What is it that people just don’t get about your field? I’m interested in hearing about the single thing that academics or other professionals find people misunderstanding about their area. What’s the worst question people ask you when they hear what your subject is? Or the simple misunderstanding which always derails conversations? You’re welcome to rant about zombie factoids, lament about the Daily Mail’s attitude to your work, or suggest the one thing that you could print on your business card to forestall the problem. Is your case the fault of the press, the field’s failure to explain itself, or people’s assumptions about what an academic topic looks like?
So far I’ve heard from a few people – one was frustrated that people assume “education = teaching”, another is tired of being asked “so did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, then?” and a third is hampered from discussing the complexities of her field by people telling her it isn’t an academic subject. Whether you want to write a 500 word piece for posting on the blog, or a snarl in the comments below, I’d love to hear it.