Category Archives: You Have Nothing To Lose But Your chains

September 15, 2014, 11:44 am

Here She Comes, Miss (Zombie) America

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Feminist protesters on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, 1968

In case you are interested, Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, was crowned Miss America 2015 last night. This makes the third Miss America in a row to be a New Yorker. Fittingly, she also bears a remarkable resemblance to the late Joan Rivers.

In case you are still interested, go here to read an incoherent post by a former beauty queen (now a “relationship expert”) about why feminists should not shame the pageant contestants for wanting to be pretty. If feminists don’t like the pageant, she argues, we feminists can send the contestants to college ourselves. Listen, my sweet, we do: it’s called paying taxes.

And in case you are not yet sated with Miss America trivia, you can read about the fact that Miss Ohio, MacKenzie Bart, wanted to be the first…

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June 29, 2014, 11:45 am

Gay Pride: Telling Our Stories

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LGBT Pride Parades are traditionally led out by Dykes on Bikes: in New York, that is the Sirens MC.

Want to tell your story about participating in an LGBT march, parade or demo? Go to OutHistory.org! We love it if you scan and upload pictures too.

Today is the first New York Pride for which I have been in town in many years: I cannot even recall my most recent one. My first march ever was in 1981, the summer following my move to New York. A group of us who had been friends at Yale all marched together under the direction of Anthony Barthelemy, then finishing his Ph.D. in the English Department. John Guillory was there too:  along with Ann Fabian and Terry Murphy (both were American Studies graduate students and not lesbians, though many wished that they were, I am sure), Anthony and John provided adult…

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June 15, 2014, 12:16 pm

School’s Out For Summer: Are You Writing Yet?

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The children in Enid Blyton books were always being sent away: it always went awry in some exciting way, and yet the parents never lost their faith in the soundness of sending their children away.

At least, school is out for most of us. I am coming off a year’s sabbatical, while other people are teaching summer sessions and institutes. I must say, unless I really needed the dough there is nothing I would rather do less than teach in the summer. Nothing. Because summer is for: WRITING. And the summer is for FUN.

The best part of summer writing is long, empty days. One of the most difficult writing problems to manage? Long empty days. Managing free time is only slightly more difficult than realizing that you pushed all kinds of deadlines into June and July, added a conference and a tenure case, and and have…

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May 7, 2014, 11:19 am

Is College Teaching Just a Job?

vintage_circus_posterClearing out a bookcase the other day, I stumbled across an unread copy of The Hedgehog Review that had slipped to the back of a shelf. I was delighted to find, among several interesting essays and interviews, an article by Frank Donaghue that asks the question: “Do College Teachers Have to Be Scholars?” (spring 2012). Part of a provocative special issue on The Corporate Professor, I am sorry to say you cannot click through to it, but here are the answers to the question:

  • No. The connection between teaching and scholarship has been “uncritically yoked” during the same decades that more and more college faculty can expect to work as adjuncts, jobs in which there is generally no time, support or reward for traditional scholarly production. Adjuncting is now the dominant model for college teaching, fueled by the hiring practices of the only faculties that are currently expanding:…

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April 16, 2014, 10:00 am

Never Forget: On the Centenary of the Ludlow Massacre

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The monument at the site of the Ludlow Massacre, located on County Road 44, about 1.5 km west of Interstate 25 in Colorado

On Sunday, April 20, celebrations of Easter will coincide with the centenary of the Ludlow Massacre, a bloody attack on workers for which John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was entirely responsible. On this day in 1914, Rockefeller unleashed Colorado Fuel and Iron Company thugs, professional strikebreakers hired from the Baldwin-Felts Detective agency and members of the Colorado National Guard on over 1,000 workers and their families.

Hired strikebreakers wore the uniforms of the state militia, and together these domestic terrorists launched a day of murder, looting and death by fire. The Ludlow Massacre launched retaliatory attacks against the mining industry all over the state; men, women and…

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April 1, 2014, 8:53 am

Not An April Fool’s Joke: Massive Cuts at USM

les-miserables-poster001In my previous post, I made a reference to massive cuts at the University of Southern Maine. The cuts have sparked student and faculty protests, and an administrative response that is truly scary, both in its willingness to accept scarcity logic as the educational status quo and its desire to impose faculty and staff reductions by intimidation. This includes cutting entire departments to break faculty tenure.

A strong dissent from the New England American Studies Association can be found here. (Where is a statement from the other American Studies Association?)

I have also received permission from Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies Lucinda Cole to reprint her account of the state of things. Some of you may have already seen it on Facebook.

To the ‪#‎USMfuture‬ Student Who Asked Me That Question

At the last three faculty meetings I attended at the…

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March 11, 2014, 10:15 am

Oh Brave New World

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Have administrators at Columbia’s Mailman School considered closing their budget gap with a bake sale? Maybe asking faculty to shill gift wrap and ginormous candy bars door to door?

That has such people in it.

Here’s a novel way to lighten the burden of paying faculty salaries: make them figure out how to pay their own salaries! As Inside Higher Ed reports, Columbia University has notified several longterm non-tenure stream faculty in the Mailman School of Public Health (including Carol Vance and Kim Hopper) that they will be terminated for not meeting 80% of their salaries with outside funding.

According to CNNMoney.com, in 2013 the university had the ninth largest endowment in the United States, at $8.197 billion dollars.

Read the article: I could only garble this story more by trying to recapitulate it….

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January 23, 2014, 7:08 pm

Re-thinking the Place of Writing in Our Lives

Those of you who have followed Tenured Radical since the beginning of time (or since October, 2007, whichever you want to pick) know that one of the reasons I began to blog was that I wanted to write more.  Not talk about writing more but actually do it.

It worked. Recent assertions about my low productivity as a scholar to the contrary, I would have to say that prior to 2007, I published at about the rate you might expect for a mid-career scholar at a teaching-intensive liberal arts college. Not Yale, of course, or any other RI, but I didn’t work at any of those places. Comparatively few people do, and if the people who worked at RIs had worked anywhere else, they would not write so much either. But there are things you can do to change. Since I started blogging, I…

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January 10, 2014, 9:25 am

Things That Might Hinder Your Career, Part Eleventy

One of the standard questions for candidates at the end of a conference interview is: “Do you have any questions for us?” Which of the following do you think job candidates ask most rarely?

  • Will you tie me up?
  • Do you spank in your department before tenure?
  • Is that the PMLA in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
  • All of the above.

From today’s Vitae, we see that some a$$hat put an ad on Craig’s List for power exchange interview sex at the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago this (more…)

January 9, 2014, 2:03 pm

Downton Abbey — With Job Candidates

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Mr. Carson; photo credit

John Hodgman’s spoof, “Downton Abbey — With Cats,” (The New Yorker, January 13 2014), has it exactly right. The season premiere of this popular, snooze-inducing update of Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975) has finally been reduced to its essence: clothing, manners, food and estate management. There is no longer a plot, nor is there really much of a script. It is not possible, for example, to issue spoiler alerts, as nothing happened in the premiere to season 4 that aired on Sunday. Nothing. You can watch it and go to bed with nothing on your mind.

This does not mean that we learn nothing from Downton, however, even though you would become a great deal more educated about the cultural history of post-war England from Bertie and Jeeves. For example, unless you have taken Modern British…

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