Doubling Down on #PhDon’t

The other day, one of my favorite former students hit me up on Facebook to ask for my help in applying to the PhD program in German at my alma mater. Now, I have nothing but good things to say about my program, the rigor of my coursework, the innovation of our comprehensive exam process, and the singularly, harrowingly individualized guidance I got during my dissertation from my former adviser, whom I love like an eccentric older cousin.

The sole fear I had when I struck out on my own as postacademic a few months ago was that laying bare the truth of my wrenching failures would reflect negatively on my Doktorvater, as my discipline calls one’s dissertation adviser with some, but not enough, irony. Fortunately, my “father” has recognized the unique opportunity public failure has given his “progeny” to speak truth to power (and to embolden others to do so as well), and though I’m sure he would not have chosen the words I did, nor do I expect him to publish any Solidarity with Rebecca Schuman posts anytime soon, I know he is proud of my unconventional path.

That said…when my former student expressed interest in being one of my Doktorvater’s new progeny, I said: “Do not get a PhD. Do not do it.” I then pointed him in the direction of Sarah Kendzior’s “Academia’s Indentured Servants,” which is the most important piece of academic journalism ever published, and my own humble “Thesis Hatement,” and finally several classics from the Pannapanopticon. My student, who had never heard of an adjunct, was made duly wary, and I was soooooooooooproudofmyself. So proud, in fact, that I took to Twitter to #brag.

William Pannapacker, it turns out, doesn’t appreciate his work being used in a purely categorical way. Indeed, he has said repeatedly that would-be students should be aware of the reality and of all of their options, and do the best research possible (research he is currently putting his ass on the line to make possible, by the way), but he, and many of my other Postac Homies (including the fantastic Jen Polk and Gradland), are outspoken advocates of Make Your Own Choices.

There is, after all, no guarantee that you, my dear potential or current grad student, will have the rotten luck on the job market I did. You may very well get a tenure-track job your first year out, at a wonderful school that is a perfect “fit” for you, with students you adore and well-reviewed books and conference travel you enjoy, and tenure, and promotion to Full, and eminence für immer und ewig.

But I’m here to say that even if I could guarantee that would be your path, absolutely 100% guaranfuckingtee it, I would say: “Do not go to graduate school.”* 

And I’ll tell you why. As I’m sure you know now, having read Sarah’s article several times, the current labor system in academia is…I believe the scientific term is FUBAR. Over three-quarters of instruction is conducted by non-tenure-track faculty (like meeeeeeeeeeee), and the compensation and work structure for tenure-track faculty is also no picnic these days anywhere but at the most elite institutions (and/or if you humped your biographer—wait, never mind. Buuurn).

Meanwhile, executive administrative positions are multiplying like cicadas, and dormitories and off-campus apartments are cushier than the Ritz-Carlton. Universities have so many “partnerships” with MOOCs and for-profit testing centers and multinational corporations that they have become indistinguishable from any other corporations (although they are probably the only “Fortune 500 companies” whose workforce often contains self-professed Marxists).

The contemporary university is a modern-day feudal system, where the very few at the top enjoy a comparatively cushy life while the vast majority labor at close to minimum wage. The contemporary university is Wal-Mart with PhDs. And every single person who works in its structure, from Full Professors to adjuncts like me, is participating in what I truly believe to be a toxic and deeply exploitative system.

If a student came to me and said, “Hey, I am thinking of working at Wal-Mart after graduation. There’s a good chance I’ll go straight to upper management, but I might have to start as a Greeter,” I’d be like Good God, don’t do that if you have any other option. Because Wal-Mart, whatever their aggressive Corporate Image ads are trying to tell you, is a corporation that makes the world an abjectly worse place by driving local businesses into the ground, forcing the low-education workforce to have no other feasible option while simultaneously reminding everyone how disposable they are, and—most importantly—creating a falsely low standard of “how much shit should cost” by relying entirely on cheaply-made goods produced in overseas factories with slavery-like conditions. The entire world that Wal-Mart creates and perpetuates is despicable, and so if I had a student who wanted to go work for them and asked for my advice, I’d be like, “Maybe don’t become a cog in a system like that.”

