233 posts tagged with academia.
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The evolution of JSTOR and chill

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. It also has a tumblr.
posted by kenko on Nov 21, 2015 - 21 comments

Rejecting the gender binary: a vector-space operation

“Word Embedding Models let us take a stab formalizing an interesting counterfactual question: what would the networks of meaning in language look like if patterns that map onto gender did not exist?” [more inside]
posted by Rangi on Nov 1, 2015 - 17 comments

Traces of Destruction: The emotional work of studying painful history

But people who decide to study this violent history, people who write it all down — we’re also people who need to mail in tax forms, or put on a pot of coffee, call our dads. This can be difficult work, this act of entering the pre when you live in the post, and then having to be a person, and hand something in by a deadline, and walk away and study and do it again. For writers of colour who choose to study or tell the stories of their own communities, this in-between space is made more stark by the fact that they work within a system that often speaks about them, for them, but not with them.
posted by sciatrix on Oct 12, 2015 - 3 comments

The consequences of sexual harassment at Berkeley

Dr. Geoffrey Marcy, a prominent exoplanet researcher employed as a professor at UC Berkeley, has been found to have repeatedly violated sexual harassment policy. The full report has not been made public, but according to a report by Buzzfeed, the result is that he is to be given "clear expectations concerning his future interactions with students" or risk further punishment. Dr. Marcy has put an apology letter on his web page. Dr. Michael Eisen, a biology professor at UC Berkeley, has posted an article about the contradictions between the Berkley sexual harassment training and institutional consequences. Dr. Janet Stemwedel writes in Forbes about the differences between institutional and community responses in this case.
posted by demiurge on Oct 11, 2015 - 93 comments

The improvised note ... some weird territory of you and me

Sofia Samatar's "Skin Feeling" evokes "What it is to be encountered as a surface, to be constantly exposed as something you are not." Samatar is an English professor, an SFF writer, and a person of color engaged in diversity work on her campus, and among other things, her essay reflects on multiple incidents of indecent exposure, Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo" and the university housed in what was once the largest mental hospital in the world, the book On Being Included, and being made a symbol of diversity (a topic that fellow SFF writer Kate Elliott recently addressed as well). [Samatar link via Savage Minds and Elliott link via N. K. Jemisin.]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Sep 27, 2015 - 4 comments

The battle between academia and business for research talent

Uber would like to buy your robotics department Today’s early-stage inquiry — so-called basic research, the Level 1 work, where scientists are still puzzling over fundamental questions — is financed almost exclusively by the federal government. It’s too far out, too speculative, to attract much investment; it isn’t clear if anyone will make any money on it. This wasn’t always the case.
posted by modernnomad on Sep 11, 2015 - 27 comments

naturally, it’s slated for demolition

This legion of bureaucrats enables a world of pitiless surveillance; no segment of campus life, no matter how small, does not have some administrator who worries about it. Piece by piece, every corner of the average campus is being slowly made congruent with a single, totalizing vision. Why We Should Fear University, Inc.
posted by gerryblog on Sep 10, 2015 - 56 comments

LSU, Tenure, and Profanity in the Classroom

Teresa Buchanan, associate professor of education at LSU, was fired for using profanity in the classroom and allegedly comparing women unfavorably to men. THe administration defends their actions by equating Dr. Buchanan's conduct to sexual harassment. Faculty at LSU and the AAUP have both objected to alarming administrative overreach in what they both see as grounds for censure rather than dismissal. Several media reports are linked off of this Language Log post.
posted by jackbishop on Sep 9, 2015 - 45 comments

The students and professors aren't the problem; the university system is

"The academy is no longer an investment of time worth making... I was a priest who had lost his faith, performing the sacraments without any sense of their importance." Yet another sad piece on academia, woe.
posted by pos on Sep 8, 2015 - 94 comments

"Seriously, fuck it," explains the paper’s abstract.

Nuance is revered in higher education. That’s especially true in sociology, where scholars spend their lives digging into the fine grain of human social behavior, often finding even finer grain underneath. Which is why it came as such a surprise — and perhaps a relief — when Kieran Healy, an associate professor of sociology at Duke University, last week brought a blunt message to the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting: "Fuck Nuance."
[more inside] posted by nebulawindphone on Sep 1, 2015 - 48 comments

Goscelin, patron saint of academics on contingent, short-term contracts

Eleanor Parker of A Clerk of Oxford writes Public Engagement and Personal Enthusiasm, St Mildred and Me
I can't say how far the personal inspired the scholarly interest, or the other way around - perhaps I was drawn to Mildred because I'm from Thanet, or perhaps studying Mildred has made me more interested in Thanet's Saxon history, which I didn't really know about or think about when I actually lived there. It's probably a bit of both. Who can explain why they're drawn to the subject they study?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 20, 2015 - 3 comments

