Category Archives: Archives

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.

August 21, 2013, 10:50 am

The Ten Commandments of Graduate School


reality is overratedSo you are starting graduate school, eh? Against all of our best advice here in the blogosphere, you are determined to embark on the scholarly life.  Well, you know what I have to say about that?

Good luck and godspeed! Keep your feet dry and your spectacles up to date! Cover your head when the sun is too bright! Don’t fly with ballpoint pens in your luggage! Get a cat!

As you make your way through this first year, finally acting on that sense of purpose that coalesced in your undergraduate years, know that there will be times of frustration and sorrow, but that many of us have found this to be a good life all the same. There are, as the foundations say, deliverables. There is the reading. There is the teaching (that sense that you have just taught a really good class? *Priceless*!!!) There is the blogging. There are the friends. There are the ideas. And there is the emerging…

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August 13, 2013, 4:24 pm

The Five Big Lies About Campus Rape

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From Project Unbreakable, encouraging healing from sexual assault through art.

I was reading Frank Bruni’s New York Times column, “Tackling the Roots of Rape” this morning and had two thoughts. One is that it is progress for a man to be interviewing a man about how to prevent sexual assault. Too much anti-rape activism is focused on lecturing women on how to protect themselves and too little on the largest potential pool of rapists and their destructive ideas about sex. Furthermore, men talking to men about rape, cutting through the myths about sexuality and masculinity that enable sexual violence, is an effective strategy.

My second thought was how glad I am that I no longer teach at a residential campus. (more…)

July 14, 2013, 9:19 am

No Justice, No Peace: Time to #StandOurGround #AgainstRacism

At Tenured Radical we, like so many others, are appalled and heartbroken at last night’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in murder of  Trayvon Martin. Between Shelby v. Holder and this travesty, it feels like we are spinning back in time.

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To find a rally or Trayvon Martin protest near you, log on to Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #NoJustice or #HoodiesUp. Hat tip.

To join the NAACP, go here. (Update: be patient. The site is moving very slowly today, undoubtedly a direct outcome of the slow pace of delayed justice for the Martin family.)

To find your Congressperson to demand justice for Trayvon, go here.

To give money to The Brotherhood-SisterSol, a New York City community organization that organizes youth of color against racism, sexism, homophobia and violence, go here.

To call, write and email the Department of Justice to demand the reactivation of the…

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June 26, 2013, 12:44 pm

It’s Called Equal Protection and Due Process, Associate Justice Scalia

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As Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in today’s historic decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, “DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.” (p. 20)

Yep. What he said: seeks to injure. That is exactly what those people who wrote, promoted, and signed, DOMA sought to do, for their own political gain. Back in 1996, the House Judiciary Committee explicitly stated that the Defense of Marriage Act was intended to “reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”

The “plain English” version of United States v. Windsor from Amy Howe is over at SCOTUS Blog:

The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, …

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes

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Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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June 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

Radical Mailbag: Writing A Good Blog Post

woman-writing-letters-by-charles-dana-gibsonSo ya wanna be a blogger? “Santa Rosa Sandy” writes:

Dear Dr. Radical:

Having enjoyed your blog and admired the writing (and wry humor!) for a while, I wondered if you’d be willing to address the characteristics of good blog writing. My own sense is that blog posts should be meaty, but pithy—if that’s not conflating two different food groups. They can be leavened with more personal comment, humor, and current cultural reference than—say—a journal article. I recently submitted an invited entry to a higher ed blog (admittedly, I’d gone over the word limit). But to my chagrin, the editors are making it fit by removing anything that seemed even slightly leavening, leaving a pretty bland result. (more…)

May 26, 2013, 2:15 pm

Could Flipping the Curriculum Lead to More Jobs and Better Educated Students?

history fanAnother school year ends, and the MOOC people are happily planting stories in the media about a teaching model that, if it succeeds, is likely to kill off full time work in the liberal arts forever. How do we fight this, and the concurrent view that liberal arts BAs are simply a thing of the past?

Here’s my idea: let’s flip the curriculum. Kill the survey courses and start teaching history as applied knowledge, and as a set of skills that can tangibly enhance the careers that most of our students will actually have.

As a profession, we have, to date, mounted few successful counter-arguments to those who wish to shift resources away from teaching, and jobs, in the humanities and social sciences. One of the reasons that MOOCs may be doing so well is that they represent practically the only big idea that the academy has had in the past several decades. Many of our colleagues in the…

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April 30, 2013, 8:53 am

The I’m Too Busy to Blog Post: Fat Armpits, Supreme Court Mulligans, and Mad Men’s Recent History

There are papers to grade, classes to prepare, a search to finish, a conference to pack for, and yet….that last post gets colder and colder as the days roll by. So without further delay, here are some shorts to brighten your day:

itw_coverFat Armpits Are The Worst. Before returning to Brooklyn Sunday, I was in the newly-ronovated Acme Market in Bryn Mawr, PA loading up on my favorite diet foods — Tastykakes, scrapple — and reading gossip mags in the checkout line. The misogynist gem to the right caught my attention. Kim Kardashian, who was on the rampage last year because everyone could have a baby but her, has learned to her horror that a growing fetus can make a girl look dumpy.

It must be terrible to be so fragile. According to celeb mag In TouchKardashian is on the brink of a breakdown, having discovered that aging leads to age and pregnancy leads to weight gain. In her seventh…

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April 21, 2013, 3:56 pm

On the Giving and Taking of Advice

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The mother of us all: Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail “Dear Abby” van Buren

Ten years ago, in the midst of a conversation, a colleague temporarily lost her temper at me. “Please stop giving me advice!” she snapped. “I don’t want any advice. I just want to talk about this!”

Needless to say, I was shocked and a little hurt. But upon further reflection, I had to admit that a flaw in my socialization had been usefully uncovered.  My friend had not asked for any advice, and yet I had offered it anyway. Why?

The giving and taking of advice is so ubiquitous in university life that it defines whole categories of activity that blur the line between personal and professional. In graduate school, members of my cohort gave each other advice, and it was often at least as good as the advice we got from faculty. …

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