Critical ThinkingCultureEducation

Meaning What We Say, Saying What We Mean

Recently on social media, I posted this Slate article by Sam Kriss criticising Eric Garland’s popular “Game Theory” tweetstorm, which has been shared widely by those on the left who continue to feel shaken and demoralised by the results of the recent US presidential election. I generally try to avoid making too …

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The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

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GovernmentPolitics

Students Do Not Need Campus Political Parties to Be Politically Active

This fall, as thousands of new students pile into colleges and universities, they will explore the many clubs and student societies on offer. Many of them will join the youth or student wings of mainstream political parties, which will be especially prominent given the upcoming election in the United States. …

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Document fron US Atomic Energy Commission stamped "top secret" and "confidential"
GovernmentHigher Education

FOIA Abuse Could Become a Serious Problem for Academics

Academics take heed: if you are employed by a public university, the contents of your email account are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means activists, critics, or any member of the public with an axe to grind can request copies for a nominal administrative fee and quote-mine …

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Image of 15th-c. scribe Jean Miélot
Higher Education

Universities should be employing surplus PhDs–as administrative staff.

Of the many criticisms I hear levelled at the current state of higher education, I would say that the following four are among the most frequent: The current reliance on contingent faculty rather than full-time professors is both undermining educational quality and creating a permanent academic underclass of PhDs working …

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Empty stage with a stool and a mic stand; sign behind reads "Comedy"
Higher Education

Top Ten Ways Academia and Stand-Up Comedy are Secretly the Same Job

  10. You basically have to take any paid gig you can get (beggars can’t be choosers!) 9. Unusually high rates of anxiety and depression among your peers 8. Constant pressure to write new material 7. Sometimes you take a long trip just to end up talking to an empty room 6. Audiences are …

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Photograph of a piece of chalk resting on a dusty tray at the bottom of a blackboard.
FeaturedHigher Education

Syllabus Adjunct Clause

Hey there, Doubters! As I promised in the last edition of On the Market, here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school–and even from department to department–the following …

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Higher Education

On the Market V: Diversity Statements

One of the (least) fun things about the academic job market is that every application asks for a different constellation of documents. This is especially onerous when putting together your first few applications, which can take several hours of (unpaid) labour to piece together. As time goes on, though, you …

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A book shop
Higher Education

For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University

This article, jointly authored by a number of geographers in the US and Canada, is worth reading in full. As for the importance of slow scholarship, let me turn for a moment to my own experience: During my time as a graduate student, I was fortunate enough to  present at over …

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A pile of US $100 bills
Higher Education

On the Market IV: Paying for the Privilege

There are lots of articles out there about the hardships endured by early-career scholars, particularly those trapped in the precarious employment of the adjunct system. A shiny new PhD all too often amounts to little more than a ticket to several years of un(der)-employment, migrant work on the VAP* and …

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