So I learned the proper term for that irritating thing undergrads often do in essays: “Historian Jane Brown says such-as-such”. (Even worse, they sometimes capitalise the word when it’s in the middle of a sentence.)* At least, I find it irritating. It nearly always seems completely irrelevant and besides, even if a specific essay might require the identification of writers by their disciplinary backgrounds, it just feels wrong to leave out the definite article.
The post points to an explanation both of why students do this and why it jars with me: as Pullum points out, it’s a common construction in newspaper articles. He comments that it feels odd in a novel, but I think it feels equally out of place in academic writing. It’s the wrong style.
Or am I just being peculiar?
*Although I find that generally undergrads capitalise words pretty liberally anyway: Early Modern or Eighteenth Century or Capitalism, etc etc. And History, of course. It doesn’t usually bother me that much, but it feels oddly dated.