Don’t Call it a Pingback, S/he’s Been Here For Years

Everyone quick read the Post-Academic In New York’s astute description of my “war” with the Tenured Radical (and we’re WORKING IT OUT NOW, and I assume as with most of my “enemies” that we’ll be BFFF within a month, because that’s how I roll). PAINYC points out quite rightly that the issue isn’t that those deservedly in the margins of “the profession” are behaving with “incivility”–it’s that there is no profession. BOOM. SNAP. MIC DROP. Love you, PAINYC.


11 thoughts on “Don’t Call it a Pingback, S/he’s Been Here For Years

  1. I freaking love you. This is amazing. I’m no longer looking to scale the ivory tower, but I love your frankness. As for Tenure Radical, she played with fire and got BURNED.


  2. Post Academic’s piece was great. As I wrote there: I take issue with “calls for civility” that masquerade as calls to “ambiguate, dilute and distract” from the real issue. You were raw and called out the realities, including the fact that TR’s own cv (as representative of scholars hired late 80s/early 90s) would not hold in today’s market. Her response? To accuse you of sending trolls. Now, after being chastised, and oh so publicly, she’s all “let’s talk.” I commend you for even responding to the vanquished, Rebecca, but I guarantee you: she would never have reached out had the table been turned. Don’t let’em coopt and sugar coat you with their post defeat “calls for civility.”


  3. Agree with the ‘there is no profession’ critique, but am also troubled by this sentence, for the structural realities/constraints (of race and gender) that it elides and obscures (as I pointed out in my response to the Advantage of Rage post): “There is a charade that gets played out every year wherein various people, most of whom already have jobs or attended Ivies or published a book with a prestigious press (probably all three), play musical chairs with one another and listen to their peers read various profound papers.” We need to unpack the ‘went to Ivies’ comment, especially in relation to race/gender and how ‘fit’ is determined in the academy–especially in relation to hiring and who gets supported by an advisor because s/he is seen as ‘promising’ v. A Troublemaker ‘too aggressively’ studying structural inequalities.

    I was heavily bullied in my graduate program, by White (male) students who went to state schools, for being a Black woman who went to an ivy, with all the associated ‘affirmative action lackey’ drivel and “non-Whites get jobs and fellowships thrown at them”. When I spoke up about the bullying, despite having an Ivy diploma–and in many ways because of it ( it made the lengths one had to go to to discredit me as a violent ghetto criminal not to be believed even more sociopathic, given that I clearly am not this ridiculous stereotype given said Ivy diploma), I was viciously retaliated against by the department’s faculty and university administrators, who did not want to acknowledge the bullying as it represented serious hostile climate violations for which the university did not want to be liable.

    Constantly reading remarks that impute that all Ivy grads have academic doors opening to them, on the job market, is quite painful and triggering. I completely get why people are writing these comments, and get that the prestige of an. Ivy degree confers an advantage in the prestige economy of the academic job market, but I also think it is leaving the door open for some troubling assumptions and blind spots. Critique the hell out of the abusive hierarchy that is the academy, but don’t forget that race/gender/color/parental class and cultural capital also affect how much access something like an Ivy diploma affords. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the Ivy-trained ‘elite academics’ who see and treat me as a piece of shit because I am a Black woman that they regard as either ‘the help’ and/or a ghetto criminal, while seeing the White colleagues who bullied me as ‘a legitimate part of the academic community’. Us and Them. And my Ivy diploma isn’t moving me from the Them column to the Us column, because this, too, is part of the story of the structural inequality that does not make the academy either a ‘profession’ or a ‘community’.

    Tenured Radical may be a fellow Yalie, but I probably wouldn’t get much academic love from her either, because it’s just not how the academy works.


    • Bad attitude: I believe color (and gender) will cancel out the Ivy advantage. I’ve written about my own experiences with racism and sexism ad nauseum in many comments on this blog (such as being told that I was denied funding because, as the Chair of the Dept told me, verbatim, “concerns had been raised about the ability of students from certain countries to meet the rigors of the PhD.” And make no mistake, national origin=color. Dark n’ dumb was the designation I received on Day 1.

      I hear you, I really do. Race is the big taboo in the hiring practices of the academy and I believe that your Ivy diploma does not “cancel out” the racism of the hiring practices.


  4. Agree 100%. That dashed off blog post was not mean to be a systemic critique. We definitely need more of those to more fully account for how the myths of “the profession” intersect with race/class/gender to produce the system that views most teachers as dispensable.


  5. I don’t have twitter but do follow Rebecca’s online. The Steven Krause guy Rebecca mentions on twitter does not have a monograph yet is a full professor in a Department of English Language and Literature). He writes fiction stories and articles (and teaches rhetoric & comp). Is there something wrong here or is it that I’m not aware of how certain disciplines gauge a tenure dossier? Just wondering.


  6. Not anything necessarily wrong. I am in an English department and teach rhet/comp and creative writing. Could be a teaching school, could have connections outside department, could have great fiction pubs, even short pieces, or high profile journal pubs. Or both and a lot of great service and teaching dossier things. Really depends on a lot of factors and how the department gauges/evaluated promotion and tenure.


  7. It is a sad testament to my lack of a twitter account that I am posting a blog comment about RS’s twitter exchange with Jen Ebbler but I just had to say: it was brilliant! From RS’s response to JE saying that RS “generalizes” opinions about tenured faculty to RS’s pointing out that tenured folks can handle “boo boos” but contingent folks can’t feed themselves. And I commend the civility of the sharp exchange. You nailed it, RS, once again!!


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