By my count of positions discussed on the essential Academic Jobs Wiki: Seven of forty-three positions in French with “interviews scheduled” were interviewing by Skype and bypassing the MLA convention in Los Angeles this week. (More fools them: The rains are ending and the forecast is lovely.) Five of the seven were tenure track positions. […]

This video is going around under the title of “So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities?” It probably has some relevance across the liberal arts, but the piece is more narrowly about the declining role of traditional literary scholarship in English studies, a topic I’ve written about before. I’m particularly interested because […]

Slow dissolve: Manhattan, fifteen years ago. I walk a few blocks from my place on Third Street– next to an anarchist squat, across from the NuYorican Poets Cafe–to the headquarters of the Modern Language Association (MLA), then in Astor Place. I explain the agenda of the Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) to the director of the […]

A funny thing happened on the way to the AHA this year — American Historical Association staffer Robert B. Townsend issued his annual report on tenure-track employment in the field. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that holders of freshly minted doctorates face grim prospects. What raised my eyebrows — and those of many others doing scholarship in […]

A short piece forthcoming in the tenth anniversary issue of Pedagogy (Duke UP). For me the most compelling question in English studies today is the tension between the figure of reading and the figure of writing, especially as it plays out in what David Downing calls managed disciplinarity, the disciplinary division of labor between writing […]

At the annual convention of the Modern Language Association last month, David Horowitz once more shared a panel with AAUP President Cary Nelson, who has previously replied to Horowitz’s exaggerated claims of bias in the classroom. As Chronicle Review editor Liz McMillen’s coverage pointed out, there wasn’t much actual debate in this over-hyped appearance, which […]

One of the things that child-rearing has taught H. and myself is that parenting is the new mystical Belief System in Many Flavors. Like the old belief systems still causing wars around the planet, Parenting Choices (PC) are not really suitable dinner conversation. Those whose children are older don’t fight with each other about these […]

Part 1: Overview & Key Facts Part 2: Kudos for Recommendations Part 3: Complaints and concerns Part 4: Interview with Paul Lauter There are some problems with MLA’s representation of the needs and circumstances of the nontenurable faculty. If you want to know how they really live and think, watch Linda Janakos’s documentary, Teachers on […]

Literally a decimation. And so many women faculty, toiling out of the tenure stream for incredibly low wages.  Part 1: Key facts and kudos Part 2: Complaints and concerns Part 3: Interview with Paul Lauter Most of my blogging between now and early January will relate to the worst-timed gathering in the profession, the Modern […]

Part 1 of an interview with Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has never been interviewed for a tenure-track job while serving on full-time contingent appointments for 10 years. MB. How would you describe your situation? MH. Downwardly mobile! I was a teaching assistant at an […]

Founded in 1960, the minnesota review has long served as a leading outlet for literary fiction and poetry, and, under Jeffrey Williams’ editorship since 1992, established itself as a foremost outlet for cultural-studies scholarship and reflection about the increasingly sorry state of the profession under managerial domination. It has grown into a uniquely influential voice […]

Thinking of grad school in the humanities? Are you ready to gamble your future–your marriage–your kids’ future–your health–your retirement? In part 2 of my interview with Monica Jacobe, she describes how graduate school resembles a lottery. “You can do everything right, ” she says, “and you still won’t get a job.” After a median 10 […]

On a website decorated with lemons, two graduate students from UC Irvine have posted a parody program of last week’s MLA convention. Under the headline, “When life hands you the MLA,” they hint, make “MLAde.” Some excerpts: “Shuttle Bus: A free shuttle bus will run between Professional Courtesy and Thinly Veiled Contempt. Buses will also […]

says Andy Smith of his years as a nontenurable instructor at a public institution in the great state of Tennessee, where the board of regents imposes a _maximum_ wage, not a minimum wage on its faculty–of, he says, about $2100 a course. For much of that time, he earned just 1,650 per class. Many of […]

Many Linguists Agree that More Loquacious Absurdity can be found at the Mostly Lunatics Assembly, otherwise known as the annual convention of the MLA. Here’s part 2 of the Berube interview, in which he graciously agrees with my various leading questions about the Modern Language Association. Since this is the holiday season, I’ll save the […]

I’m just about to upload part 2 of the Berube interview–on the role of professional associations (like the MLA) in struggling against the corporate university. In the meanwhile, a 1-minute clip on blogging and the collapse of civilization… Quicktime version (.mov) Windows version (mpg-1) (highest quality)

On many campuses, the largest segment of campus workers are students, outnumbering faculty, staff and other workers combined.Undergraduates work for their degree-granting institution as painters, maids, janitors, cooks, groundskeepers, truck loaders, physical therapists, daycare staff, teaching assistants, computer technicians, coaches, security guards and administrative assistants, typically for wages at or near the national or local […]

I’m busy editing video I’ve already shot. First lesson learned: use a lapel mike when interviewing folks at a convention! Those interviews and other random video will be up soon. In the meanwhile, another contribution I put up this morning over at Inside Higher Ed in response to a Council of Graduate Schools press release […]

The first copies of How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation should be available at the MLA annual convention–just drop by the NYU booth. Or else you can order it from Barnes and Noble ($17.60) or Amazon ($17.25). I’ll be there, shooting a bunch of video interviews–with Cary Nelson, Jeffrey Williams, Vincent […]