque la
notion d'une activite ludique. Pour
cette raison, bien des critiques n'ont
jamais pris les surrealistes au
serieux."
But arguments that the publication is
not diverse hold little water at all. One
of the more such innovative features of
the journal has been its section entitled
"Feuilleton," a specialty which strives
for a briefer, more personal and less
scholarly approach to a specific topic.
But this really doesn't seem enough.
The magazine remains a very
unrelaxed, insecure affair, with only
"Feuilleton" or a well chosen graphic
from the University art museums to
break up the persistence of all those
eclectic articles that remind us of
reading not done and authors not ex-
plored.
It is the issue that offers a respite
from obscurity that is the most sterling.
Such an issue is the Fall 1972 one, which
offered an estimable book review of
Louis Kampf and Paul Lauter's The
Politics of English. The review tried to
make the book seem relevant to
graduate students at the University,
and it achieved its goal remarkably
well. The reviewer begins
challengingly by stating "Consider how
'delightful it would be if such a book as

y:
The editors of Rackham Literary Studies, pictured from left to right: Nina
Evarkiou, Martha Goff, Richard Prystowsky.

The Politics 'of Literature were to be
placed in the English department's
Community Reading Room-if such a
place existed."
He goes on to take up as a major
theme the idea that the sort of
lack of contact with fellow
academicians that is set up by the
teacher of literature fosters "in-
dividualism, mutual distrust and
isolation." It is at the end of the review,
when the author returns to his initial
comment on whether the book could be
found in the English department's
common room, that a note of brilliance
is sounded. He says :
Some attempt to set up a com-
munity of mutual regard be-
tween student and teacher,
based on a realization of those
ideas and ideologies that have
up to now prevented any true
understanding of what teach-
ing is, is a necessary first step.
T hat sort of lack of "mutual regard"
found not only in the English de-
ment but all over may well be what the
Rackham Journal of the Arts and
Humanities will help to eradicate. Over
the last few years it has become more
and more true that scholars cannot af-
ford to be myopic in regards to areas of
study beyond their immediate
territory.-Structuralism, for instance,
as a conceptual system cannot be
narrowly isolated as the possession of
either anthropology, linguistics,
psychology, or literary criticism alone.
Rather, the individual interested in this
subject must be aware of advances
happening within each of these
separate disciplines.
A promising new direction for the
periodical is the formation of thematic
issues, through which unity and more
interest might be generated. This was
attempted in the Winter 1976 issue with
a fair amount of success when the jour-
nal was given over to the topic of "Per-
spectives on Narration." A single idea'
being considered for an upcoming issue
is the topic of "Revolution."
With numerous ideas for innovations
contemplated, the.journal is now in a
particularly exciting stage of tran-
sition. A lot will depend on how suc-
cessful the magazine is in its latest call
for submissions (the deadline is until
March 15). The editors stress that they
cannot sit back and be content with
students turning in unreworked term
papers. If recent essays can respond to
the new demands for a more general
readership, if authors can be corraled
from many external disciplines, then
prospects seem bright for the journal to
become a more useful resource for
graduate students. The fruftful
dialogue that the new journal might
then represent may ironically enough.

be closer to the original conception laid
out by the first editors:
. . . we think an important con-
tribution of RLS is helping to
remove those barriers which isolate
each student within his (sic) resear-
ch, his specialty, his discipline . . .
Broadness of appeal, the
requirements of a balanced format,
as well as scholarly interest will con-
tinue to be the criteria which guide
us...
draft
(Continued from Pane 3)
mitment. According to a Carl Levin
spokesman, "the burden is on the army
to prove it needs registration." Both
favor the inclusion of women in the
event registration goes through, but not
in combat roles.
M ANY LONGTIME observers say
that it's the registration plan
that cost Carter votes in the Maine
caucus. (This having occured while
Jerry Brown workers, for instance,
were answering calls on a radio-station
anti-draft hotline with "Hello, Brown
for President").
There are, though, a large number of
dove pressure groups that also oppose
the present volunteer army
system-because they see it as
discriminatory and perpetuating our
society's class and racial imbalance.
The difference between these people
and, say, Senator Nunn, is the reason
for their protests.
The first group faults the volunteer
system because it has been shown
through government-conducted studies
to be attracting mainly minorities and
lower income citizens who have neither
the money to go to college nor the,
education to find skilled work. George
Reedy, who served on President John-
son's National Advisory Commission on
Selective Service, wrote ten years ago,
when the draft was still firmly in place,
that volunteer army advocates
"Assume that the burdens need
not be equitably distributed but can
be made a matter of choice. And in
actuality; this would mean that the
fighting would be left to the poor
and the blacks who, for economic
reasons, really have no choice."
Reedy emphasizes the need to prepare
a "true citizens' army" in case of
military necessity. "To hire people to
perform our obligations is the first step
in the surrender of freedom," he says.
Senator Nunn also wants a man-
datory service system, one which could
possibly include other forms of national
See DRAFT, Page 8,

