Category Archives: You Have Nothing To Lose But Your chains

March 11, 2014, 10:15 am

Oh Brave New World

f346b4e9bf53fcd34f13a6349b51da7c

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….

Read More

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…

Read More

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

Mr. Carson

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…

Read More

November 16, 2013, 10:55 am

When You Are Too Sick to Teach

advertisement-for-sanitas-fumigator-for-the-treatment-of-influenza-and-other-lung-infections

Be considerate of yourself and others: stay home.

This article in today’s New York Times about doctors going to work ill struck a nerve as we enter the college sick season. Danielle Ofri’s account of tending to patients until she was completely felled with the barfing flu (otherwise known as the super-communicable norovirus) suggests that doctors forge on because they define themselves as the not-sick. ”As much as we empathize with our patients,” she writes, “part of protecting our inner core may require drawing an unconscious demarcation between ‘us’ and ‘them.’” Next to the grisly research about deadly infections being transmitted on physicians’ neckties, the idea of a doctor keeping an appointment with me when she has a vile illness is next on the list. I actually left a family practice years ago and found another doctor because it made no sense to me to go to a “wellness”…

Read More

October 27, 2013, 11:19 am

The Check Is In The Mail — Sometimes

Kreider

Tim Kreider’s self-portrait

Check out Tim Kreider‘s piece in today’s New York Times about being asked to write for free. This is a gift from heaven. Eight days ago I passed my seventh bloggiversary, and I will soon be writing my 1000th free post. It has been a little over four years since I moved over to the Chronicle of Higher Education, where I continue the Tenured Radical tradition of writing for nothing.

Most bloggers write for free, actually. Want a blog at the Huffington Post? Have your publicist, or your sister posing as your publicist, call them and ask. They will be happy to publish you — for free. They need content, you need exposure. It’s a deal!

Here’s the news: bloggers who make money do so either by writing self-help books based on their blogs and/or by pushing products, which is called…

Read More

July 9, 2013, 10:28 am

On Edmund Morgan and the Possibilities for Reviving a More Popular History

DoyenMorganPortraitAs you will see, the passing of a distinguished colleague brought ever more radical thoughts to mind this morning as I settled in to my writing.

Hat tip to Edmund Morgan. Do graduate students still read Morgan for their comps if they are not Early Americanists? I am of an age where we did, so it is with a heavy heart and a grateful wave that Tenured Radical bids goodbye to a distinguished writer and teacher who passed away yesterday at the age of 97. Morgan taught at Yale when I was an undergrad there, standing out as a teacher even among a history faculty famous for their capacity to make the past come alive in the lecture room. His biography of Benjamin Franklin  (more…)

April 24, 2013, 9:26 pm

Report From The Post-Feminist Mystique

514_400x400_NoPeelIf you are not a subscriber to The Nation you may have missed author Deborah Copaken Kogan’s “My So-Called Post-Feminist Lit Life.” Riffing off the title of the  TV series about adolescent female angst that introduced us to Claire Danes back in 1994, Kogan rips the lid off what it means to be a female author in a literary world where men rule.

Kogan’s reflection follows her nomination for the Orange Prize, a British literary award given only to women, and is a reflection on the perennial (male) complaint that the time for “women’s” anything has passed. Because feminism finished the work — and anyway, if it’s for women it’s got to be second rate, right? Unlike things for men, like, say, Augusta National, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or President of the United States.

Revealing that she has not yet been allowed to pick a title for one of her four books (Shuttergirl, a 2002 memoir of…

Read More

April 11, 2013, 11:26 am

The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard To Master

alfred_e_neumanThe final results are in for grants filed by Tenured Radical last fall:  of four requests for funding to support my sabbatical, exactly none succeeded. Over the last few weeks I have been fielding communications from various foundations that express profound regret at this situation.

I would like to point out that this regret, unlike so many other forms of regret, was avoidable. But that said, I want everyone who spent the time reading my grants and discarding them to know: I forgive you! And to everyone whose grants were chosen when mine was not? I forgive you too!

To the thousands of people who have been opening the same form letters as I have opened in the past few weeks: take it from a fellow loser, you did good to even try. I know you feel like the Whack -A-Mole. So do I. However, need I point out that you will only ever have a chance of success of you are willing to risk…

Read More

December 7, 2012, 9:51 am

Stanford’s Five Year Ph.D. (continued): In Which The Blogger Responds To Comments On A Prior Post

Maybe I could turn this post in as a dissertation and get another Ph.D. by Sunday? Photo credit.

Yesterday I posted about Stanford’s new plan to shorten up the humanities Ph.D. to five years.  Then I went to the movies, specifically, a documentary about why the children of the poor attend four year colleges in far lower numbers than the children of middle-class or wealthy people. During the course of the evening, the post metastasized all over the interwebz, attracting a number of comments. My original Twitter posting notched more re-tweets than any item at Tenured Radical  has probably ever had.

Awesome. Keep talking, and while you do, here is a response to some of what I have heard.

Just to be clear: I do not defend an endlessly long Ph.D. But that said, many defenses of a forced time to degree metric…

Read More