Tuesday, April 01, 2008

RBOC: All Bullets Should Be Individual Posts Edition

  • Did you guys see this Chronicle First Person piece? I get where the guy is coming from, and the people he calls out actually respond in ok ways, sort of, but lemme just say this once again: pseudonymity is not anonymity, people. It doesn't "liberate" one from having to stand by one's claims or to support them, nor does it mean that one doesn't have a stable writing identity. In fact, it's a performance of a stable writing identity - it draws attention to the author function, and I'd argue that it requires that one be more conscientious in some ways about keeping that author function rational than if one writes under one's own name. When I write under my own name, in some respects I'm more free to deviate from a carefully constructed voice or set of positions, although that would seem contrary to most arguments for writing under one's "real" name. Maybe one of these days I'll write at more length about this, because I really do feel like most pieces about "anonymity" come up short mainly because they don't understand the difference between true anonymity and choosing a pseudonym, nor have those who advocate for writing under one's "real name" ever done anything other than write under their "real names" and so they just don't get it.
  • Inside Higher Ed did a story, based almost entirely on quoting from blog posts, about tenure. Or, rather, they quote from blog posts as "authentic" voices against tenure, and then they quote from "authoritative voices" (people with books on the subject, interviews) in favor of tenure. I find the choice and distribution of sources... interesting. I also find the collection of anti-tenure voices interesting and not necessarily representative of a wide swath of academe. (Not that the "authoritative" voices are much more representative, to be fair.) What strikes me most about this conversation is that there seems to be little acknowledgment that eliminating tenure would require a wholesale revision of how universities are run. This isn't just about changing the status of faculty - it's about changing university governance, administration, job duties, payscale.... In other words, it's not just about business as usual except people don't have tenure - or it couldn't be if it were really to work. (Or at least that's my opinion.) What's funny is that if there really were a wholesale revision it might not be the worst thing in the world, but I don't really believe that's how change works and I don't have much faith that this is how it would work in practice at most universities. Why? Because the kind of wholesale revision that would be necessary would be really freaking expensive and it would change the entire shape of higher education, and not necessarily in ways that would make education more accessible or even as accessible as it is now. Again, I should probably do a full post on this, but I'm not doing it now.
  • Why am I doing these bullets and not doing real posts, when I've got real things about which to post? Because I am swamped with work. Swamped. Service, Teaching, and Research, Oh My!
  • By the way, my students are pretty awesome.
  • My article? Well, it goes. And it could turn out awesome, but it could also be a piece of garbage. Hard to know.
  • Hmm. I felt like I had other things to write about but I can't think of what they are.
  • And since I can't think of them, I really should sign off and get in the shower and get my butt to school.


Kjerstin said...

I'm looking forward to the pseudonymity vs anonymity post. This has been bothering me for quite some time, but if you write about it, I can just link to your post instead of having to get my act together enough to write about it myself.

To that end I'll cross my fingers and hope the work load evaporates like dew on a summer morning :-)

adjunct whore said...

i'm with you on the tenure piece...i found it seriously disturbing that a smattering of blog posts, almost entirely written by people with tenure, were spliced together as an argument.

i think we should start an actual discussion about tenure from the un-tenured perspective.