Should We Call It PhD "Production"?

Joyce Appleby, March 2003

Perspectives does a wonderful job following history PhDs in America, but I question the use of the term "production" in the recent front-page headline (Perspectives, January 2003). Not only does it employ a market term designed for commodities, which by all its associations denigrates the doctorate, but it's also not accurate. When things are produced, the producers are the animate, thinking actors and the produced is passive. Surely, all doctoral students know who "produces" the work. Why can't we confine ourselves to metaphors that capture what we do as well as what we value?

—Joyce Appleby