Category Archives: the Progress of the Radical

January 27, 2015, 4:52 pm

Ending It All; Or, Why Not Retire?


Write all morning, surf all afternoon. Oh yeah.

A dear friend and collaborator has just entered a well-deserved retirement. When I wrote to congratulate her and express my senior envy, she replied: “Do the math, Radical. It’s closer than you think.” I hope so. Of course, she was always better at math than I.

I am, like many people, more ambivalent about retirement than that sounds. I love my work, but I love some aspects of it more than others; I find some activities more rewarding than others; and there are other things, that I used to love, that make me grumpy. I can never tell from year to year what those things will be. For example, here’s a big yuck for you: I think committee service has its appeals. Certainly as someone was hired as a mid-career prof by a large urban university, it had been one of the few…

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January 26, 2014, 11:09 am

Weekend Link-A-Palooza: Writing in Public and Cleaning My Desk


What if the writing were on the wall? Photo credit

School is starting most places, except at chez Radical, where we are actors in a movie sequel called “Sabbatical Part II: Producing the Manuscript.” Yep, it’s true. What LD Burnett began at the #GraftonLine, now a thriving enterprise with 142 members (10 newbies have joined in recent weeks), I would like to push to the next level with this new book blog, How Feminism Survived the Age of Reagan. It is hosted on my own web page, and I will provide links here on a regular basis. I have been toying with this idea for a while, since many writers develop a platform specifically for a work in progress. Based on the wide re-tweeting of this post, I thought: what would it look like to write a book more or less in public, and demonstrate the work that goes into producing …

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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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July 28, 2013, 1:56 pm

Arthroplasty, Athletics and An Academic Life; Or, What I Learned At The Gym


Tenured Radical after a 3.5 mile race in 2008: note that the right knee does not fully extend, making arthroplasty a matter of time.

I am sitting on a beat-up stool with wheels. My assignment is to go from one end of the physical therapy room to another, propelling myself by my heels. I will do this circuit three times. Prior to this I did ten minutes on the Precor, quad and hamstring lifts, glute presses, and a nasty stretching routine in which my right knee, which is no longer an actual knee but a bionic mix of titanium and plastic, loosens up to the 125 degrees I am aiming for by the end of the therapy session.  

I tear off down the room, scooting past a youngish fireman with a repaired rotator cuff and an assortment of elderly people rehabilitating knees, hips, backs, elbows, shoulders.  

My life…

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February 17, 2013, 1:51 pm

President-Palooza Sunday With Tenured Radical

It’s been a robust week at Tenured Radical: the stats just came in, and we topped 16,000 hits for the first time ever. Some of them weren’t very nice, it’s true, but nevertheless you came to this site from all over the world to watch the verbiage fly. Thousands of lurkers got an eye full of academia at its finest. So with that, let’s begin our President’s Day Celebration!

Tenured Radical Live — with a President! Didn’t know I was a Friend of Bill, didja? I’m talking Wisco historian Bill Cronon, that is. The Presidential Plenary from the American Historical Association — with me, (now past) President William Cronon, Edward Ayers (also a university president), Mary Louise Roberts, Nico Pfund and Michael Pollan — is now up! It cannot be embedded, but you can go here to see it on CSPAN-3. Upon…

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December 31, 2012, 11:25 am

Tenured Radical’s New Media: Best Discoveries of 2012

How do other bloggers keep up the page and still find time to read and watch new stuff? How do they even manage to read the newspaper every day — and if they do, how do they find time to read anything else? And if they read, how do they find time to watch TV?

This year, I did take Facebook off my iPhone: that saved about an hour a day. I’m going to take it off my iPad in 2013.

With this caveat about how much I miss in our media-rich environment, I offer you my best discoveries of last year. Remember, to make the Radical’s “Best of” media list, you don’t have to be new — just new to me. You cannot, however, win a prize if you are my friend (which, for example, would rule out awarding best blog relaunch to Madwoman with a Laptop, so we are leaving that crown vacant this year, or best #ASA2012 panel to Historiann, Madwoman, GayProf, Tenured Radical, and The Woman Formerly Known as…

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November 12, 2012, 1:37 pm

Publishing Rocks, Doesn’t It?

If Marx were alive, I know he would publish in Renee Romano & my series at the University of Georgia Press

In honor of University Press Week, your very own Tenured Radical represents the University of Georgia Press with “Small is Better: Why University Presses Are Sustainable Presses.”

For the complete schedule of the University Press Blog Tour, go here.


April 23, 2012, 3:26 pm

OAH Roundup: Meating and Greeting in the Beer City

"Well, I got a proposal but it's still pretty durn rough."

The Organization of American Historians meeting, from whence I last posted, is at the absolutely worst time of year. I always begin the following week feeling less like a teacher than like a circus performer shot out of a cannon. So why is it that I also enjoy the OAH more than any other academic meeting? Here are some thoughts on that topic.

Location, location, location. This year’s hotspot, Milwaukee, was a mystery pick. I don’t know anyone in the East who wasn’t groaning about making this trip.  Two big problems emerged during the planning phase for those of us who don’t have access to an airline hub: expensive fares and the lack of direct flights.  And then — what’s in Milwaukee? Why did they pick it? No one knew.  Friends would say he…

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February 20, 2012, 3:37 pm

So You Think You Can Write During the Semester?

You actually can.  But it’s going to take a lot more than just wanting to. I say this because I have navigated the rock (scholarship) and the hard place (The Job) that so many of us wrestle with in different ways over time. I have been:

  • The person who decided that my full time teaching job at a SLAC was too interesting, too full of new surprises, too packed with interesting students who would hold me accountable, too — well, too! — to write at all during the semester. In these years, I vowed to make the most of holidays, breaks, and summers. Bad plan!  At least, a bad plan to make semester after semester, because the time off was never enough time, particularly when I failed to factor in the days spent at the beginning of these breaks watching teevee because I was so tired I couldn’t think and the days at the end getting ready to return to the classroom.
  • The person who decided…

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July 29, 2011, 1:16 pm

Tenured Folk: Is It Safe To Go Back On The Job Market?

Are you chum and the job market the Big White One?

In the case of the Tenured Radical, I think we can say:  most definitely yes.  After two years on the job market, I recently accepted an offer of a tenured faculty position at rank. While I have not yet entirely digested the experience, I have a few reflections on it in the event that you too are thinking about going on the market as a senior person.

I know, I know.  All of my advice is supposed to be for the nontenured or the jobless.  But senior people have dreams too, don’t they?  So after years of telling other people what to do, I put some of my own advice into practice.