Academia is not as bad as Wal-Mart, but it certainly operates on a similar model. Are you a 35-year-old PhD with no training for any other career, but still have to feed yourself (and possibly your children if they’re being uncooperative)? Then you have little choice but to adjunct for your three favorite local colleges, for a total yearly wage of $20,000. Don’t like making $2700 a course? No problem—there are 10 recent PhDs who still think their big tenure-track jackpot is right around the corner who will be delighted to take your place. Adjuncts are (usually) unfit for any other job, financially unable to take unpaid time off to train for a new career (or socialized out of believing they even can), and completely disposable.

This is a highly distressing system, and it’s not one that I can encourage someone to join…even at the top, as one of the “haves.” So you lucked out and got a tenure-track position with research funds and benefits. That’s great—but the simpering, deferential cowardice you will probably have to display for the six years it takes you to get tenure will prevent you from speaking up on behalf of the adjuncts who work all around you, whose credentials are probably identical to yours, and whose only “crime” is having too much relevant experience. There are many tenured and even a few tenure-track faculty who have the balls to speak out about their institutions’ treatment of adjuncts—but just as many are straight-up feudal about it.

Yes, everyone’s experience is different, and you may indeed end up with a great tenure-track job. But your fortune will be surrounded by suffering. If you’ve got no problem with that—well, then that makes you an Ayn Randian fuckwit. “I got mine, because MERITOCRACY, and screw you, Untermenschen!” Great. But why would I encourage someone to do that, to be that?

As a part-time adjunct I realize I am a complete hypocrite. I am trying to atone for this by being an “adjunct activist” whenever possible—but encouraging someone to follow my path just to be the Norma Rae of the Ivory Tower, fist aloft and $14 in the bank, is just irresponsible.

So this is why I am absolutely fine with categorically suggesting that would-be Humanities PhDs stay the hell away from graduate school, no matter their financial situation, no matter their connections, no matter their goals or background or mental toughness or whatever. The academic labor system is exploitative, even if it doesn’t directly exploit you personally. So fuck it. Don’t join this system—as a serf, or as a lord.

*NB: I am referring to Humanities grad school only. A discipline that officially presents any alternative to employ within the academy is a situation with which I have no experience, and whose socialization mechanisms are different than the Humanities.

 

 

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57 thoughts on “Doubling Down on #PhDon’t

  1. I agree with your dad. If you wrote a book on the subject, I would buy it and send copies to specific people who REALLY need it.

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  2. Reblogged this on As the Adjunctiverse Turns and commented:
    Academia ‘s Wal-Mart labor model where even succeeding still sucks and will involve selling your soul. Tenure track was what Mephistopheles was really selling Faust. Marlowe’s ending is probably more realistic. Just say no & run like hell. The irony here is that if PanKK had made her escape as planned, we would not have the pleasure of reading this finely crafted vitriol. More please…

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  3. A toss up between you and McSweeney’s. Both (and no telling what else is out there) either made or messed up my Saturday morning. I was going to take the day off from trolling the adjunctiverse for higher ed road kill. Now back to sharing the bounty…

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  4. “Tenure track was what Mephistopheles was really selling Faust. Marlowe’s ending is probably more realistic. Just say no & run like hell.”

    Exactly.

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  5. Actually, it doesn’t take any balls whatsoever to fight adjunctifcation after you’re tenured. That’s why it’s so pathetic that so few tenured professors do anything about the problem.

