Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

January 6, 2010 - 9:14pm
This week, after much discussion and soul-searching, my husband quit his job. A stoical guy who has worked full-time since he was 17, my husband needed lots of persuading to believe that his happiness is more important to our family than a paycheck. While he intends to begin his own photography business, he will also take over more of the household and parenting duties, giving me more time to devote to my own career.
January 6, 2010 - 6:38am
My family spent New Year’s Eve and the following weekend at one of our favorite places in the world, Friday Harbor Labs, on San Juan Island, off the Washington coast. (Mama PhD blogging colleague Dana Campbell and I have frequently written about Friday Harbor Labs and its adjoining retreat for scholars, the Whitely Center.) My son told all his friends “we’re going to a 3-day party!” Indeed it was a party to remember, with invitees from all over the world, to celebrate my husband’s PhD advisor’s retirement.
January 4, 2010 - 9:51pm
A week ago I was in a warm and well-appointed hotel room, embarking on a second day of conference interviews for a position in my department. I'm aware, as I write this, that already I'm describing an anomaly. Everywhere I turn I see articles about the shrinking job market for humanities PhDs, the dearth of job interviews at this year's MLA convention — the same bad news we've been hearing for many years, but worse.
January 3, 2010 - 4:49pm
Last week I described some of the advantages of attending a mostly women’s college. Here are some ways in which I feel that my peers who attended more mixed institutions were better off:
December 27, 2009 - 5:25pm
As described last week, I entered college in the fall of 1970 with some trepidation. Recent exposure to a group of extremely ladylike women’s college alumnae had left me concerned that I would feel out of place and intimidated. A spread in Mademoiselle’s fall college issue, shot on my college’s campus and featuring students as models, didn’t ease my anxiety any.
December 22, 2009 - 8:27am
A week from now, the presents will all be unwrapped, the Christmas cookies mostly eaten—and I'll be sitting in a hotel room with three of my colleagues, interviewing some fabulous job candidates. Between now and then, I'll have refamiliarized myself with my potential new colleagues' work, hosted a holiday party, given and received various gifts, read two or three books for a book award committee I'm on—
December 20, 2009 - 4:22pm
Recent discussions on this blog about gender balance in colleges and universities have sparked a number of memories of my own college experiences. I thought it would be interesting to share them here and to invite you to share yours, as well. As noted previously, in 1970 I entered a small college that had, until that year, been the “sister school” of a nearby men’s university. There were only a handful of men in my class, and of course none in the more advanced classes.
December 17, 2009 - 9:47pm
Our jobs as professors are built around truth and integrity. We spend our research time searching for the truth, and, once we find a piece of it, we teach and profess that truth in journals and classrooms, hence earning us the name of "professor." Indeed, if someone was to claim our idea as their own, we would be outraged, as we rightly are if our students claim work to be their own when it is not.
December 16, 2009 - 9:21pm
What does ‘home for the holidays’ mean when you aren’t really sure where your home is located? Marc Auge’s book, Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, begins with a description of a man driving to an airport, parking in “row J of underground level 2,” getting his boarding pass, leafing through magazines, and pleasantly boarding his flight. On the plane he leafs through more magazines, puts on earphones and enjoys the fact that he is “alone at last.”
December 16, 2009 - 9:43am
Two weeks ago I reported on a proposal about to come up for vote in the University of Maryland senate to relax family leave policy. So here’s the update: it passed in the senate. Before it becomes university policy it will need to be approved by President Dan Mote, which looks promising; he has been cited as supportive of this measure. This proposal will allow faculty to reduce their loads (and the salary, commensurately) down to 50% while they are raising children under five.

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