Friday, September 28, 2007

Insult to Injury: Revenge of Bizarro U

There must be some very special gene we academics have that helps us find unerring ways to piss off our colleagues and breed subterranean resentments in ways no one would imagine possible. We really are geniuses at this if nothing else.

From our previous installments, readers may remember that administrators at my Bizarro World University, having worked diligently behind the scenes to discredit and disband my interdisciplinary department, bizarrely decided to create a new interdisciplinary college – all without any substantive faculty input.

Now news comes by way of an inadvertently forwarded email, that a vote has been scheduled on a formal resolution to dissolve my department as a last minute addition to the agenda of our college's curriculum committee. Apart from the fact that the administration has discovered that disbanding an academic department requires a vote by a least some faculty body, the vote was scheduled without notifying anyone in my department that it would be taking place.

This has had the completely predictable result of reminding everyone in the department of just how badly they have been treated throughout these events and further cementing their bitterness, anger and disaffection. Adding this gratuitous bit of insult to injury seems so unnecessary. A simple, courteous notification of the upcoming vote would have been so easy and appropriate. Of course, it also would have been appropriate for the decision to have been made by this faculty committee rather than for it, so perhaps that's the real reason behind the secrecy.

You must excuse me now; I have to go practice my ax grinding. Clearly it's a skill I will need to master as I continue to learn my proper role as tenured faculty.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Guitar Hero

Here's a nice video I found on youtube of one of my very favorite blues guitarists, Mr. Mel Brown.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Free the Jena 6

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, here's a song from the late George Harrison.

Or as translated into pirate speak: "Ahoy, in honor o' International Talk Like a Pirate Day, har's a song from the late George Harrison Gar, Where can I find a bottle o'rum?"

You can also celebrate the day by reading this more scholarly discussion of pirates and piracy studies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

1.2 Million Dead in Iraq

From AlterNet:

According to a new study, 1.2 million Iraqis have met violent deaths since the 2003 invasion, the highest estimate of war-related fatalities yet. The study was done by the British polling firm ORB, which conducted face-to-face interviews with a sample of over 1,700 Iraqi adults in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces. Two provinces -- al-Anbar and Karbala -- were too dangerous to canvas, and officials in a third, Irbil, didn't give the researchers a permit to do their work. The study's margin of error was plus-minus 2.4 percent. ...

Americans were asked in an AP poll conducted earlier this year how many Iraqi civilians they thought had been killed as a result of the invasion and occupation, and the median answer they gave was 9,890. That's less than a third of the number of civilian deaths confirmed by U.N. monitors in 2006 alone.

Embedded Angelina

From Writer Response Theory. MyCyberTwin is one of the strangest chatbot sites I have seen yet. I'm speechless. I've embedded a version of Angelina Jolie for you to chat with, but for those masochists out there you can also talk to George.

Book Meme 123.5

By way of Decoys.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.
"In both there is a complete lack of sense of time."
Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. New York: Avon, 2006.

Feel free to play along in the comments below.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bring 'em On

A recent post from Slaves of Academe on stalking her former grad student peers and colleagues online linked to my post on academic deadwood. Taken along with the post below on the status of women in Philosophy and my own recent involuntary relocation from my interdisciplinary department at Bizarro U back to my disciplinary homeland of Philosophy has occasioned me to do some online prowling of my former academic homes as well. It's been sobering.

I don't actually recognize my graduate program any longer. It is one of those top 20 schools included in Haslanger's statistics below. I'm saddened to see it is well below average even among that dismal company with only two women remaining on its very large faculty, or less than five percent (or put another way, in the last twenty years they have failed to tenure and retain any new women faculty). Almost all of the members of my dissertation committee have either moved on or died. The entire continental program has disappeared and left the field clear for all analytic philosophy all the time.

As I contemplate what life will be like back as one of the boys in the Philosophy department at my present institution, I find it doesn't fill me with quite as much revulsion as in years past. There is one simple reason for this change... tenure.

Bring 'em on. I'm ready to rumble.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome to my discipline...

I'm glad to see this in Inside Higher Ed. Many of my colleagues think I must be joking when I tell them how under-represented women are in Philosophy departments:

Sally Haslanger’s latest paper won’t appear until next year, in the journal Hypatia, but a version she posted online is attracting considerable attention by pointing out the limits of progress for women in philosophy.

Haslanger studied the gender breakdowns in the top 20 departments (based on The Philosophical Gourmet Report) and found that the percentage of women in tenure track positions was 18.7 percent, with two departments under 10 percent. She also looked at who published in top philosophy journals for the last five years and found that only 12.36 percent of articles were by women. Figures like that might not shock in some disciplines, but they stand out in the humanities. In history, for examples, a 2005 report found women making up 18 percent of full professors and 39 percent of assistant professors. ...

To judge from comments posted about her essay on Crooked Timber and other blogs, many women in graduate school today remain the only women in their programs — and experience variations on what Haslanger described.