Category Archives: Supporting the Next Generation

Scholars Behaving Badly

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A dissertation advisor has a lot of different roles. S/he is the content guide, the networking guide, the methodological guide, the institutional-logistics guide. But an unspoken role of the dissertation chair is to just be a decent, intelligent, empathetic person. And boy, the fails pile up. The dissertation chair who,… Read more »

Free Agent, Redux

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Okay, in my last post, I talked about the ways in which we don’t support one another strongly enough in higher ed. Let’s talk about the other side, the ways in which higher ed has strongly defended the role of tenure. Tenure is intended to be a protection of intellectual… Read more »

Free Agent

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I just saw Michael Moore’s movie Where to Invade Next with some friends on Saturday night. It’s a terrific movie, as he usually delivers, though not I think as powerful as Roger & Me or Bowling for Columbine. But one of the ideas that he hopes to “colonize” for America… Read more »

Inevitable Setbacks in the Equally Inevitable Victory

After the 2005 London subway bombings, there was a vast and immediate response by the English, which spread almost worldwide within days. We are not afraid. We can hold onto anger and fear. Or we can recognize that it won’t be long until those who hate become irrelevant. We are at… Read more »

Words Unspoken in My Home

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I recently spent a few days with a friend about to send her eldest son off to college. And as she talked about their plans for the summer and fall, I realized that there were just a lot of things we take for granted as white-collar professionals that many of… Read more »

Class Traitor

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It’s the little things that you notice. I’d gone to visit my brother in Michigan while I was in grad school, for the first time in a decade. It was Tuesday evening, 9pm, and he invited us to watch a little TV before he got ready to go off to… Read more »

Copying the masters

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One of the things I think we do poorly in teaching young people to write is that we either teach it as a mode of self-expression, in which anything goes as long as it’s authentic… or as a mode of linguistic science, a series of parts of speech and moods… Read more »

Competitive Bids

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I’m on the Select Board in our town of 740 people, which means that I get to take care of a bunch of unpredictable things as they arise. For instance, there was a house fire last month next to the town’s library, and the heat from the fire broke a few… Read more »

Women’s Work

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I tend to be kind of an observant person, a good character trait for an ethnographer. But I don’t always know how to turn it off, and my wife occasionally says that I’m sounding like Andy Rooney, which is a gentle way of saying that I should be quiet for… Read more »

Intellectual Genres

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I was at a writers’ conference a few years ago, in a session led by an acquisition editor from Penguin. (Don’t you just love the idea that the publisher is called Penguin, by the way?) Anyway, she was telling us about the shelving codes used by publishers to help booksellers departmentalize… Read more »