Category Archives: academic publishing

October 20, 2013, 11:41 am

Cheaters: And The Cheating Cheat Factories That Help Them Cheat


Cute, cynical Dave.

Dave Tomar, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat  (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012), $16.00 paper; $9.99 ebook.

Reading this book solved a small mystery in my teaching career.

Every once in a while, even without, a paper screams: “plagiarized!!!!” About a decade ago, I received one of those papers. Only partly coherent, grammatically idiosyncratic sentences were sutured to others that flowed beautifully, delivering a punchy argument that the rest of the paragraph had lurched towards in an often obscure way. What I suspected was something called “mosaic plagiarism,” in which the students’ own writing is used as filler in between quotes lifted from books that have no quotation marks around them.  I went to the library to check a couple of the books…

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September 28, 2013, 7:10 pm

The Associate Professor Blues

yeswelacanIn “Supporting the Second Book,” (Perspectives on History, September 2013), American Historical Association President Kenneth Pomeranz elaborates on a topic he launched in the previous issue. I thought it was great that Pomeranz came out last month about his post-tenure publishing delay: one of the things that I have learned on the #GraftonLine is that academics — particularly senior people — don’t talk about their difficulties enough, nor do we share strategies for changing the bad writing karma that can afflict anyone. No wonder people who are struggling with their writing don’t talk about it – it’s not allowed!!!!!

So good for you, Professor Pomeranz. Many people will feel their load lighten just a little bit from hearing your story, particularly those who work at institutions that require a second book just for tenure. But, as Pomeranz also points out, promotions to full…

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August 26, 2013, 9:43 pm

Sabbatical: Because the Bible Tells Me So

In answer to the question, “Where are you and what are you doing?” The answer is: I am on

For the advantages of a sabbatical, go here. But don’t worry. I’ll still show up here.

July 22, 2013, 9:39 am

More On The Grafton Line: You Can Play Too


L.D. Burnett sez: Bring it on, play-uhs.

We have just passed the half-way marker for summer, with a precious few weeks remaining before those emails about fall teaching start arriving.  And what to my wondering eyes do appear, as I was posting hilarious quotes about Kate Middleton’s labor on Facebook?

The Grafton Challenge.

For some time I have been following Saved By History, the blog of a certain L.D. Burnett, a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Ideas at University of Texas-Dallas. We are Facebook friends, so when I noticed comments about how generous senior scholars can be, I thought in a rosy haze, “Yes we are….but what did I do to deserve such a lovely compliment?”

Not so fast, Radical. It’s Princeton’s Tony Grafton she’s talking about.

Here’s the skinny. Yesterday, Burnett responded on blog to…

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July 9, 2013, 10:28 am

On Edmund Morgan and the Possibilities for Reviving a More Popular History

DoyenMorganPortraitAs you will see, the passing of a distinguished colleague brought ever more radical thoughts to mind this morning as I settled in to my writing.

Hat tip to Edmund Morgan. Do graduate students still read Morgan for their comps if they are not Early Americanists? I am of an age where we did, so it is with a heavy heart and a grateful wave that Tenured Radical bids goodbye to a distinguished writer and teacher who passed away yesterday at the age of 97. Morgan taught at Yale when I was an undergrad there, standing out as a teacher even among a history faculty famous for their capacity to make the past come alive in the lecture room. His biography of Benjamin Franklin  (more…)

May 20, 2013, 4:31 pm

Post-Operative Snarky Shorts

The rest is up to you

I’ve had this tile for almost three decades, but it captures my current state. You can purchase it, and others, here.

You are used to faculty melting away at the end of the semester, not to be seen again until the first days of fall term. But bloggers? We are just getting going in May! So where has Tenured Radical been? And why doth ze not post?

Suffice to say that I am considering a name change to Tenured Bionic Radical, after having undergone full knee replacement surgery.  Since I am back at the keyboard, things are obviously improving, but until more energy accrues, and the physical therapy regime is organized, fans of the Radical may have to be content with snarky shorts.

So let’s go!

Where’s the IRB on this one? If you were experimenting on captive schoolchildren as part of a university research…

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October 11, 2012, 2:39 pm

Lesbian Nation; Or, Why MItt Romney Would Cut Off Federal Funds to Lower Manhattan

In the spring of 2013, my university is going to be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (W.W. Norton, 1963). It’s particularly fitting that we do it here at the New School for Public Engagement, I think, because a big part of our mission is to reach out to adults and non-traditional students who want to finish a college education that was foreclosed or interrupted. Although Betty Friedan was not that person, her activism and writing nonetheless caused women to finish their educations and get back in the workforce.

Betty Friedan was not so good on lesbians, however, causing people like Kate Millett and Ti-Grace Atkinson to abandon Friedan’s fledgling National Organization for Women in facor of the rock ‘em, sock ‘em world of radical feminism. Hence, let me be perhaps hte first to point out that 2013 will also be the fortieth anniversary of…

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July 20, 2012, 4:27 pm

Do We Need To Write and Publish So Much Theory?

In addition to novels, I always bring a stack of scholarly books on our annual summer vacation. I bring books in my field, books not in my field, books in fields I might be ready to explore, books I might like to teach and books that I read so that I will be a better blogger.

I also bring books on vacation that are too long, or too complex, for me to be able to read in a sustained way when life is full of distraction and interruption. Sustained reading means finishing a difficult or lengthy book in a reasonable number of sittings — between one and three, or few enough to allow me to hold the parts of the argument in my head as I move toward the end.

It is in this spirit that I reached for a recently published book of theory — in my field, I was thinking of teaching it — and was disappointed within the first ten pages.  I’m not sure that it was fair for me to be disappointed,…

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March 19, 2012, 7:29 pm

Yes Virginia, I Really Publish On Paper Too

Today my editor wrote to say that he was actually holding our new book in his hand! It was the hardback edition, which I think is worth your eyeteeth to own if you are not on a library acquisitions budget.  Soon, however, the University of Georgia Press will be rolling out and shipping copies of Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back for the mean, lean paperback price of $22.95.  Reserve yours by clicking the link above; by going to Powell’s (where you can see the whole table of contents and register to win free books by commenting on ours); or Amazon (where you save no money, get no table of contents, but may qualify for free shipping.)

Better yet, why don’t you mosey into your local independent and/or university bookstore and say, “YO! Where’s that book edited by Potter and Romano…

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February 20, 2012, 3:37 pm

So You Think You Can Write During the Semester?

You actually can.  But it’s going to take a lot more than just wanting to. I say this because I have navigated the rock (scholarship) and the hard place (The Job) that so many of us wrestle with in different ways over time. I have been:

  • The person who decided that my full time teaching job at a SLAC was too interesting, too full of new surprises, too packed with interesting students who would hold me accountable, too — well, too! — to write at all during the semester. In these years, I vowed to make the most of holidays, breaks, and summers. Bad plan!  At least, a bad plan to make semester after semester, because the time off was never enough time, particularly when I failed to factor in the days spent at the beginning of these breaks watching teevee because I was so tired I couldn’t think and the days at the end getting ready to return to the classroom.
  • The person who decided…

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