Category Archives: gossip

June 2, 2011, 3:07 pm

As The Department Turns: What Causes Conflict, Drama And Other Energy Sapping Dynamics

Things can explode when you least expect it!

 This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education features a blog post by David Perlmutter entitled “It’s Not Your Fault.”  Aimed mostly at helping assistant professors and graduate students understand how they might have unintentionally become the target of a senior person’s anger or jealousy, Perlmutter explores six factors that might cause unwelcome behaviors by senior people.  While it is sometimes the case that a younger person’s actions might have provoked the incident or ongoing dynamic, it is also likely that it didn’t. The project of figuring out what went wrong can be just as agonizing for a younger person as the reprisals and criticisms themselves. 

As Perlmutter notes wisely, “sometimes the quickest relief comes from merely figuring out that a single tussle or a longstanding feud is not your fault but rather originates in the minds,…

Read More

January 9, 2010, 4:26 pm

Hello, Young Lovers, Wherever You Are

With the appearance of the pseudonymous “C. Van Winchell” at Nothing Recedes Like Success, the history blogosphere has gotten more interesting since your favorite Radical left the country. Just when you thought the Decline and Fall of the History Profession would lack it’s own Gibbon, “he” has appeared, Facebook page and all, cleverly wreathed in allusions to a Yale connection that probably doesn’t exist.

Vann Winchell’s emergence even goaded Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce III out of retirement ever so briefly, with a clever poem saluting fellow history bloggers in the new year. Thanks for the shout-out, AHB.

I keep meaning to extend my own welcome. But this post about two of our colleagues playing a vigorous game of hide the salami (as a hilarious and path-breaking feminist literary scholar used to put it during wine-soaked Zenith dinner parties) at Doug Manchester’s hotel in San Diego is…

Read More

May 17, 2009, 11:54 am

“Clarence Walker Can’t Say Those Things, Can He?” A Review of Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Any of us who know Clarence Walker personally are well aware that he can, and does, say those things. He is the Molly Ivins of the historical profession, a razor-witted, capaciously well-read scholar and critic of scholars, who is often seen at professional gatherings holding court in the hotel bar or leading a large group out to a fabulous restaurant. Because Clarence is my friend, I am immediately disqualifying myself as an impartial reviewer of his new book, Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009.) But on the other hand, since he sent me a free copy and I enjoyed it so much, I have to express my gratitude somehow. So in an act of fandom, as well as friendship, I am going to try to persuade you to read this delightful book too.

Now, you may say to yourself, “I have read so much on this topic, …

Read More

May 14, 2009, 12:52 pm

If You Try Sometimes, You’ll Get What You Need: How To Think Like An Administrator

Gary Olson’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, hilariously titled “How To Join The Dark Side” (hence my choice for an illustration) is a useful take on how to think about becoming a university administrator. What I like best about it is that it avoids a common stereotype (administrators are failed academics, or worse, not intellectually inclined at all when lacking a Ph.D.) and takes university administration seriously as a career that intelligent people train for and enjoy. Furthermore (and this is the kind of thing no one talks about in academia) it suggests that an academic career might entail several stages, in which one’s life could be plotted as ambitiously as a Jane Austen novel. A career might begin with the majority of one’s efforts devoted to establishing one’s credentials as a scholar and a teacher, really learning those jobs inside and out as well as…

Read More

April 5, 2009, 3:18 pm

Sunday Night Follies: In Which The Radical Answers Four Questions

And now, to lighten your Sunday night of grading, lecture writing and sorting your socks for the coming week, here are four answers to urgent questions, none of which have been asked by my fans.

What Zenith college publication is still available in a printed copy?

One of you got it right, but yesterday’s post gathered fewer guesses than I thought it would, so I’ll tell you. The answer is: the telephone directory, which can be requested; they print one up for you and send it in the next day’s office mail. This solution to an otherwise intractable problem was reached after a colleague of mine made an impassioned, and utterly sincere, plea on behalf of his departmental secretary, who was distraught at the change in her work environment wreaked by the loss of a printed Zenith telephone book. I was terribly grateful, and ordered one specially printed up too. Why? Because I can never…

Read More

December 31, 2007, 2:00 pm

The AHA for Dummies; or, A Guide to History’s Oldest Annual Meeting Designed for the Novice Conference Goer

Is she in Heaven? Is she in Hell? That damned, elusive Radical!” (A cry often heard at conferences, originated by the Baroness Emmuska Orczy.)