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  6. Creeping adjunctification obviously not only impoverishes the vast majority of people who actually work in universities, but also undermines the tenure system itself. (I say this as someone who has spent a chunk of the last academic year making the case that a tenure line in my section needs to be replaced, but apparently, at least until now, to no avail.) Yes, anyone who has tenure and doesn’t speak out against the treatment of adjuncts is a feudalistic dolt. But let’s not forget who the real enemy is, whose ramparts need to be stormed by adjuncts and faculty alike in unison, and that’s the administrators who are out to screw us all over as much as they possibly can.

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  7. Love this, PKK–but there’s an important difference between academia and WalMart–WalMart doesn’t play a thousand-year-long role in the culture that’s worth preserving or a hundred-year-long history, however checkered, of protecting critical voices and promoting equality and democracy. For an individual making a career choice, your advice makes good sense–but academia’s not a ship I want to abandon–and we might need good people everywhere to help save it.

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    1. I agree with you mostly, but the single most effective action is to cut into the glut of socialized PhDs and thus the disposability. Thus PhDon’t is still sound and responsible advice. It’s our responsibility as people already in the belly of the beast to fight, and to save as many people from getting devoured as possible until conditions improve, if they ever do.

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    2. As an afterthought, this morning, on a somewhat related task, I came across this comment by Steve Street (posting as hoppingmadadjunct) on a Dec 2009 Pannapacker blog post, http://chronicle.com/blogPost/The-MALAcademic-Labor-/19479

      “Trying ‘to make life better for adjuncts’ would be more than ‘a practical reality’ or ‘the best we can do.’ As Dan Clawson points out in the Fall 2009 issue of the NEA’s Thought & Action, establishing equity for contingents robs schools’ incentive for relying on them. The struggle for equity is the same as the struggle to preserve faculty governance and the struggle to preserve tenure. Faculty interests not only are but should be one and the same.”

      Are we making progress? I think so. Will it be enough and in time, or is it too late?

      Personally, I don’t think the university is, can, or should be the only protection for “critical voices and promoting equality and democracy.” Abandoning the university is not the same as abandoning those values or ceasing to cultivate them.

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  8. “the adjuncts who work all around you, whose credentials are probably identical to yours” – this situation, I think, is central to professorial silence. How miserable it must be to get a job, think you’ve won the lottery, then realize you have inadvertently (or not) become the oppressor, and the oppressed mill all around you like flies. so many respond with silence and denial because they feel the only alternative is to bring down the system that lifted them up. (this is not a defense of that behavior, btw).

    I first saw this conundrum in grad school when my funding ran out and I was offered my first position as a “lecturer.” I didn’t know what that meant at the time. As this professor selling me the position explained it, my estimation of him fell. I suddenly saw him as morally compromised, forced by the university to paint this factory job as an “opportunity.”

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    1. Adjuncts around me do not have my credentials. I am called the oppressor because I got into a PhD program, whereas they did not. So I am supposed to obey their uninformed and if informed, outdated views, to make it up to them that earlier in life I got an opportunity they did not. This is what my dept. chair tells me.

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      1. Do you think that’s typical? So many adjuncts do have the PhD nowadays…meanwhile, one of my former colleagues just got a competing offer and managed to negotiate himself one course a semester out of it.

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      2. I am confused by your comment – these are your views or these are the views put forth by your chair and your disagree with them? Either way, I guess the point is that these are the arguments put forth by your department.

        some of the adjuncts I worked with did not have phds, but others did (including myself). my ideas were new and fresh and finding homes in academic journals while I was an adjunct. I’m not sure why being an adjunct would make a person’s views outdated. In fact, I’d think the opposite since these people are working so hard to stay fresh for the job market. As for the adjuncts without credentials: the idea that universities would use this as a defense against accusations of unfair pay and working conditions raises immediate questions about why the university would hire people to teach classes who don’t have the credentials to do so. Does the university charge less for students to take those classes or otherwise make those students and their parents aware that certain classes are taught by instructors that the university deems underqualified? Do students earn the standard 3 credit hours for a class taught by an underqualified instructor?

