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Long ago, when I heard or read about the huge pressure continuously faced by serious and appreciated academics to publish as much as possible (following the overused and abused slogan “publish or perish“), I was extremely surprised – if not automatically cynical. How could an academic do anything else but write?
My first book was the result of years of graduate work and was born of my dissertation. It had gone through multiple iterations and critiques from my adviser and dissertation committee. In the end, I felt as though the whole project was out of my hands, and I was simply responding to the demands of others. Of course, that is the point — as a graduate student, you are being shaped to join the ranks of academics who speak the same (metaphoric) language and share similar expectations for academic work.
Teachable moments are sometimes incredibly ironic. Last week, when leading a discussion on feminist criticism for a literary theory class, I began by asking my students what questions they might pose when taking a feminist approach to a fictional text. I am often met with an awkward silence at the beginning of a lesson, and so, as usual, I waited next to the chalkboard for someone to respond rather than providing an answer for them. One of my male students finally said angrily, “I feel like you’re mocking us when you stand there waiting for an answer. You look sardonic.”
In my own experience and judging by the experience of those who have many more years in academia than I do, there is one trend that is steadily and maddeningly on the rise: parents calling deans, provosts, and college and university presidents, yes presidents, to plead on their child’s behalf.
What’s New at UVenus: UVenus at The Guardian (UK) - Deanna England with University Admin Job Can Help Forge Strong Relationships With The Faculty.