This is just to say: if you are pseudonymous, anonymous or a lurker, I insist that you come up to say hello to me at the AHA. I would love to meet you. I can’t tell you precisely where I will be at any given time, and the blogger meet-up is, I think, scheduled for a lunch I am supposed to eat elsewhere. But I can certainly be found at my own panel, Sunday at 11 (pray god it doesn’t start to snow at 9 as it did in Atlanta a decade ago); and I can also be found at the interviewing workshop Tony Grafton has organized for Friday during the 9:30 a.m. session where, as I understand it, there will be role playing of various kinds. I am looking forward to learning a few things too, so come one, come all. In between, I can only specifically promise …

Read More

August 26, 2007, 1:02 pm

Welcome to Relationships 101, New Professors

Hello New Professors!

Welcome to XU. Right now, your life is a rush of new knowledge, for which graduate school prepared you not at all. Sure, there are some experiences you have already had, like having to get a campus map in your head while you were unpacking and finishing your syllabus. (Actually — have your belongings arrived yet, or are are you balancing your lap top on your bicycle rack while sitting cross-legged on the floor? That’s what I thought.)

And there are other things you know — you have at least been a section leader at CU, or perhaps you have even run your own seminar, so you have some idea of what will happen on the first day of class. You are vowing to memorize all your students’ names in the first week, and you have even written a number of lectures in advance before things get crazy. Perhaps you have been assigned a mentor, having just escaped your graduate…

Read More

July 30, 2007, 3:00 pm

The No Asshole Rule: A Reflection

As you know if you make a close study of Tenured Radical 2.0 in all of its features, I have been reading Robert I. Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. And to get to the punchline quickly: you should read it too. It is short, it is well written and Sutton — a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University — has written a book that nicely bridges the worlds of business and intellectual work.

What occasioned my purchase of this book? Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it, because I loved it and I wish something like it had been available to me years ago. I would also say that the bulk of my labor this year will be administrative, and because there is no formal mentoring in this kind of work, I do what I can to learn management techniques, either by observing adminstrators at Zenith closely and seeing…

Read More

June 14, 2007, 1:59 pm

Letter To An Anonymous Blogger

I just posted this as a comment on Tim Lacy’s History and Education: Past and Present, and realized that, although it is part of an ongoing discussion Tim has been trying to spark about anonymous blogging, the post I attached it to was old enough that it might get a little lost. This is my own reflection on anonymity, and on having come out as a blogger. I have edited it a bit more because I am a compulsive re-writer; I have also not included a link to the blog under discussion so that no one is confused that it is a critique of that blogger. It isn’t: this is a smart blog by a graduate student, with great posts, and you can find it over at Tim’s place.

Dear Tim,

Thanks for sending AnonymousBlogger to my post about relinquishing my anonymity — I do think anonymity raises ethical and practical issues that everyone at all ranks of the profession ought to think about on an ongoing…

Read More

April 3, 2007, 11:26 pm

Chapter the Seventy-Second: In Which Knowing More is Not Necessarily a Good Thing and a Purge Ensues

If you have been following the last few entries, you are aware that this blog has received the kind of challenge that tests the souls of Radicals. Student reading of the blog is even *more* widespread than I knew, so I am informed by a colleague (who I will not write about since one of the things I know now is that many people do not like to be written about without their knowledge. And this friend did me a favor by letting me in on the Big Secret.) Furthermore, as the above indicates, students have tattled (and somewhat incorrectly, I’m afraid) to faculty about *who* and *what* is being represented in these virtual pages. So some of those lurkers I have been picking up are faculty colleagues who are — I gather — not amused. And some of them, as I understand, see themselves in certain characters, as it turns out, wrongly.

Well, I can only hope I have added a little thrill to a dull…

Read More