Category Archives: blush

May 17, 2012, 2:00 pm

Th-th-th-th-th-that’s All, Folks! Speech Quirks That Work?

Is perfect public speaking really best?

I have received a lot of thoughtful reactions to the TEDx talk posted below, not only in the comments section, but in private communications as well.  Responding to one new colleague who wrote me a gracious note, I admitted that I was a little self-conscious about the “ums” and “ahs” that punctuate my performance.

The more I have participated in visual and aural media as a scholar, the harder I have worked to eliminate speech quirks that I find distracting and amateurish.  Everything is now memorialized on line, and anything not said well on the first take is recorded forever.  Some of my performances sound embarrassingly unpolished to my own ear, and are discouragingly unlike the confident, fluent PBS Newshour talking head that I long to be.  As I listen to …

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March 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

In Which Tenured Radical Ponders The Twists of Fate That Can Mean Everything To An Untogether Student

Photo Credit.

When I was an undergraduate at Oligarch University I, and I suspect many of my peers, had three desires that were utterly in conflict: to be invisible, to be free and to be special.

Against the advice of my mother, who wanted me to go to a liberal arts college where faculty would pay attention to me, I wanted to attend a school that was so big that no adult could exert any authority over me whatsoever.

I got my wish.

Soon I discovered that a major research university where undergraduates were expected to be autonomous had possibilities I had never imagined. Not go to class? Who knew if there were 500 people in the room? Sit in the back of a dark lecture hall as one Great Masterwork after another flashed up on the screen and take a little snooze?  Why the heck not?  Turn in all th…

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February 7, 2009, 6:32 pm

Advanced Interviewing; or, My Favorite Martian

“Dear Professor Radical,” wrote a longtime lurker who had finally decided, in desperation, to reveal hirself. “You told us about the job letter. About the phone call. About the conference interview. About wardrobe — even though you obviously know nothing about clothes: everyone knows you wear nothing but black and grey trousers from Banana Republic, complemented by matching T-shirts. And yet, right on the brink of crossing the finish line, you have abandoned us. WHAT ABOUT THE CAMPUS INTERVIEW, DAMMIT?!?”

Well, I’m sorry. This has been quite a dilemma for me, in part because we have been too busy interviewing at Zenith for me to attend to any of my professional responsibilities, much less write blog posts. But I had an ethical problem as well: should I actually be giving advice about campus visits when we, in the history department at Zenith, were interviewing eleven candidates …

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January 1, 2009, 3:16 pm

It’s A Radical New Year!

I awoke this morning, read a couple June Jordan essays (now there’s a woman who could be a blogger), and opened my email to find that:

Tenured Radical has won the Cliopatria Award for Best Post of 2008! The post was published on June 19, and is entitled What Would Natalie Zemon Davis Do? A Few Meditations on Women’s History and Women in History.

Wow! OK, I’m not going to embarrass you by doing a Sally Field. But sincere thanks go to the judges for including me in a group of prize-winning bloggers I couldn’t admire more. And a special thanks and Happy 2009 to Ralph Luker and all the guys at last year’s AHA Cliopatria dinner who were so welcoming in 2008.