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    Experts in language and literature find tight job market

    One hundred and fifteen tables are set up at the Modern Language Association annual convention for college reps to interview prospective instructors. On Tuesday morning less than 20 of them were being used.

    Language and literature professors are in Philadelphia to discuss translations of Jorge Borges and read poetry as psychoanalysis. But a big part of the annual convention of the Modern Languages Association is far more practical – getting a job in a tight market.

    One hundred and fifteen tables are set up at the Convention Center for college reps to interview prospective instructors. On Tuesday morning less than 20 of them were being used.
     
    But Deirdre McAnally, a grad student studying French at Penn State, said she is doing better than she had imagined in her search for a teaching position.

    McAnally: I carpetbombed the market – I applied for 55 jobs. I got 9 interviews, and I had 4 phone interviews.

    At many colleges, language departments are feeling the knife. Professor Kirk Read of Bates College in Maine says college administrators see them as expendable.

    Read: It’s not sexy. If it’s not Chinese or Arabic these days – if you’re in less commonly taught languages – it can be at your peril. Few enrollments, little interest: boom, you’re gone.

    In 2008, both the University of Southern California and the University of Southern Maine cut their German departments.

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