This is why we can't have nice things

All Possible Humanities Dissertations Considered as Single Tweets
posted by nebulawindphone on Jun 10, 2015 - 45 comments

There's No Crying in Graduate School

The dark side to academia's "suck it up" culture. Rachel Vorona Cote discusses the harm in academia's stoic ethos.
posted by chainsofreedom on Jun 7, 2015 - 42 comments

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me. Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones. Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.
posted by hank_14 on Jun 3, 2015 - 157 comments

Can a single conversation change minds on divisive social issues? No.

A field experiment conducted by UCLA Political Science graduate student Michael LaCour made big news (including a This American Life Episode) when LaCour and Columbia professor Donald Green published their paper in Science about how a 20 minute conversation with gay canvassers change many people's minds and led them to support same-sex marriage. It turns out though, that LaCour made the whole thing up. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on May 20, 2015 - 196 comments

"My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you."

Michelle Obama's painful discussion of America's racial inequality and deep misogyny exists, for many, on the same spectrum as [Saida] Grundy's blunt remarks about race, power and privilege. Where the first lady used her commencement speech at one of the nation's premier HBCUs to deliver a seminar on institutional racism and our nation's anti-black culture, Grundy's social media commentary dispensed with complexity to deliver screams, sometimes angry, other times humorous, that reflect equally important truths about contemporary race relations, black women's activism and the limits of freedom of expression in the 21st century.
Peniel E. Joseph for The Root: What Happens to Black Women Who Boldly Speak Truth About Racial Inequality [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on May 19, 2015 - 24 comments

AAUP Salaita report

"The administration of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, in rejecting Professor Steven Salaita’s appointment without demonstrating cause, and in doing so only after the appointment had been approved and courses had been assigned to him, acted in violation of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the university’s own stated policies on the subject." The American Association of University Professors has issued its report on the Salaita case. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on May 5, 2015 - 87 comments

Hire a typist

Robert Eaglestone reviews the first English translation of Umberto Eco's How To Write A Thesis:
Into this bleak picture comes the first English translation of Eco’s How to Write a Thesis, continuously in print in Italy since 1977. That was a long time ago in academia, and, at first sight, lots of this book looks just useless, rooted in its historic and specific Italian context. Who uses index cards any more? (I mean, I used to, but I wrote my PhD on a computer with no hard drive, using 5¼-inch diskettes, when the internet was still for swapping equations at Cern or firing nukes at Russia.) Who has typists copy up their thesis? The sections on using libraries and research sources sound like an account of a lost, antediluvian culture. But.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 18, 2015 - 5 comments

Women in STEM fields

An empirical study by Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci at Cornell University found that when using identical qualifications, but changing the sex of the applicant, "women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 14, 2015 - 67 comments

I was completely embarrassed by it at the time

There is crying in science. That’s okay. People cry. Scientists are people. Therefore, scientists cry. So why is it that scientists and academics can get so freaked out by a colleague or student crying?
posted by sciatrix on Apr 2, 2015 - 81 comments

Criticism vs. Attack?

Last week, two critiques of Kevin Carey's new book, The End of College, coincidentally appeared on the same day in Inside Higher Ed: one by Joshua Kim and the other by Audrey Watters and Sara Goldrick-Rab. [more inside]
posted by DiscourseMarker on Mar 30, 2015 - 58 comments

Five Biases Pushing Women out of STEM

By now, we’ve all heard about the low numbers of American women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). My own new research, co-authored with Kathrine W. Phillips and Erika V. Hall, indicates that bias, not pipeline issues or personal choices, pushes women out of science – and that bias plays out differently depending on a woman’s race or ethnicity.
posted by sciatrix on Mar 28, 2015 - 24 comments

This is a critical time in the history of American universities

Robert Pippin spoke at High Concept Labs for The Point Magazine's 'New Humanities' issue: Ways of Knowing
We’re here because universities are experiencing a sense of crisis in the organization of knowledge. But it probably should be said just briefly, at the beginning, that this is also taking place within a crisis in the university system in the United States more generally. It’s been a long time building and it’s now rather critical. I mean, the indications of the crisis are well known to all of us: The figure that I heard is that in the last 25 years, there has been a 500 percent increase in tuition at private and public universities on average. There’s been massive defunding of state universities by state legislatures. When I began my career at the University of California at San Diego, 70 percent of the budget was funded by the state legislature. That’s down to under 20 percent, and students now have to pay $14,000 per year tuition if they’re in-state students, and in the twenties if they’re not. And they often leave college with debts totaling more than $50,000 or $60,000. This is the new way that universities are financed.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 4, 2015 - 24 comments

What's Wrong With Public Intellectuals?

