Rate My JIL Oct. 3 Part the Deuce: Baits, Switches & A-holes

I just got home from what turned into a rather epic excursion downtown to the St. Louis Public Library, because today I am not Rebecca Schuman, Writer, nor am I Rebecca Schuman, Beached Pregnant Whale — I am Rebecca Schuman, research assistant to history professor Jonathan Rees, who needed a very rare book that, for reasons that are only between the makers of said book and their Gods, was only available at the St. Louis Public Library. It’s a reference book, and thus it doesn’t circulate, so I told Jonathan I’d be happy to schlep down there, find the book, photocopy it and send it to him.

It is an absolutely spectacular and crisp fall day here in St. Louis today, and downtown was surprisingly bustling. I haven’t been down there in ages, and it really does seem like certain streets, like Locust and Market, really and truly are “coming back.” Olive, where the library is, is still a bit desolate, but I am actually pretty optimistic about downtown STL, because of the major reno of the Arch park they’re doing. Up until this year, in order to get to the Eero Saarinen masterpiece you had to cross a highway. There were lights, of course, but it was really exhausty, trafficky, unwelcoming on foot, and generally gross. Now they are making the park extend over the highway (which they’re putting into a tunnel), so you can just strut your stuff between downtown and the Arch. It’s a great, people-friendly idea (also, pro tip: the “Museum of Westward Expansion” in the Arch is actually really interesting — and free — but do NOT go up in one of those terrifying capsules to the top of that thing without about fifteen Clif bars and two big jars, because sometimes the power goes out and people get trapped. OK, that happened once, but still. Once too many).

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Anyway, here’s the library. It’s a beautiful building full of very nice people working, and very nice people reading, hanging out and using the computers. And incomprehensibly present refrigeration periodicals from the turn of the 20th Century.

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I eagerly look forward to my presence in your book’s acknowledgements, Professor Rees.

All right, let’s rate some more jobs. This was one of those weeks where MORE JOBS WERE TOTALLY ADDED, SO SEE, SCHUMAN? THE MARKET IS A FINE AND FUNCTIONING MERITOCRACY. Yeah, OK. There are three (there is one at Michigan State that is “open rank,” but for people who have never been on the tenure track, open rank positions are a joke, so I’m going to scoff in its general direction). So does that bring the year’s total even up to 20 yet? Alas, no. According to the ever-reliable Wiki, the year’s total is currently sixteen, and that includes a few open-rankers. It’s October. What jobs are yet to come will come in a pathetic little trickle. All right, with those happy thoughts, let’s get to it.

Rhodes College. Hmm, interesting. I remember applying for this job my very first year on the market, in 2009. Looks like someone lateral-moved their ass out of there. So, let’s take a look-see, shall we? “The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Rhodes College invites applications for a full-time, two-year visiting position in German at the rank of Assistant Professor.” Again with calling a fucking two-year VAP “Assistant Professor.” You fuckers should be ashamed of yourselves for taking advantage of such an obliterated market, and just being all like, “Hey, everyone’s desperate, we can call it whatever the fuck we want!” This betrays an outright disdain for the humanity of what will certainly be a stellar, enormous crop of candidates you most certainly do not deserve. Assholes.

University of Alabama, open specialization. I have a friend who works there (not in German), and it seems pretty all right. Or at any rate, I can’t share any of the inside info I have into the search process there without breaking a confidence, so. This most certainly counts as a “marquee” posting this year. So have fun with your crimson tide of 500 applications.

UNC-Chapel Hill. Oh look, it is the SOLE MEDIEVALIST JOB OF THE YEAR SO FAR. Siegfried help you all. (And yes I know that Siegfried isn’t a deity. Give me a break. I just got back from a six-hour ordeal at the library and I’m exhausted.)

3 thoughts on “Rate My JIL Oct. 3 Part the Deuce: Baits, Switches & A-holes

  1. The rank thing at Rhodes might not be entirely meaningless within the context of that institution. At some places the rank determines the teaching load, salary range, and access to resources like travel funding and the ability to do various things (propose new courses, direct independent study, teach graduate courses, etc.) inside the institution. So it’s possible that that position has better research support and a better salary than a two year lecturer/instructor/whatever position at that institution. Of course, it would be better for everyone if institutions could agree on a single title for temporary positions that are not 100% teaching.


    • I understand, but to advertise the HEADING as “Assistant Professor of German” on a JIL in which that convention means tenure track and everyone knows it is disingenuous at best and malicious at worst. The heading should read: “Assistant Professor or German (Non Tenure Track)” or “Visiting Assistant Professor of German.” I was a VAP and had all of those abilities, BTW.


      • Ohhhh, reading comprehension fail on my part. I didn’t get that the heading was Assistant Professor and the visiting was only in the description. WTF is wrong with the person who submitted that ad? Schumann-smack-down 110% justified.


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