        Also, the point about “the oppressor” was simply to point out that current graduate students face a lose/lose situation. Fail to get a TT position, or get one and find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation, working side by side with people who do the same job as you but don’t earn a living wage while feeling helpless to speak out about it because you don’t want to jeopardize your chances for tenure. For professors who have been around for a long time, this moral dilemma has developed around them, raising difficult questions about complicity. It’s a bad situation for everyone–it seems only the university coffers, and the well-paid admins win out.

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      3. Apologies for speaking for you Z, but: I am 100% sure that Z’s being arch. She is most certainly pro-adjunct equality. Not to speak for her! But I don’t want any confusion.

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      4. that was my assumption – but then I didn’t want to assume. love that word “arch” btw. and it was still worth it to respond to those ideas about adjuncts. 🙂

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    1. OK FINE CLARISSA, hyperbole police, I see your point. And I’m very glad you’re paid what you’re worth. I just hope the adjuncts you work with are too, and that you treat them like the colleagues they are, and are otherwise doing your part to help curb exploitation.

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      1. I think actually C’s place might be one of the good ones to be TT at. There isn’t such a thing at TT at the Ivies, and C’s place really is trying to tenure people (unlike the R1s, who are trying to weed out), and the teaching load isn’t that high, and they still have some other support for faculty. And no mega-service, which you get at the private places.

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  9. The exploitation was why my father, a professor, discouraged going into academia. I was interested in the degree and figured there was exploitation in other fields as well — but. I think the fact that it your remarks on everything upset certain full professors so much does indicate that they are in fact negatively affected by this as well…

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      1. Aber doch, er ist ein Freunde, ob du kanst es glauben. Wir sind Berkeley-Stanford studenter! (Es tut mir leid, ich habe Deutsch nur ein Jahre gelernt, im Realschule.) We’re from the same places & are the same age and are in related subfields and know oodles of people in common, and do related work. It is because of him I know about you and I have kind of–well, quite beaten him up about his attitude. My pro Schuman posts were written to yell at him, and I also pestered him mercilessly on his blog. Had I been able to see the CHE comments (LexisNexis doesn’t include those somehow…?) I would probably have been yet more horrified.

        But he’s really damaged by the whole academische thing too, although he has won many of its big prizes. Blogs about insecurity, for example. The reason I wanted to find the comments thread on your CHE piece, which I never could do, was so I could find out exactly how badly JM was acting (or acts when I am absent)? … I am starting to get the idea that despite all the oppression and persecution and not having had the skills to deal with these I am one of the least f-ed up by academia. Do not know how I escaped this, another friend from the JM era is tenured at R1 in lovely city and has now had nervous breakdown because of the competitive-evaluative nature of the whole thing.

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      2. Insecure? But I thought he believed in his ideas and that’s why he is a success and I am a failure. I have cried actual real tears because of what that motherfucker has said to and about me, and from what his asshole cadre of supporters in the CHE have said. I don’t like to admit it, but I have. I have to remember that his loathing comes from fear as much as ignorance, with a side helping of it sucking to live in Kansas. In conclusion, the dislike is mutual and that guy can go fuck himself. If I ever see him at MLA I will have to stop myself from throwing a punch by reminding myself that it’s his right to shoot me dead if I do.

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      3. PS your German is amazing. I took four years of Spanish in school and then a summer immersion in Costa Rica about three years ago and couldn’t manage a tenth of that.

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      4. Well, I’m a good language student and I speak Danish, minored in it in college, so these things help with German!

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  10. The fact that these people would ratpack on someone who didn’t get a job is why it is embarrassing to be in academia — peoples’ behavior is just so low, and I do not like to spend time in the presence of that.