Here’s a personal confession. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Feb 15, 2015 - 21 comments

Stripped of tenure for a blog post

"Stripped of tenure over a blog post." John McAdams, a tenured politics professor at Marquette University, has been terminated for publishing a blog post critizing a philosophy graduate student, by name, for telling an anti-gay-marriage student he could not make "homophobic comments" on the subject in class, in a conversation the student surreptitiously taped and shared with McAdams. The graduate student was subsequently flooded with hate mail and threats, and has moved to a different university. The case recalls that of Steven Salaita, who was either fired from or unexpectedly un-hired to a tenured position at the University of Illinois after a series of fiery tweets critical of Israel and its war conduct, which some called hate speech. Salaita is now suing the university. Can tenured professors be fired for what they say on social media? Should they be? [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Feb 9, 2015 - 220 comments

Data Visualization: Gendered Language in Teaching Reviews

"Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews: This interactive chart lets you explore the words used to describe male and female teachers in about 14 million reviews from RateMyProfessor.com." Created by Ben Schmidt, a professor at Northeastern University, the chart lets you enter specific words to see how they correspond with the professor's gender and teaching discipline. Schmidt provides more background on his blog. Feministing compares the results for "genius" and "bossy."
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Feb 9, 2015 - 35 comments

"No academic institution... is particularly great for family."

An associate professor of biology with two children speaks more negatively about the effects of balancing work and family on his career: “It's a disaster.” [1]
[more inside] posted by en forme de poire on Jan 28, 2015 - 75 comments

Who Speaks for the Subaltern?

When Subalternist theorists put up this gigantic wall separating East from West, and when they insist that Western agents are not driven by the same kinds of concerns as Eastern agents, what they’re doing is endorsing the kind of essentialism that colonial authorities used to justify their depredations in the nineteenth century. It’s the same kind of essentialism that American military apologists used when they were bombing Vietnam or when they were going into the Middle East. Nobody on the Left can be at ease with these sorts of arguments.
Vivek Chibber (Professor of Sociology, New York University) discusses the pitfalls of postcolonialism in the wake of his controversial book Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Dec 30, 2014 - 61 comments

Secretary of the Nerds

Ashton B. Carter, President Obama's new nominee for secretary of defence has the kind of epic nerd biography that makes you look twice:

"At Yale I ended up pursuing two entirely different majors – physics and medieval history. There was no relationship between them in my mind except that both fascinated me. I liked dusty archives, learning to decipher manuscripts in medieval script, and learning all the languages necessary to read the primary and secondary historical literature, especially Latin. I wrote a senior thesis on the use of Latin by contemporary monastic writers to describe the vibrant world of 12th century Flanders in which they lived. I also enjoyed English legal history and the foundations of the Common Law as established in the 11th through 13th centuries. I also did a lot of work on the hagiography of Saint Denis, patron saint of the French monarchy during its formative period in the 9th century. [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Dec 12, 2014 - 35 comments

"Reject – More holes than my grandad’s string vest!"

Shit My Reviewers Say (SLTumblr)
posted by capricorn on Dec 12, 2014 - 20 comments

Eugene V. Debts

Columbia University may become the second private university in the country with unionized graduate students. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Dec 7, 2014 - 49 comments

I Really Love My University, Which Is Why I'm Going on Strike

For the first time in its 39-year history, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation of the University of Oregon is on strike, and here's why . [more inside]
posted by bassooner on Dec 5, 2014 - 32 comments

One of these things is not like the others

US News and World Report (USNWR) ranking of the top ten universities in mathematics are: 1. Berkeley ; 2. Stanford ; 3. Princeton ; 4. UCLA ; 5. University of Oxford ; 6. Harvard ; 7. King Abdulaziz University ; 8. Pierre and Marie Curie – Paris 6 ; 9. University of Hong Kong ; 10. University of Cambridge [more inside]
posted by benzenedream on Nov 12, 2014 - 27 comments

“We’re all smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.”