Again.

The nation lui

for draft registratio

By Eis Isaacson
EYER SINCE PRESIDENT Nixon responded to
the intense Vietnam era anti-war sentiment.
and ended conscription in 1973, people in power
have been working to reinstitute the draft.
Congressional studies on the volunteer army began
coming out in 1977, and the results by and large serve
as fuel for the conscription cause. Then last month, in.
response to Soviet aggression overseas President Car-
ter called for mandatory registration of 19- and 20-
year-olds. The issue is now up for debate in Congress.
But this time around, politicians, military officials,
and civilian war hawks are obscuring the basic
question of whether to reimpose mandatory
registration. Inseparable from the draft debate are
now the questions of whether women should register
along with men, whether there should be deferments
and who should get them, and whether the current
political situation justifies preparation for
mobilization.
Carter's proposal that Congress approve $20.5
million to reinstitute the Selective Service System is
accompanied by a proposal to register women. The fir-
st plan is expected to go through, but Congress has
shown vehement objection to registering women.
Meanwhile, many observers accuse the president of
using the brass ring of equality to encourage women to
support registration and increased defense spending.
Nevertheless, the package js neatly split for
Congressional consumption: One proposal asks only
for $20.5 million to crank up the Selective Service
Elisa Isaacson is co-editor of the Sunday Mag-
azine.

again, while the other asks for authority to register
women. By dividing the question, Carter is practically
assuring the passage of the initial funding plan. He
knows it has support so far in Congress, and he is
keeping that support by freeing it from the more uncer-
tain women's issue.
Also, the fact that there are two proposals might in-
crease the chances of the already more feasible one;
Congressmembers who oppose registration of women
but who don't want to give a blanket nay to both defen-
se plans might feel compelled to compromise and ap-
prove Selective Service funding.
And there Carter has secured a hefty increase in the
defense budget, with the blessings of our regional
representatives. Incidently, the president who cam-
paigned four years ago as the man who would cut
defense spending if elected to the White.House is now
touting his consistant record of annual military budget
increases.
After all, since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan
last month the cold war mentality has surfaced with a
vengeance. More people than the traditionally anti-
SALT, mucho-defense-minded Congressmen like
Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia are ready to pour the
bucks into tanks, bombers, and humanpower-both as
a show of strength and to share with our allies (i.e. any
country that happens now to be against the Soviet
Union). And since this is an election year, it's very im-
portant that the president feel out the mood of the coun-
try and gear his moves to the greatest number of
voters possible.
"I think the president wanted to do something with
minimal political impact that would look kind of
tough," says Barry Lynn, a Washington attorney and
chairman of a national anti-draft coalition. By asking
only 19- and 20-year-olds to register-18-year-olds

would be included in 1981-
group of adults with the l
students don't vote. In s
allowed to cast ballots unl
Though some register to vi
are usually away at school
Another way Carter is i
by registering people in th
the very months students
at various jobs or resort
organize against the ri
remember, it was on collet
the anti-Vietnam-war prot
is also nice and early-per
tion some of the indignatio
Lynn, however, wht
Registration and the Druf
across the country during
may be up against more
"Young people realize they
maneuver," Lynn said las
for a Guild House lunche
"believes they (18-20-
Generation"' and therefor4
In Congress too, Lynn pc
be stiffer than it looked r
State of the Union addr
registration. At that time t
publicly committed again
Now there is a list of a
Republican Senator Mark :
Both Michigan senato
registration. An aide to Do
at this point "inclined no
wants to see more eviden
See DRA

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