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    1. Well, I’m sorry I said I was tempted to cold cock him in the mustache. I usually comfort myself with the fact that he might be a FULLPROF, but I’m prettier :). But yeah, I get so hurt when people read my bare, raw admission of failure as a great reason to attack en masse. I’m mostly beyond it now, but obviously not fully! Luckily I’ve never read his blog, though I have had parts of it quoted. He bullied me very, very nastily on the CHE. it was personal and it was cruel. I reacted with emotion and humanity, and got eviscerated for it.

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      1. Oh, I have people about whom I’ve had more violent fantasies than that. I mean I would like to knock them unconscious. Off their feet. Ignite their libraries.

        I don’t understand why people attack en masse when they see blood, and eviscerate when they see humanity, but I have had this happen before and I think it is that they really cannot tolerate being in the presence of someone more evolved. It is v.v. threatening to their sense of righteousness, or whatever it is they need to have.

        One of the things I told Mayhew was that he was talking like a wife-beater, using classic verbal moves that any domestic violence counselor would tell people to run from before they get hit or shot. This was in response to things he said on the blogs I could see. I am assuming the CHE thread was worse.

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  11. “Do you think that’s typical? So many adjuncts do have the PhD nowadays…”

    I am in Spanish and we are desperate to hire. You don’t have to adjunct if you have the PhD, that I know of. For the positions that do not require it, there is no competition except in maybe places considered very very very desirable to live. But generally, we go out and scour the streets, call all our friends, search and search to find people to teach those classes.

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    1. Which does not mean I recommend the PhD — the general disarray of academia affects everyone. Still, Spanish is one of the best humanities fields to be in: it is a foreign language, so a lot of people do not do it whereas they would do English, and it is a foreign language that is expanding. So one is not going to be outright unemployed, most likely…

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  12. And #OccupyHE, yes, this is key. Really key.

    And, p.s. on JM, the thing about him is he is still trying to prove he is a meritocrat. Now going for a teaching award. When being Full and Happy and so on, should be working on #OccupyHE since HE is the best profession in the world according to him.

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    1. I finally clenched my teeth (and gut) and read his blog. It was much, much tamer than what he said to me directly on the CHE, which was
      1) that I “don’t believe in my ideas” because I jokingly denigrated my own work WHILST LINKING TO IT
      2) that noooobody uses French Theory anymore (which is funny, since I am just right this second reading a 2013 book on “Philosophy” and Kafka that is 3/4 French Theory and quotes Derrida, Merlau-Ponty, Levinas, and has an entire fucking chapter on Deleuze)
      3) that the academy is better off without a “self-loathing anti-intellectual” such as myself (this due to my old Twitter handle as the “intellecutal’s anti-intellectual,” which was A JOKE meant to define me as anti-Derrida but also anti-John Ellis)
      4) that the first, last and only reason I did not get a job in the world’s greatest and only important profession is that I AM DUMB.

      This seems to be a “fact” repeated on his blog a lot, wherein a few of his acolytes pile on and declare me a “book enthusiast” rather than a serious scholar. That shit shouldn’t bother me anymore–honestly I’d rather be a “book enthusiast” than lumped in with those assholes–but it does. The work I did with Wittgenstein was more rigorous than a lot of what Germanists usually do, because it involved not just cut-and-pasting cute passages from him like crit-theory people do, but truly, painfully working through the entire trajectory of two of the most difficult philosophy books ever written, and then their secondary canons, and then identifying common trajectories between them and Kafka’s work in a way that had literally never been done before, ever.

      I may have my moments “believing” in my ideas, but there is a serious litany of editors, peer reviewers, publishers, bigwigs and think tanks who seem to think they’re just fine. Were they “good” enough to land me a TT job? Who the fuck cares anymore.

      It’s true that I don’t belong in academia, but it’s not because I’m not smart enough. It’s because I’ve got too much of a personality on me–especially for a woman. His non-apology, that he should stop “criticizing from above,” is just as hurtful as his original pile-on was. He is not above me. We are two human beings caught in the same pointless cycle of suffering on this planet, with equally-important dreams, goals, fears, insecurities, loves, joys and sorrows. I hope someday he can realize that. Until then I continue to entertain fantasies of cold-cocking him RIGHT on his mustache.

