Category Archives: academic publishing

February 11, 2012, 2:27 pm

On the Satisfactions of Editing a Book Series

Lately my Facebook friends are very aware that I have become a co-editor (with Renee Romano of Oberlin College) of a book series at the University of Georgia Press, Since 1970:  Histories of Contemporary America. Friends (and “friends”) are getting barraged daily with little items from the new author page I set up  last week for Since 1970:  Histories of Contemporary America.  Want to like our page?  Go here. Want to order the first book in the series, J. Brooks Flippen’s Jimmy Carter, the Politics of Family, and the Rise of the Religious Right? Go here. Want to pre-order Renee’s and my new edited collection, Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back? (Of course you do: go here.)

See, you just started reading and already I have given you the opportunity to order two great books!  Now…

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January 23, 2012, 11:44 am

Dude, Where’s My Classroom? And Other Random Thoughts

This is my first day at my new job.  I won’t bore you with it because I can’t. I’m not there yet. I’m blogging from the train going into Metropolis, connected to the Interwebz via Bluetooth (that extra $5 a month from AT&T is worth it. Trust me.) Therefore, I don’t know anything about my first day yet, except that I am going to have a set of very important tasks.

The first will be to find my classroom, which is how I came up with this title. This gives me the opportunity to point out that I am semi-shamelessly ripping off Jack Halberstam’s funny piece on Dude, Where’s My Car? This then gives me the opportunity to say that you should read Halberstam’s  The Queer Art of Failure (Duke University Press, 2011). I downloaded it on Kindle last week.  Which, in turn, gives me the chance to say, “F^ck you people who think eBooks are the end of the world!  How else could I have purchased a…

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November 23, 2011, 12:09 pm

Radical Thanksgiving II: the Top Ten Turkeys for 2011

Back in 2007 I gave out awards to institutions and individuals in education who had gone above and beyond the call of duty to make turkeys out of themselves during that calendar year.  At the time, I imagined that this would be an annual event.  What was I thinking?  That the Tenured Radical blog would collapse and I would never have to write such a long post again?  That I would give up academia for a well-paid job as a writer for Rachel Maddow?

I dunno.  But four years later, here we are at the Chronicle of Higher Education feeling inspired by the year’s hijinks. The task of giving awards is also less burdensome than you might imagine: after all, while every year in education has its turkeys, consistency would require that we only do this again in 2015.  So with that, we will start with Turkey #10 and proceed to the Big Turkey in the #1 spot (as I write, the committee is…

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October 21, 2011, 11:45 am

What Time Is It? It’s Time For The American Studies Association Meeting!

Cowabunga, Buffalo Bob!

Of course, ASA means something different as you age: it used to mean “Par-tay!!!” Now it mostly means jiggling a lot of appointments around the panel I am on so that I can do everything I need to do for my publishing life in fewer than two days.  The restrictions on partying are fine since I no longer drink much and the closer I get to the Big Sleep, the more I need to practice on a nightly basis.  My current conferencing style also means I am no longer using intellectual work to facilitate conference going, but just the opposite. Shrewder minds than mine understood this back in graduate school and they have the careers to prove it. In any case, there is only so much you can do over the interwebz and by conference call in the academic publishing biz :  some stuff still requires the good old face to face, as Bertie Wooster might have put it. (more…)

October 20, 2011, 3:32 pm

When A Student Newspaper Stumbles, Who Is To Blame?

Long-time readers of the Radical know that I rarely write about my own institution.  There are good reasons for this, other than getting raked over the coals by the National Review Online, which can really bump readership big time.  But today I want to stand up for a student who did kind of a dumb thing. Since this was an entirely public thing, is all over the interwebz, and the student is not my student, it falls well within the boundaries of Good Taste to comment on This Bad Thing.

Yesterday a friend posted this piece about single-sex education published at Jezebel to my Face Book page.  With a zinger headline you couldn’t resist, “Women’s Colleges Promote Sweatpants & Poor Tampon Hygiene, Says Wesleyan Student,” (October 18 2011), blogger Margaret Hartmann, a Wellesley grad, takes on Zenith soph Vicky Chu. A Zenith transfer student, Chu trashes the single-sex school where she …

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September 24, 2011, 11:29 am

Forget the SATs. How Many Days Did Your Students Drink Last Week?

