Category Archives: the Radical Addresses Her Public

July 28, 2014, 1:06 pm

Bye-Bye Birdies: Sending The Kids Away to College

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They grow up so fast if you let them

All over the United States, slowly but surely, families are preparing for the ritual of Sending the Kid to College. Some will be living at home and going to a local four-year or community college; other young people will be taking the big leap to living away from home for the first time.

By September, one of the biggest topics for discussion — and one of the biggest gripes — among many college faculty will be how emotionally, and practically, underprepared many of your kids are for their freshman year. Although I now teach the non-traditional, adult students who are becoming the majority of undergraduates, for years I welcomed fresh-faced 18 year olds whose academic preparation often far exceeded their ability to navigate school independently of their parents.

The two…

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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 31, 2014, 12:12 pm

Moving Experiences

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One of many lies you will encounter on your journey to your new home.

Facebook is full of transitions right now. Some people who already had tenured or tenure-track jobs are moving to new ones. Newly, or recently, minted Ph.D.s are leaving Grad Institution City for a tenure-track job, and others are taking a post-doc or visiting job. Some people are deciding to leave academic work altogether. They have had it with years of temporary, uncertain employment; they want to stop commuting; or they want to live somewhere that really suits them, not the place where the job market dumped them. And I say, good for you. It takes guts.

Whatever your reason for relocating, moving is a drag. I know. I’ve moved fifteen times, which is really not an accurate number. In our years as a commuter couple we would sublet our New…

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May 22, 2014, 9:03 am

Women With A Past: Big Berks Day 1

canadian-flagWhy no posting? Where has Tenured Radical been lately?

Just preparing for the most awesome history conference ever!

Yep. It happens every three years, and the time is now. The Sixteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women launches today at the University of Toronto. Although we have been an international conference since the 1990s, this is the first time the Big Berks, as it is called, has been held outside the Lower Forty-Eight. Thanks to the heroic efforts of President Franca Iacovetta and her team at the University of Toronto, we have four days of terrific programming and artistic performances.

Today’s program is here. Top five things to know? (more…)

April 26, 2014, 10:30 am

I Didn’t Defame You — I Just Used You: On Hashtag Activism

twitter-bird-1Earlier this week, I retweeted a link to a media report about a personnel issue at another campus. A friend of mine subsequently wrote to say that I ought to have investigated the report further, as what had occurred was far more complex.

Let me say: personnel matters usually are complex, which is why I rarely write about contested tenure cases at Tenured Radical. I receive many requests to do so, usually from angry students distraught at the loss of a beloved professor. I refuse all of them. I know from personal experience that whatever the truth of the matter, most of the relevant documents are not public. When actual discrimination occurs, it is very rare that you have the documentation to write a plausible and fair story unless the case goes to court. In other words, even if I were inclined to write about people in trouble, I would not do so since I do not have access to the fact…

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April 10, 2014, 5:54 pm

General Radical Marches on Atlanta; or, Fun @ The OAH Annual Meeting

2014-Program_150pxAir travel and conferencing can have the effect of making me feel as though I am not really anywhere at all. I certainly believe that I have been in nearly every major hotel, in nearly every major city, for at least one conference. Usually more than once. The last time I was in this one, the Atlanta Hilton, it was January, 1996, and the worst snowstorm ever to descend on the South (until this winter) created all kinds of havoc from Georgia up to Albany, New York. Some of us who remember that AHA Annual meeting managed to escape Atlanta, only to get stuck half-way home in dreary motels in Charlotte. Some Zenith friends of mine made it as far as Hartford, and then got stuck in the airport motel there; others rented cars and tried to drive home. Those who stuck it out at the Atlanta Hilton were the smart ones, since they did not get stuck in someplace even less desirable (like the Amtrak go…

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May 29, 2013, 1:52 pm

Homophobia at Harvard and Other Hideous Horrors

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In the intellectual spirit of the man himself, let me ask a counterfactual: why have so many people temporarily abandoned longstanding critiques of Niall Ferguson in favor of condemning him as a homophobe?

My guess is that Ferguson is not a homophobe, at least not in the conventional sense of wanting to exclude gay men from work and public life because they are gay, or not wanting his son to marry one. Having been educated at Oxford, where, according to his Wikipedia entry, he became dear friends with right-wing queer Andrew Sullivan, I can’t quite imagine that Ferguson is uncomfortable with white, gay men like John Maynard Keynes either.  I mean Oxford’s intellectual history is as gay as it gets, right? (more…)

April 21, 2013, 3:56 pm

On the Giving and Taking of Advice

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The mother of us all: Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail “Dear Abby” van Buren

Ten years ago, in the midst of a conversation, a colleague temporarily lost her temper at me. “Please stop giving me advice!” she snapped. “I don’t want any advice. I just want to talk about this!”

Needless to say, I was shocked and a little hurt. But upon further reflection, I had to admit that a flaw in my socialization had been usefully uncovered.  My friend had not asked for any advice, and yet I had offered it anyway. Why?

The giving and taking of advice is so ubiquitous in university life that it defines whole categories of activity that blur the line between personal and professional. In graduate school, members of my cohort gave each other advice, and it was often at least as good as the advice we got from faculty. …

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September 1, 2012, 10:23 am

Tenured Radical’s New Media Adventures

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a new Huffington Post feature called HuffPost Live. My segment — on marriage equality — was hosted by Janet Varney, who once had a part on one of my all-time favorite shows, Entourage (2004-2011).

I can’t figure out how to embed the video (perhaps because it is unembeddable?) but you can access Tenured Radical discussing the question of whether the government ought to get out of the business of marriage altogether here.

As you can see if you click on the link, it’s a web broadcast with a live chat feature on the right. There is a central studio in Los Angeles, where they sometimes have sit down guests: our feature was done via a Google+ Hangout, a video chat feature that allows up to nine people to join a conversation.

One obvious feature of doing a digital media event — aside from the fact that it is fun — is that in a …

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July 11, 2012, 3:00 pm

Writing By Hand: the Lost Art

Today the Tenured Radical is feeling like the Tenured Crank, and not just because of the summer cold that has taken up temporary residence between her vacationing ears.

Over at HASTAC, where there are always a ton of great ideas for the digitally inclined, writing prof Teresa Narey highlights the question of whether young people will continue to learn handwriting skills. Given the shift to using computers in secondary school, and curricula geared to a techie world, will subsequent generations even need to learn to write legibly? Cursive writing, she argues in this post, “is becoming an outdated skill.”

Secondary schools are apparently divided on this issue: some still teach handwriting and some do not. Some schools teach handwriting out of tradition, without any real conviction that it is a skill worth having. “Contrastingly,” Narey writes, “many Catholic schools continue to make…

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