Philosopher Brian Leiter announced that he will be stepping down as editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report, a highly influential reputational ranking of philosophy Ph.D. programs he created in 1989 while he was a graduate student, and which has been published on the Internet since 1996. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 17, 2014 - 74 comments


Barry Spurr, an expert on T. S. Eliot and the Virgin Mary, is Australia's first Professor of Poetry and Poetics. Appointed as one of two English subject specialists to the new Australian Review of the National Curriculum PDF, his concerns that "the Western literary canon" has been neglected and "the impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on literature in English in Australia" overemphasized in the existing curriculum are quoted liberally in the final report, which recommends that: "There ... needs to be a greater emphasis on dealing with and introducing literature from the Western literary canon, especially poetry," in Australian schools. The report has met with approval in the right-wing Australian press. Now, emails leaked to the New Matilda show that Spurr has spent the past several years sending messages from his University of Sydney email account referring to Native Australians as "Abos" and human "rubbish" and Asians as "chinky poos," calling Nelson Mandela a "darkie," Desmond Tutu a "witch doctor," and his own Vice Chancellor "an appalling minx," comparing Methodists to "serpents," and referring to women generally as "whores." Now, in the wake of the New Matilda exposé, the University of Sydney is investigating the emails and the Australian Education Minister is denying that the Abbott administration had anything to do with Spurr's appointment. Spurr, meanwhile, maintains that the emails were nothing more than "a whimsical linguistic game" and "repartee" shared with friends, which went right over the heads of the New Matilda journalists. There is also a petition to dismiss Spurr from the Review Commission.
posted by Sonny Jim on Oct 16, 2014 - 71 comments

Freshman Disorientation

A Collection Of Disorientation Guides From Colleges Across North America. Unsanctioned student guides offer advice on the real college experience [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 25, 2014 - 24 comments

"A Pyramid Scheme"

"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Publish or PERISH!!!

LEGO Academics experience the trials and tribulations of their taller, less-plasticy peers (previously 1, 2).
posted by ChuraChura on Sep 1, 2014 - 14 comments

No emails -- unless you’re scheduling an in-person meeting.

I don't always ignore your emails, but when I do, it's because the answer is on your syllabus. "In my effort to teach students appropriate use of emails, my syllabus policies [had] ballooned to cover every conceivable scenario -- when to email, when not to, how to write the subject line -- and still I spent class time discussing the email policies and logged hours upon hours answering emails that defied the policies. In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more." [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 28, 2014 - 71 comments

"Professors are citizens."

Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita's blocked appointment to teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has ignited a debate over academic freedom. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 26, 2014 - 602 comments

Welcome to this strange box with chairs in it.

The Shadow Syllabus: Writer and professor Sonya Huber offers some bullshit-free advice for her college students.
posted by dr. boludo on Aug 21, 2014 - 12 comments

"Sharing is not a crime"

Colombian student Diego Gomez faces four to eight years in prison for sharing an academic article online. [more inside]
posted by sockermom on Jul 24, 2014 - 23 comments

The Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Jul 17, 2014 - 8 comments

18 and Life

How Birth Year Influences Political Views A new model of presidential voting suggests President Obama’s approval rating — currently in the low 40s — will inform not only the 2016 election, but also the election in 2076. Events at age 18 are about three times as powerful as those at age 40, according to the model. The Upshot: Why Teenagers Today May Grow Up Conservative [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jul 9, 2014 - 69 comments

You Won't Believe What These Students Learnt In Just Four Years

if Upworthy ran a university their doctoral theses would probably sound like these.
posted by divabat on Jun 11, 2014 - 30 comments

Out to Pasture: Herding Education to Slaughter

Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 29, 2014 - 13 comments

There is one argument for doing a thing; the rest are for doing nothing.

“The Principle of Sound Learning is that the noise of vulgar fame should never trouble the cloistered calm of academic existence. Hence, learning is called sound when no one has ever heard of it… If you should write a book (you had better not), be sure that it is unreadable; otherwise you will be called ‘brilliant’ and forfeit all respect.” - The Microcosmographia Academica (pdf), FM Cornford’s cynical 1908 guide to the academic life, including detailed instructions on obstructing progress. (via the excellent Alex Reinhart, previously)
posted by anotherpanacea on May 20, 2014 - 6 comments

At least someone can afford to pay down their debts.

Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds (SLNYT) 'At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012...The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.' Report here.
posted by MisantropicPainforest on May 19, 2014 - 24 comments

Perhaps Wikipedia is the ideal venue

I call on historians to dedicate their precious few hours of spare time to improving Wikipedia; as an incentive, I call on ­administrators to integrate Wikipedia contributions into the publication requirements for tenure.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on May 17, 2014 - 71 comments

In the future, every author will be in the public domain for 15 minutes

The non-profit digital library of Marxist texts, The Marxist Internet Archive, has received a copyright take-down request from the radical publishing house Lawrence and Wishart, asking that all material from the Marx and Engels Collected Works be removed from the site by May 1 2014. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Apr 29, 2014 - 55 comments

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