The beginning of the semester is always a time for reassessment, isn’t it?  SAT scores, we hear, despite endless amounts of testing mandated by No Child Left Behind, have declined.  Unsurprisingly, Daniel Luzer of the HuffPo thinks this is not a problem; William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, thinks this is a “wake-up call” about the failure of liberal education policy; and no one, as far as I can tell, has asked a college professor whether it matters. Why we think that test scores should get better and better, and when they don’t, an apocalypse of some kind looms, is such a quintessentially American scenario.   While SAT’s do, to some extent, predict college performance; high school grades predict it better; and success in a demanding and creative school is even higher on the Radical list, my best criteria for student success is: drinking.

I don’t…

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July 18, 2011, 1:00 pm

Digital Dreams: A Case For Producing More History Ph.D’s

To order this tee shirt, click the RHR link in the text below.

Among the books I brought with me on vacation is Roy Rosenzweig’s Clio Wired:  The Future of the Past in the Digital Age (New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011).  A radical historian who passed over far too young in 2007, Roy was a member of the first cohort of historians to explore and envision what the Internet could offer to scholars.  I had read some of the essays  and others are new to me, but I decided to read it cover to cover as a set of sustained thoughts.  Since I have it on a Kindle app for iPad, I am actually reading it from cover screen to index screen, which is how I think Roy would have wanted me to read it, even though when he began to plan the volume in 2005, the Kindle had not yet been invented and would not be …

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March 12, 2011, 1:08 pm

The Social Network: Or; Does Networking Really Matter To An Academic Career?

One of 17 ways to visualize Twitter.

Why do we tell young scholars to “network,” and what  do we mean by it?

As I was finishing up Samuel Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999) last night, I came across this gem of a quote on p. 138:

I feel that my career benefits regularly from the results of my networking.  My ultimate take on networking is, however, this:  No single event in the course of my career that I can cite has been directly caused by networking.  Nevertheless, the results of networking have regularly smoothed, stabilized, and supported my career and made it more pleasant (there is that term again) than it would have been without it.

In general I would say (and I would say this to young writers particularly):  Rarely if ever can networking make a writing career when no career is to be made.

Delany, as many of you know, is a queer science fiction writer who has also…

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January 5, 2011, 10:34 pm

It’s Safe To Go Back To the Annual Meeting; A Radical Guide To Days 1 and 2 of The 2011 AHA

I just want to say:  gays were not involved in logo design or color choice.

Last year there was quite a hullabaloo about the American Historical Annual Meeting out in San Diego. Doug Manchester, who owns the hotel the AHA chose, had given gobs of money to Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative.  He also got a lot of that money by running a union-free work place.  It was what you would call a lose-lose choice for the AHA, and resulted in a lot of people flying out there to picket, and a lot of other people having to give their papers by sneaking in and out hidden in laundry trucks.  (No, not Really!  That was a joke!)  This year there are no worries: you can come into the hotel without worrying that you will have to cross a queer picket line, or worse, that the hotel bar is off limits to Good People.  We historians are meeting in the People’s Republic of Boston, a city that is unionized …

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January 2, 2011, 3:47 pm

I Killed My Book: And Other Highly Personal Thoughts On Writing To Begin the New Year

What would life be like if you started over again?

Sometime last fall I made decision to kill a book that I had worked on for a long, long time, a book that people still ask me about.  This is how it went.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I began Tenured Radical back in 2006 because I was in a Bad Way and trying to Work Out $ome $hit.  At the time,  I had gone through a major institutional trauma and survived it, just barely, and at a high cost to those close to me.   Central to this institutional trauma was a rather profound and vicious trashing of The Book.  Blogging became a way of returning to the book, a project that had become so utterly soiled by its use as a vehicle for expressing contempt for me that I couldn’t look at it without becoming enraged or suffering a profound sense of loss.

For a time, blogging worked to jump start what constituted a rescue operation rather than …

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