February 21, 2014, 11:15 am

It’s Friday Night. Is Your Kid At A Frat?

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How can your kid be hurt at a frat? Let us count the ways. Graphic is from The Atlantic

Even if you are a Caitlin Flanagan h8ter, read her cover story in this month’s Atlantic about how dangerous college fraternities are, to your daughters, your sons, and to you.

There’s always a downside to a Flanagan article: the excessive gesture to whatever theory keeps her recognizable as a conservative. For example, it seems almost mandatory for right wing writers to assert that college is all play and no work, and that student leisure is an expensive, wasteful university marketing ploy. This works to obscure the fact that that wealthy donors would rather have their names on buildings than lower tuition anonymously. It neglects the fact government at all levels has Hoovered public dollars out of public and private…

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February 18, 2014, 11:19 am

Dear Mr. Kristof: A Letter from a Public Intellectual

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The word you were looking for was WTF

Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof got an earful when he bewailed the absence of academics writing for a broad audience (“Professors, We Need You!”, February 15, 2014.) Much gnashing of teeth ensued. I left an extended comment over at Corey Robin’s blog; Corey’s post is full of great links to other public intellectuals.  And can we give three cheers to our colleagues at UIC, intellectuals out in public who are walking the picket line today and tomorrow?

I was also lucky enough to receive a guest post over the transom from an old friend, Carol Emberton, a professor of American history at SUNY-Buffalo. Emberton is the author of Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War (University of Chicago Press, 2013.) In a…

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February 16, 2014, 10:00 am

Tenured Radical, Live from the Cornell Sex Archive

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If that headline doesn’t grab your attention, what will?

The Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, reminding some of us that the history of sex has emerged as a field within our own lifetimes. The curator of the HSC, Head of Research Services Brenda Marston, has been leading out a celebration that includes Speaking of Sex, an exhibit at Cornell’s Carl A. Kroch Library, that opened last Friday February 14 and will be up until October 11, 2014. There is also a speaker’s series that kicks off with a reading by Jewelle Gomez at 4:30 on March 12 in Lewis Auditorium (Goldman Smith Hall). (more…)

February 11, 2014, 11:09 am

Links Before Lunch….

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For reasons I do not entirely understand, this image has been circulating on Facebook.

…Otherwise known as random bullets of cr^p. So without further ado:

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February 8, 2014, 6:13 pm

Tackling Hunger On Campus

food stampsI was glad to see this article by Peg Tyre about Franklin and Marshall College’s efforts to recruit and retain low income students. “Poor students who are accepted into selective four-year universities often find themselves adrift,” Tyre writes, ”overwhelmed by the financial, academic and cultural challenges created by an environment shaped to serve the habits and needs of the wealthy” (The New York Times, February 5, 2014).

Full disclosure: I happen to like this little liberal arts college in Lancaster, PA, a 45-minute Amtrak ride from Philadelphia. Years ago, I was part of a visiting committee at F&M, and I returned to consult on a second project. Each time, I found it a thoughtful place. I was impressed by the care that faculty took with their students (want to work at F&M? Guess what? When I visited, faculty were expected to be at the office five days a week, like other people…

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February 2, 2014, 1:59 pm

Why Won’t Obama Talk About The Poor?

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New Yorkers are doin’ it for themselves. Cover design by Robert Best

Say what you will about The Nation, it is one of the few publications that does consistent and evidence-based investigative reporting on poverty, both in the United States and abroad. Most American institutions — in particular, the two major political parties, but also many major news outlets — cannot bear to use the words “poor” or “poverty,” much less write anything that focuses on policy rather than human interest stories about people who overcome hardship by playing football or winning a scholarship to Harvard.

It’s policy we need, not cheerleading. John Nichols’ blog post “How Sargent Shriver Helped John Kennedy Become a Liberal” (The Nation, January 20 2014) makes a particularly important point: while the President has to be willing …

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January 31, 2014, 1:00 am

Random Pieces of Writing Fun

Flying_PigsHere’s a redirect to my book blog where, to celebrate completing another draft chapter, I describe my weird writing process.

You’ve heard the expression “when pigs fly?” Well, the little porkers are fluttering around the Mountain West: Historiann joined Twitter. We expect great things of you, cowgirl, as you are hands down the wittiest woman in the Rockies.

John Fea, who is awesome in so many ways, rented a hotel room and wrote over 30,000 words in a weekend. Over at the #GraftonLine, we are all, like, dude.

It is well known within the four walls of my home that I am Ann Patchett’s biggest fan. Her recent book, This is the Story of A Happy Marriage (Harpers, 2013), a collection of nonfiction essays, is particularly good reading if you are trying to focus on, and think about, your writing. Anyone wishing to make a speech in defense of the humanities will also love Patchett’s…

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January 28, 2014, 10:31 am

There Are More Than Two Sides To Everything

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I welcome the broader observations about the current state of American Studies that Christopher Shea has made at the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Boycott Debate is Symptom of Broader Debate in American Studies,” 1/27/2014). However, I do regret the characterization of the ASA as split between, as he implies, progressive proponents of the boycott and “cultural conservatives.”

Why? In my view, this choice reinforces the views of the most vigorous participants in this conversation (including those who have become activist in their views that an academic organization has no business becoming activist) that there are only two “sides.” You can call them radical and conservative;  or perhaps you will want to characterize them as those whose faces are turned to an intellectual future and the angry traditionalists. In the dichotomies proposed, there is no middle ground, no place of in…

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January 26, 2014, 11:09 am

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

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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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