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      1. Well, “book enthusiast” was me, based on his select quotations and opinions in his blog, and before I figured out what he was talking about.

        Yes, his was non apology and no, he’s not above, he’s below if one must insist on hierarchy. That is what has him so upset. I am interested in his work so he is willing to consider I might be intelligent, and some people fawn on him because it could do them good professionally … and he is utterly blind to the fact that he is being s-d off to self-serving ends.

        I also do not belong in academia, for same reason as you.

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  13. Oh, that was you! Ha! I’m sorry I called you an asshole, then (see, I can be quick to judge as well). It is very interesting how quickly one can decide, however, based on small things, that someone else is unworthy of being in the Great Conversation. I realize I don’t do a terrific job of self-promoting my own scholarship (which I have now abandoned anyway, so it’s kind of moot), but for what it’s worth, I believe my scholarship is extraordinarily rigorous because I learned an entirely new language for it, and I don’t mean German. I mean the language of the Analytic tradition, to which 9/10 of all English-speaking philosophers belong, that dominates every single (I mean, to the one) high-ranking philosophy department in the US, but is treated in literary studies with very minor exceptions like it doesn’t exist, or is just inherently hegemonic because it dares take ideas out of their probably-hegemonic context. The problem is that the schism between literature and philosophy persists very strongly (I learned this at OSU, when one of my senior faculty alienated the entire Phil department by marching in to a cross-listed seminar and insisting the Analytic tradition was terrible and Heidegger was the one true way), and so philosophers often don’t take me seriously (though many do! Paul Guyer, for example, the US’s foremost Kant scholar, seems to like me), and literary scholars often just dismiss my work out of hand because it contains charts and tables and formulae and shit they don’t feel like working through–they say it’s because it’s not important, but I know it’s because it’s difficult. Not that they’re not smart enough to work through it–they absolutely are–they just don’t want to.

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  14. Well, I am reading back PMLAs from 2012 and 2013 and they are full of references to Badiou, Levinas, and Deleuze.

    JM talks as though he had a crash course in Derrida/Foucault/Lacan back in the day and thought that was it.

    Remember, though, his big worry is that HE is not smart enough, he talks about this a lot in his blog. He is always measuring himself up or down and is aware that there are people in field smarter than he. He has also apparently been accused of arrogance, and is worried about this.

    Most of the lit types who believe they are into continental philosophy do not really understand it, I do not think.

    But it’s embarrassing, JM wrote me a nice letter to NEH this year and gave a guest lecture in my class that helped, and is going to give me other class notes that will also helped, and to find him behaving *this* badly is unsettling.

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    1. None of these seem like bad people. I actually really adore how brazenly herself Clarissa is, for example, and I think she would really like me if she knew me. I realize at Irvine my theory overload was especially acute, but though my own program is on its last legs, English and Comp Lit keep chugging theoretically along. I’m glad JM doesn’t use jargon, but he must not read much outside his subfield. I mean neither do I! But the whole thing is verkockte. I don’t want anyone’s pity that I couldn’t find a job. I no longer want one and I’m better off. I want people to understand that the socialization mechanism that total-instutions people (LOOK THEORY!!!) is there. It is real. It is not about me and how unstable I am. It’s about the system that made me believe it was TT or worthlessness.

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      1. This is the key point (the indoctrination to system) and it is what people seem to refuse to understand. I think many faculty truly think they could not do anything else, a different professional job — they think it’s this or waiting tables, something like that, or this or some really boring corporate gig.

        But the socialization / indoctrination to system, you must have an academic job, is really bad and the way you get harassed if you have other thoughts is mind-blowing.

