September 28, 2014, 1:55 pm

When Gerda Lerner Calls, Answer

UW-Madison_history_professor_Gerda_LernerBecause it’s always Women’s History Month here at Tenured Radical, I’m happy to announce that Why Women Need to Climb Mountains – A Journey of Discovery with Dr. Gerda Lerner, the documentary about this pioneering historian of women, is well on its way to completion.  But we need your help.

As Director Renata Keller and producer Kathy Bayer write,

We’re thrilled to have completed production on the first and only documentary about pioneering feminist historian Dr. Gerda Lerner. After 2 years of hard work, navigating financial and practical challenges, and unfortunately losing Gerda in the middle of filming, we’re very happy to have come this far.

We’ve received financial support from foundations in Austria and the US, as well as generous individuals worldwide – and we still need to raise $62,000 (48,000 euros) to edit and complete the film this winter. We hope to…

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September 25, 2014, 4:00 pm

Hello? No, Ello!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.56.05 PMAs if we at Tenured Radical did not spend enough time on Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts, Skype and blogging, now there is this Ello thing. Ello? Ello is a new social networking site that advertises itself as “totally ad-free. Ello does not sell data about you to third parties, including advertisers and data brokers,” they promise.

News of this Ello started popping up in my Facebook feed last week. Queer academic colleagues were vowing to leave the Big Blue Monster because of a policy that forces San-Francisco based drag queens to use their legal names. It is not just drag queens, and has only been enforced in the Bay Area: I think Facebook is forcing everyone everywhere to use their legal name, but drag queens and friends of drag queens are particularly incensed about it for obvious reasons. Because everyone who is Leftish makes policy with their feet and their pocketbooks…

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September 21, 2014, 10:43 am

Becuz the Marketplace? Obama Administration Persists In Higher Ed Fumble

reality is overratedIn today’s New York Times, Susan Dynarski politely explains why the latest Obama administration plan to address the high cost of college without any public finding is a neoliberal farce. Because affording higher ed is all about having the information to make responsible choices! Once you know that, is there anything else the federal government could do?

Well, one strategy would be to not misrepresent the origins of the tuition problem: shrinking public dollars for higher education. Dynarski frames this about as clearly as an education writer could without saying outright that  covering up cost-shifting to students and their parents is a scandal of epic proportions, and the Obama administration is now complicit in that scandal by offering up a version of Consumer Reports and hoping that no one notices for at least two years that it is not a plan. It is not a policy either, except …

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September 20, 2014, 6:19 pm

Why Neoliberal Labor Practices Harm Working Students

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Ronald is probably running from his shift to a class at the local community college.

Is anyone talking about the fact that students don’t graduate from college in a timely way not because they work,  but because the nature of the work students do has changed dramatically?

This afternoon, I was reading this excellent article by William Finnegan about fast food workers’ labor activism. Finnegan is not only an outstanding reporter, he has a talent for weaving in critical details that enrich a story without derailing it. One of these is that people resign from professional jobs in Latin America and Caribbean countries to earn $7-$8.00 an hour at a McDonalds in New York. The article begins with the burden of “just in time” scheduling software, through which workers are scheduled — or unscheduled — at the last…

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September 16, 2014, 10:03 pm

University News Roundup: Blood, Ashes, Rape and Murder

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It’s. On. The. Syllabus.

The semester is off to a great start! In university news, we have:

He Is The One Who Knocks: The Washington Times reports that Georgetown undergrad Daniel Milzman has pleaded guilty to manufacturing the deadly poison ricin, and will be sentenced on November 10. Prosecutors claim he got the idea from the hit teevee series “Breaking Bad.” Colleagues: has the chemistry major been spiking since this show became a hit? Are your students suddenly turning up managing the local car wash? Enquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday: Cleveland.com reports that the president of the Ohio University student senate was challenged to the ALS ice bucket thingie by OU President Roderick McDavis. All in good fun, right? Not so fast. On September 2, Megan Marzec posted a video of herself…

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September 15, 2014, 11:44 am

Here She Comes, Miss (Zombie) America

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Feminist protesters on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, 1968

In case you are interested, Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, was crowned Miss America 2015 last night. This makes the third Miss America in a row to be a New Yorker. Fittingly, she also bears a remarkable resemblance to the late Joan Rivers.

