Reflection/Summary: “Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?”

Rothman makes an interesting juxtaposition about academic writing. He states that academic writing is supposed to be “dry but also clever; faceless but also persuasive; clear but also completist,” but yet it is “actually among the most personal writing there is.”  He attributes this paradox to the “very small audience of hyper-knowledgeable, mutually acquainted specialists” that academic writing targets.

Rothman goes further to attribute the marginalization of academic writing to the “tightly-packed, super-competitive jungle” authors face when publishing.  This is due to the shrinking interest in topics which would have, at one time, had an audience of like-minded academics.


Rothman, Joshua. “Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?” The New Yorker. Advance Publications, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 May 2016. <>.

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