November 28, 2013, 11:46 am

Hands Across the Web: Thanksgiving Shout-Outs

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After some posts Tenured Radical feels like the main course

Back in 2007, I handed out turkeys on Thanksgiving to the biggest dumb-a$$es in education I had encountered that year. Ah, but I was so much younger then; I’m older than that now. As I woke up this morning, I had this conversation with myself:

Tenured Radical: (slams a cup of coffee down on the bedside table) Yo, dude. Time for us to give out some of those good ol’ TR Thanksgiving Turkeys! You remember, that round-up of people who have made fools of themselves in some way? What better year than this one?

Claire Potter: (not yet fully awake) Are you sure? After everything that has happened in the past couple weeks, do we have to be vengeful? It’s been kind of unpleasant around here and I think we need to change the mood. I mean, we’ve ended up on…

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November 23, 2013, 12:29 pm

Srsly? Notes on Social Media, #2013ASA

barack-obama-laughingYou may have received something on Facebook today, as well as on Twitter, floating the accusation that my opposition to the academic boycott of Israel being considered by the National Council of #2013ASA is a sham. This opposition is, the messages claims, only an excuse for me to continue an unhealthy and longstanding obsession with a prominent member of the American Studies Association.

This person, it is alleged, was once my friend, but broke off that friendship for unnamed reasons (because I am a psychotic lesbian? Because I have bad politics? Because I am wardrobe challenged? We are taking suggestions in the comments section.) The tweet mentions that this person has blocked me on every electronic media possible, inferring that I have been an e-stalker in the past, and have taken up this deviant behavior again, this time strategizing my cyber-terror through time-consuming…

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November 22, 2013, 7:52 pm

Philadelphia: November 22, 1963

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A crowd listens to the news of the assassination in New York City, November 22, 1963

Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. Five years old. Surrounded by grown up legs in nylon stockings. A sudden wave goes through the crowd: “The President has been shot!” My mother grabs my hand and we walk quickly to the car because something terrible has happened and we have to get home. It’s a big yellow Merc with chrome fins, green cloth interior, black roof and electric windows.

(Where was my sister? Was she home? I don’t remember.)

This was still when it was ok to put your kid in the front seat, no seatbelt or anything. Driving home on the expressway, the radio announces that the President is dead. My mother starts to cry, puts her arm across my stomach so I don’t fall off the seat and starts to brake (this…

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November 22, 2013, 10:51 am

One Side Fits All: An Interesting Development @ #2013ASA

Take a look at the following screen shot, and tell me what you see.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 9.46.01 AM

The first tweet, at the bottom, reports on what sounds like an outstanding presentation by Duke University’s Fred Moten. Moten was arguing in support of an intellectual boycott of Israel being considered by the National Council of the American Studies Association on Sunday. If I am understanding his, and the tweeter’s, argument correctly, it is an established position of PACBI: that Palestinians have no academic freedom, and therefore the issue is null. The corollary to this is that freedom of speech among US academics, and concerns that an institutional boycott of Israel will constrain the academic freedom of those employed by Israeli institutions (unless they are explicitly aligned with BDS) is a privileged, bourgeois concern that whitewashes the reality of the ongoing Occupation.

I would like to point out,…

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November 21, 2013, 10:35 am

Blogging for Free Speech and Academic Freedom: The 1000th Post

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Illustration by Ernest Hopf.

Given that my reply to one commenter had become post-length (look at the comments section of the prior post) I decided to make a few small edits and elevate it to the main page of the blog. I do so with a message to those opposing the resolution for an academic boycott of Israel at #2013ASA: stop throwing stones, and focus. The principles of free speech and academic freedom are, I believe, positive and compelling reaons to defeat an American Studies Association (ASA) boycott of Israel based on the principles laid out by PACBI. Questioning the motives and ethical stances of fellow academics affiliated with BDS is not. I have been particularly concerned by unwarranted charges of antisemitism and racism, on this blog, in the academic #twittersphere.

I would also like to say…

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November 20, 2013, 9:42 am

Letter to the ASA Opposing the Proposed Academic Boycott of Israel

182377754_400x400_FrontTo: John Stephens, Executive Director of the American Studies Association

Subject: Opposition to proposed resolution before the National Council of the ASA for an academic boycott of Israel.

Dear John,

Please count me as an ASA member who opposes the proposed sanctions of Israel’s academic institutions and, by logical extension, the scholars associated with those institutions, that has been put before the Council by the Academic and Community Activism Caucus. Scholars of any nation ought to be free to travel, publish and collaborate across borders: I consider this to be a fundamental human right, and so does the United Nations. We in the American Studies Association cannot defend some of those human rights and disregard others. (more…)

November 19, 2013, 1:09 pm

Burned-out, Dissenting and Staying Home: On Not Attending the ASA Annual Meeting

boyoboyI had not planned to attend this year’s American Studies Association Meeting, which is just as well. After I learned this week that a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel would be presented for discussion, I realized I need a time out from American Studies. Part of this is that the organization — which I have always loved, and still love, for its activism — has taken itself in an intellectual direction that I sometimes no longer even understand. This year’s meeting, for example, bears the theme, “Beyond the Logic of Debt: Toward an Ethics of Collective Dissent.”

Does anyone but me look at this and say “Why does this one thing before the colon seem not to bear any relationship to the thing after the colon?” Speaking of colitis, some are getting it from next year’s CFP, which seems to deliberately mock the idea of scholarly meetings by arguing that conferences may …

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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”…

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November 12, 2013, 12:22 pm

Making Your Scholarship Accessible — For A Price

97104665Paula Kaufman, most recently Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at University of Illinois U-C, reports on the mass resignation of the Journal of Library Administration (JLA) editorial board. (H/T) The issue? The publisher, Taylor & Francis, insisted on author agreements that, in some contributors’ view, restricted access to their work unfairly.

Most objectors read the agreement to give T&F exclusive rights to the author’s work. T&F said it didn’t, and although it wouldn’t alter its standard agreement, to its credit it accepted some amendments, including language that clarified the confusion. All seven authors whose work appears in the January 2013 issue used an addendum. Subsequently, however, two authors of articles that were to appear in future issues withdrew them prior to publication because they weren’t (more…)

November 11, 2013, 11:22 am

Planet for a Small Conference

chicago_vacation2Just back from a whirlwind trip to Chicago — well, actually, Evanston — where I attended and presented at Sexual Reputations, a conference hosted and sponsored by Northwestern University’s Department of Sociology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN), and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

I had fun. I had so much fun. Thank you.

I had fun despite the fact there is so much to be said for not traveling halfway across the country for 48 hours: air travel is just. so. bad. I thought the broken down American Airlines seat was going to cripple me halfway through the return trip. For the first time I regretted that my resentment of à la carte air travel is so firm that I had refused (as I always do) the $90 upgrade to first class. Ninety dollars is not so much, I reflected, somewhere…

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