My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture
Cornell University Press, $31.95 pb, 229 pp
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.