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Re: Personal titles [was: st: Thanks (was ...) ]

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   Re: Personal titles [was: st: Thanks (was ...) ]
Date   Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:34:40 -0500

At 01:13 PM 8/8/2007, n j cox wrote:
I don't think this need be as difficult or
as complicated as might be feared, nor need we shy
off the topic as hypersensitive. I can't
comment on medieval practices, but here is
one middle-aged view.
My wife always chuckles whenever a student calls and asks for Professor Williams. My own attempts to get my wife and kids to call me Professor Williams have, alas, failed for decades now. :)

When contacting someone I don't know I tend to refer to them as Professor or Dr. or Ms. or whatever, but subsequent exchanges often become much more informal. Lists generally have a pretty casual feel though and people are on a first-name basis. As Nick and others have noted, in most cases I wouldn't know what title to use even if I wanted to. Indeed, in many cases I have no idea whether the writer is a beginning graduate student or a professor emeritus, and I am often surprised when I find out somebody is a lot more junior or senior than I had suspected.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
OFFICE: (574)631-6668, (574)631-6463
HOME: (574)289-5227
EMAIL: Richard.A.Williams.5@ND.Edu

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