The 5 most annoying types of authors to read for a seminar

The 5 most annoying types of authors to read for a seminar

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Illustration: Malin Johannesson

The semester comes to an end and not only Christmas is close but also the deadlines for all the assignments and scientific papers we postponed for months – time to rant about some of the most  annoying and usually related kinds of authors which manage to beat the fun out of academia:

1.  The «Look how many people I know»
This guy is probably most common in the social sciences and humanities. No matter if all his
sources give the same information: He will eagerly drop name after name, again and again and
again, to prove how literate he is. Combined with in-text citation the readings turn into an
incomprehensible mess of names and numbers that perfectly hide any real information.
2.  The «I wanted to write more than one book»
The small subject of Sinology (Chinese Studies) is famous for this kind of author. In footnotes
that sometimes occupy more than 50 percent or even go on over several pages this guy is able
to start whole discourses over what Confucius intention for a single certain character was.

3. The «See how many languages I know»
This guy knows his bildungsroma, the homo sacer and of course the ancient regime, all
together. In best case he read his literature in its original language and of course there is no
reason to not throw loanwords around like dollars in the club – how else should one see his
polyglot skills.

4. The «So many fancy words»
Speaking of polyglot; this guy will not rest until the very last sentence contains at least one
way to complicated and far too less known synonym of an everyday word. Food? Why not

5. The «I did not understand the English language»
From the first steps in learning English, every foreigner is taught how basic the structure of its
sentences is – the Brit loves his simple sentence. But this does of course not stop academics
from connecting several sentences in a row and attaching dependent clauses to them until the
monster has reached a length of a dozen lines. The more complex my sentence is the smarter
am I, right?

About the author

Lukas J. Herbers
Lukas J. Herbers är fotograf på Lundagård sedan hösten 2014.

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