Susan D. Blum: My Word!

Plagiarism will always be with us

Timothy Roberts


My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture
by Susan D. Blum
Cornell University Press (Footprint Books)
$31.95 pb, 229 pp, 9780801476617


Plagiarism, like death, taxes, and hangovers, will always be with us. Tackling the problem historically, anthropologist Susan Blum demonstrates how this scourge has traditionally infested selective entry tests like fleas on rats. Her fascinating exposé of the ingenious techniques used to conceal plagiarism during the imperial Chinese court’s brain-bending entrance exams, for example, demonstrates that nothing has changed. Yet while Blum’s historical perspective prevents her from obsessively blaming ‘today’s youth’, she nevertheless acknowledges plagiarism’s increasing prevalence.

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Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts is a Melbourne-based writer whose current interests include Victorian literature, evolutionary biology and Roman history. His essays, reviews and articles have been published in The Age, College Literature, The Australian Rationalist, The New Matilda and The European Legacy, among many others. He is also the author of four student guides to classic and modern works of literature. Much of his writing can be found on his website.

Published in April 2011 no. 330

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