It’s so easy to make a wry remark that can be misunderstood. But look, be aware of this if you have PhD students in languages. Yes, the job market is so tough that some weird comment by some committee member can get the committee to turn toward one of the many other excellent candidates. And students can end up with degrees but unemployed. But NOT unemployable, and that’s a difference. Faculty should definitely avoid implying that one grammatical error at an interview will make students unemployable. And if in a field where that’s actually true, they should reevaluate it and themselves. Because look: when you claim that you are not only telling the student their research is irrelevant, you are also telling them that your Ph.D. program, and your own research, and your entire field, are irrelevant. You are telling them that the only things that matter are affirming or mimicking, and performing certain identities. I’m in Spanish and we’re not like this, plenty of important non-native speaking scholars have accents and valuable work and they are respected, and sought after by all. But that’s perhaps because we consider ourselves a field, and we’re about the material and the research, not just about posturing.


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