February 13, 2015, 4:14 pm

When You Have A Hammer: Social Media Civil Wrongs

hammer_nail_outlineMy attention is drawn today to an ongoing story about a right-wing faculty blogger at Marquette University who is facing unemployment for trashing a graduate instructor on his blog. Bloggers everywhere may wish to take note — and they may also want to make sure their social media style doesn’t violate university policies.

The original incident occurred in November 2014, and the professor, John McAdams was suspended without pay on December 18.  On February 5,  Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Education reported that things have become more serious and McAdams is now fighting termination. Jaschik writes:

The university says [McAdams] behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech. He also maintains that…

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February 5, 2015, 5:52 am

Historians: Beware of Movie Producers Bearing Gifts

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“It’s about mosquitoes, see. But it’s about more than mosquitoes. It’s about life — lived on the edge, unpredictable and with a frisson of colonial erotics!”

In case you did not read it (and I obviously didn’t until I was on a delightful long train ride in the Black Forest en route to a conference in Freiburg), check out J. R. McNeill’s hilarious account of his Hollywood moment in Perspectives on History (December 2014.) You may recall that McNeill won the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge book prize a few year’s back for Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1640-1914(New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 2010.) McNeill, who as my father used to say is funnier than a crutch on ice, writes:

One afternoon while I was struggling to grade midterm exams in my…

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January 27, 2015, 4:52 pm

Ending It All; Or, Why Not Retire?

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Write all morning, surf all afternoon. Oh yeah.

A dear friend and collaborator has just entered a well-deserved retirement. When I wrote to congratulate her and express my senior envy, she replied: “Do the math, Radical. It’s closer than you think.” I hope so. Of course, she was always better at math than I.

I am, like many people, more ambivalent about retirement than that sounds. I love my work, but I love some aspects of it more than others; I find some activities more rewarding than others; and there are other things, that I used to love, that make me grumpy. I can never tell from year to year what those things will be. For example, here’s a big yuck for you: I think committee service has its appeals. Certainly as someone was hired as a mid-career prof by a large urban university, it had been one of the few…

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January 25, 2015, 12:00 pm

On Gay Marriage and the Trouble With Queer

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From left, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, same sex marriage litigants. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

There are plenty of righteous political arguments against LGBT people organizing their lives around marriage and family formation. I say this as someone who was relieved to learn I was a lesbian, even though coming out was tough, because the last thing I wanted was to marry and parent children. I wanted work, and I wanted freedom, and being a person who was legally barred from both parenthood and marriage was a huge relief. I also took it too far, and made myself obnoxious to others. People who knew me when I was young may remember that I could be downright nasty towards the special insights, pleasures and benefits that many of my feminist mentors associated with mothering (whatever afterlife you are in, Sara Ruddick

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January 21, 2015, 12:00 pm

How Tenured Radical Thinks The GOP Will Respond To Obama’s Plan For Free Community College

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January 17, 2015, 1:07 pm

The Mysteries of Facebook: Part II

Anonymous-Mask-01Last night I broke my only New Year’s Resolution: don’t argue, or provoke others to argument, on social media. What I am talking about is what I call “the cycle.” This is a mental feedback loop of incessant open-ended arguing, often with insults and others jumping in and repeating arguments already made.This is accompanied by obsessive checking of Facebook (or Twitter) to see what the latest insult to my personal integrity is. It’s one of several things about Facebook that make me feel bad, just bad. It is also a humungous time waster.

The worst thing is that, when it happens, it is usually entirely my own fault.

Here’s what happens: scrolling through my feed, someone I do not know posts a comment or status update that has elements  that are bound to annoy me. These might include:  a statement that poses as radical, but actually just repeats a well-known political critique; an…

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January 13, 2015, 2:25 pm

The Mysteries of Facebook: Part I

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You win, Mark Zuckerberg!

During the orientation for a meditation class I signed up to take this winter, the instructor notified us that we would need to make between 40 and 60 minutes a day available for our practice. “You need to figure out where you are going to find that time,” he said, calmly but firmly.

The first thought that popped into my head was: Facebook. Duh.

I spend a lot less time on Facebook now than I have in the past. Sometime last year I removed the Facebook app from my iPhone (by chance, I learned yesterday while listening to NPR that this might have already boosted my creativity by allowing me to be bored while waiting in line at Murray’s Bagels.) I consciously turn Facebook off when I am writing, so that my concentration is not interrupted by unnecessary multitasking. I decided that…

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January 5, 2015, 12:47 pm

The Rules Were Not Suspended: What Happened at the AHA Business Meeting

grumpy_noYesterday afternoon the members of the American Historical Association (AHA) present at the business meeting were asked to take up several resolutions proposed by Historians Against the War (HAW). These resolutions proposed that the AHA condemn the state of Israel for alleged violations of academic freedom against both US and Palestinian scholars; and for attacks on research centers in Gaza last summer. You can read the resolutions here; you can read accounts of the meeting at History News Networkin my Twitter feed (I was sitting right behind Rick Shenkman, so I guess we were the press section) and in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The business meeting had been preceded by a session organized by the Mid-Atlantic Radical Historians Organization (MARHO). It too was organized late and was not on the program, although it was well publicized in the weeks leading up to the annual…

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January 3, 2015, 4:30 pm

Being a Public Intellectual: Historians and the Public

These are my prepared remarks from session 130, #AHA2015.monopoly-man-231x300

Tenured Radical was launched on October 18, 2006, in New Haven Connecticut. In a little more than seven years I have written 1,794 posts on topics as various as the humanities job market, national politics, sexual assault, books, writing, and the BDS movement. Although I began writing under a pseudonym, that only lasted for a few months, since I was quickly outed by my students. That turned out to be a good thing, however: not only has blogging brought me a great many opportunities in the old and new media worlds, it also became a place where I have been able to articulate my ideas and observations about higher education from the perspective of someone who has been in school, in some fashion, for over half a century now.

In the summer of 2010, I received a call from The Chronicle of Higher Education, asking me if I would…

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December 31, 2014, 1:57 pm

Going Gay at the AHA

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Cary Grant models inappropriate convention wear for your edification.

Following up on yesterday’s suggestions for out-of-towners, we asked Flirtatious Freddie, our tenured ace reporter, where queer historians might want to make new friends or dance with old ones. We got this reply:

“The hottest club that seems to make NYC feel like NYC is Viva but the cover is $30–Saturday night,” Freddie tells us. Tenured Radical researchers looked it up and saw that “shirtlessness is encouraged but not required.” Use your judgement, full professors! “There is no cover but plenty of dancing at Industry in Hells Kitchen, only a few blocks from the Hilton,” Freddie continues, “while Atlas Social Club, also quite near, is good early — between 11pm and 1:30am most weekend nights. In general, there are a dozen bars in Hells…

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