In case you are still interested, go here to read an incoherent post by a former beauty queen (now a “relationship expert”) about why feminists should not shame the pageant contestants for wanting to be pretty. If feminists don’t like the pageant, she argues, we feminists can send the contestants to college ourselves. Listen, my sweet, we do: it’s called paying taxes.

And in case you are not yet sated with Miss America trivia, you can read about the fact that Miss Ohio, MacKenzie Bart, wanted to be the first…

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September 8, 2014, 10:01 am

Kennedy to Native American Studies Critic: Drop Dead

Ford_to_CityOK, University of Illinois Board of Trustees chair Chris Kennedy did not exactly say that to University of Minnesota Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien, who had written to express her distress over the Steven Salaita #HireFire.

But Gerald Ford didn’t say “drop dead” to New YOrk City either, and it made an awesome headline as one of the cultural and financial capitals of the world was skidding into bankruptcy in the spring of 1975. Didn’t it? In fact, all Ford was trying to do was sacrifice the health and welfare of a major American city in order to send a not-so-subtle message to the conservative wing of his part that he wasn’t a panty-waist Rockefeller Republican.

Christopher Kennedy might want to think about what this colossal error in judgment is costing him. For example, Gerald Ford didn’t get to be president, much longer, did he? If being misquoted can cost you your…

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September 2, 2014, 1:51 pm

Academic Freedom Update

Those of us who read our Twitter feed before bed (bad habit, don’t start) were cheered to see late last night that the pressure on the University of Illinois to reverse itself in the Steven Salaita case is altering the state of play. In a reversal of her August decision, Chancellor Phyllis Wise has decided to send the Salaita appointment to the Board if Trustees for a September 11 vote. Whether the pushback from thousands of scholars vowing not to engage and canceling, from the AAUP, and from numerous public letters of protest written by distinguished scholars ultimately persuades them that this was a colossal error is yet to be seen.  Go to Corey Robin for the full story, and for Robin’s views about what this latest development might mean.

Representatives of a major professional association have also weighed in on the case. Go to the American Historical Association blog to see a…

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August 30, 2014, 8:35 am

National AAUP Adds Heft to Salaita Case vs. UIUC

keep-calm-and-use-the-force-164In a letter I received as an email attachment last night, Anita Levy of the AAUP agrees with many of us that Steven Salaita was shafted (not the word she used.) Levy also points out that, although Salaita’s #HireFire is widely believed to be an outcome of his Tweets on Gaza, University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise gave him no reasons for her unwillingness to bring the appointment before the board of trustees, other than her belief that there would not be a positive vote. Most importantly, the idea that Salaita could not function ethically and effectively in the classroom, or as a colleague, is an argument that has been made entirely by public insinuation (see comments on my Salaita posts, for example.) It has no basis in fact, has never been formally articulated as a charge, and has not been investigated through the university’s own procedures.

Most importantly, the fact that…

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August 29, 2014, 10:09 am

Natalie Zemon Davis “Gets” Twitter, Supports Steven Salaita

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Natalie Zemon Davis being listened to.

Historian Natalie Zemon Davis has given us permission to distribute her letter to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise. Davis asks Wise to reverse the decision not to appoint Steven Salaita to the job he was promised at UIUC, and explains why. Furthermore, in a not unexpected star turn, Davis demonstrates her complete understanding of social justice and the use of Twitter as a rhetorical tool.

It is no secret to long-term followers of Tenured Radical that I am a huge admirer of Davis. She is one of the founding mothers of women’s history, a long term member of the Princeton history department and now retired to an appointment at The University of Toronto. When I was a relatively new blogger, I wrote this post, in which I discussed how, and why, Davis had become …

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