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      2. I mean, the level of cognitive dissonance in the attacks on my accurate depiction of exactly how that dissonance comes about…it’s actually kind of impressive. The best thing about FULLPROF’s reaction to me is that it actually exemplifies the worst aspects of the cult behavior I describe. What is he doing if not shaming and shunning me simply for doing things differently than they’re “supposed” to go? What are his depictions of how important his work is besides reification of the socialization process that hurts and alienates so many? It’s actually quite funny to watch from an anthropological perspective.

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  15. Professornever, I understand the general adjunct situation but do not think people should put up with it. Turn those jobs down. I realize why they don’t, but my position is still, turn ’em down, walk off.

    Re my personal experience of adjuncts — I am against them. They are the wives of the administrators who have weak done MAs locally and oppose up to date teaching and research, but have to have priority and get to say what goes. They get other people fired. To h*** with them.

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    1. I have no experience with Spanish departments, but in my own field–both German and also Honors Colleges–adjuncts are either down-on-their-luck PhDs with excellent credentials (like me–I have more publications than some people I know with actual tenure), or really gifted instructors with MAs and years of experience beloved by students. Most of the faculty where I now teach is part-time, some of whom (like me) are also other things (lawyers, mostly), but others of whom manage to scrape by a living because St. Louis is so cheap. None of us get anyone fired. Your department sounds bananas! Some adjuncts I know are also spouses of other faculty, and they are (deservedly) a little bitter about being the “trailing” one, but that’s basically what I am now and I see their point.

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      1. Yes, I do realize, and I hardly need the lecture. And when I left Oregon one poignantly wrote me a *letter* saying it was nice that a PhD (me) had spoken to him, it had not been his experience before. So it ain’t me that ain’t nice, and I don’t think just being nice is enough.

        I am just basically tired of having to do things the way they were done when the adjuncts and instructors did their M.A.’s, just because that is all they know and it is what they believe in. I would rather hire PhDs and TT people so we could be more modern and so that the PhDs and TT people we have aren’t so outnumbered/clobbered by these old-style folks.

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      2. If there is anyone who doesn’t need a lecture and whose support has meant more to me during this shitshow than anyone else it’s you. I am very sorry. And not fake sorry, ACTUAL SORRY. I actually know a FT instructor at UO. She’s one of my best friends. She may be after your time–it’s actually possible you taught me. I took a 3rd year Spanish class at UO when I was a senior in high school. Maybe it was with you! I got an a- :).

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  16. “I mean, the level of cognitive dissonance in the attacks on my accurate depiction of exactly how that dissonance comes about…it’s actually kind of impressive. The best thing about FULLPROF’s reaction to me is that it actually exemplifies the worst aspects of the cult behavior I describe. What is he doing if not shaming and shunning me simply for doing things differently than they’re “supposed” to go? What are his depictions of how important his work is besides reification of the socialization process that hurts and alienates so many? It’s actually quite funny to watch from an anthropological perspective.”

    Fullprof’s actual academic work is good, which is why all of this dismays me to the degree it does. The other thing that surprises me is that he spouts the party line on these things in the manner of those who are still just learning it, or those who fear it may not be true and repeating it like some sort of talisman against the cold. My father, a professor in an era and a place where things really were more ideal, disliked the enterprise (called it a “racket” and was very disappointed in it) and in a way, Fullprof is right that one should enjoy life if one is in a position to do so. Yet at the same time, he is very much caught up in ego and competition, than seems entirely healthy when one does after all have a stable workspace / has what one needs.

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    1. I’m sure his excuses on Lorca are wonderful. I’m surer, in fact, that he’s not a bad guy. I honesty don’t understand why someone would attack a person, personally and with blinders on, the way he has me. Especially because, as you say, my field’s 28 tenure track jobs this year are simply incomparable to Spanish’s relative boom.

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    2. I read on his blog that he thinks he’s a bad teacher. I am a dedicated and, if I dare say so myself, talented and effective pedagogue. I’d be more than happy to give him some pointers :).

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