On Deresiewicz and the Demons of Debt. A rant.

By Beth U I am working on a paper for an upcoming conference panel about teaching on the non-tenure track. As so often happens when immersed in a new writing project, seemingly random radio stories or news coverage will spark a new connection or direction in the work. Yesterday I listened to an episode of Gaby Dunn’s podcast Bad with Money in which she discusses how the 40-year reduction of state and federal funds for higher education, coupled with the more than 1...

Reflecting on Twenty Years of Sensuous Scholarship

By Beth & Laurian We are presenting a paper and co-chairing a panel at the upcoming American Anthropology Meetings to celebrate the twenty-year publication of Paul Stoller's Sensuous Scholarship.  Read below to see what we are up to! ________________ Panel Abstract Since its publication twenty years ago, Paul Stoller’s Sensuous Scholarship has informed not just what we write but how we write as ethnographers. In it, Sto...

On Audre Lorde and the Uses of Anger, Part III

Audre Lorde taking time
By Laurian & Beth   Below is part three of our series on Audre Lorde in which we use Lorde’s work to reflect on race, feminism, and anger. Our session today touches upon institutional racism, academia, activism, guilt, and building commonalities. Beth: Let’s talk for a bit about racism and sexism on college campuses. Recently, faculty members Eve Dunb...

The Beauty of Quitting: Keguro Macharia on Deracination, Psychic Breaks, and the US Academy

Julie Mehretu. "Dispersion," 2002. Ink and acrylic on canvas
By Beth U. I just came across Keguro Macharia's beautiful post “On Quitting” for The New Inquiry. In it, Macharia tries to make sense of why he resigned from a tenure track job at the same time he completed a book manuscript for publication. Academia rewards self-abnegation in the pursuit of perfectly timed and perfectly placed publications. It demands cycles of fevered writing followed by lengthy periods of ...

Breaking the Failure Taboo

Belize, photo by B.Uzwiak
By Beth U. A friend who is applying for tenure track teaching positions just emailed me Patrick Iber’s article “(Probably) Refusing to Quit” posted on Inside Higher Ed last spring. Iber details his struggle to obtain a tenure track position in the midst of the death of his mother and the birth of his children. At one point Iber tweeted: “Here's me: Ph.D....

On Academic Contingency: This is Satire

Spank it Instead of asking tenure track job candidates those boring and predictable questions about research and publication plans, or how they propose to dovetail every proposed course with a predicted article, search committees could ask questions that reflect the reality of most applicants’ current job responsibilities, especially if the candidate is already a contingent faculty member. After all, isn’t the purpose of an interview to assess the a...