News:

Welcome to the new (and now only) Fora!

Main Menu

Essay on what an academic really is

Started by jimbogumbo, February 03, 2024, 08:49:22 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

marshwiggle

Quote from: ciao_yall on February 05, 2024, 06:59:12 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 05, 2024, 04:52:57 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 04, 2024, 11:43:38 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 04, 2024, 04:58:48 AMTwo things are interesting:
  • "Russian history" is about as stereotypically "academic" as possible, (unless you're actually in Russia,).
  • Despite that, the picture at the top of the article is clearly a chemistry lecture, in a science-equipped lecture hall.

Not everybody differentiates between academics working in different disciplines.  I had an English professor in grad school who would go home over the breaks and her family, none of whom went to college, would ask her things about how weather systems worked or politics like she was the professor on Gilligan's Island or something.  RCP probably just wanted someone obviously a "professor" doing abstruse things at a blackboard so the scene is easily identifiable. 

Sure, but the thing about both of those disciplines, and an important point in this story, is that these would have existed 80 years ago, and would have looked largely the same. The most turmoil in academia is from the "Oppression Studies" disciplines that didn't exist 80 years ago, and many didn't exist even 2 or 3 decades ago in most places. But with all of the DEI initiatives, they have had a huge impression on the impression people have of academia because they get a vastly disproportionate share of the press, and basically suck all of the oxygen out of the room.

In other words, alternatives to the art, literature and history of dead white men?

It is as absurd to think that those things should somehow disqualify someone's contribution as it is to think that they automatically validate someone's contribution.
It takes so little to be above average.

apl68

I've looked at academia from both sides now, and still, somehow, it's academia's illusions I recall.  I really don't know academia at all....



But seriously, I can recall some pretty major geeks from the R1 where I attended grad school.  In undergrad I recall mainly people like my mother, who came up to academia from teaching high school, and largely did the same thing she had done before as a college teacher, only with (generally) better-prepared students and on a somewhat higher level.  While they probably have more actual, personal interest in their subjects than the average high school teacher seems to have, it's still only one part of their lives among others.

Never knew any Professor Trotskys personally, but recall some fellow grad students with definite ambitions in that direction.  And they're definitely out there, and get a massively disproportionate share of attention paid to academics in the media.  Not just the right-wing media, either.  I understand why the public perceptions of academics in many areas are what they are.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: ciao_yall on February 05, 2024, 06:59:12 AMSure, but the thing about both of those disciplines, and an important point in this story, is that these would have existed 80 years ago, and would have looked largely the same. The most turmoil in academia is from the "Oppression Studies" disciplines that didn't exist 80 years ago, and many didn't exist even 2 or 3 decades ago in most places. But with all of the DEI initiatives, they have had a huge impression on the impression people have of academia because they get a vastly disproportionate share of the press, and basically suck all of the oxygen out of the room.

In other words, alternatives to the art, literature and history of dead white men?
[/quote]

See kids, this is how it gets started. 

"Oppression studies" vs. "dead white men."
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

Wahoo Redux

#18
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 05, 2024, 07:20:29 AM
Quote from: ciao_yall on February 05, 2024, 06:59:12 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 05, 2024, 04:52:57 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 04, 2024, 11:43:38 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 04, 2024, 04:58:48 AMTwo things are interesting:
  • "Russian history" is about as stereotypically "academic" as possible, (unless you're actually in Russia,).
  • Despite that, the picture at the top of the article is clearly a chemistry lecture, in a science-equipped lecture hall.

Not everybody differentiates between academics working in different disciplines.  I had an English professor in grad school who would go home over the breaks and her family, none of whom went to college, would ask her things about how weather systems worked or politics like she was the professor on Gilligan's Island or something.  RCP probably just wanted someone obviously a "professor" doing abstruse things at a blackboard so the scene is easily identifiable. 

Sure, but the thing about both of those disciplines, and an important point in this story, is that these would have existed 80 years ago, and would have looked largely the same. The most turmoil in academia is from the "Oppression Studies" disciplines that didn't exist 80 years ago, and many didn't exist even 2 or 3 decades ago in most places. But with all of the DEI initiatives, they have had a huge impression on the impression people have of academia because they get a vastly disproportionate share of the press, and basically suck all of the oxygen out of the room.

In other words, alternatives to the art, literature and history of dead white men?

It is as absurd to think that those things should somehow disqualify someone's contribution as it is to think that they automatically validate someone's contribution.


And you know, Marshy, it is the right wing that is obsessed with "oppression studies" and has popularized the concept in the public sphere.  It is true that calls to diversify the canon and the classroom came from the students and faculty----and are these such bad things?----but it is entirely the rightwing media which has turned this movement into a perceived menace with its "CRT" propaganda. 

We need to separate that from the limitations of DEI legislation and administration, which does not seem to be working.

The problems with "dead white men" are that, yeah, we repressed women and minorities and ignored their histories and accomplishments for a long time, try to deny if you will  (ye who wish to deny), but as unfair as it was, what we have are a lot of accomplishments from dead white men, rightly or wrongly.  So what are we supposed to do?

You should be smarter than that, Marshmallow.  Beware jargon from people who are irrational. 
 
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 05, 2024, 10:55:18 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 05, 2024, 07:20:29 AM
Quote from: ciao_yall on February 05, 2024, 06:59:12 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 05, 2024, 04:52:57 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 04, 2024, 11:43:38 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 04, 2024, 04:58:48 AMTwo things are interesting:
  • "Russian history" is about as stereotypically "academic" as possible, (unless you're actually in Russia,).
  • Despite that, the picture at the top of the article is clearly a chemistry lecture, in a science-equipped lecture hall.

Not everybody differentiates between academics working in different disciplines.  I had an English professor in grad school who would go home over the breaks and her family, none of whom went to college, would ask her things about how weather systems worked or politics like she was the professor on Gilligan's Island or something.  RCP probably just wanted someone obviously a "professor" doing abstruse things at a blackboard so the scene is easily identifiable. 

Sure, but the thing about both of those disciplines, and an important point in this story, is that these would have existed 80 years ago, and would have looked largely the same. The most turmoil in academia is from the "Oppression Studies" disciplines that didn't exist 80 years ago, and many didn't exist even 2 or 3 decades ago in most places. But with all of the DEI initiatives, they have had a huge impression on the impression people have of academia because they get a vastly disproportionate share of the press, and basically suck all of the oxygen out of the room.

In other words, alternatives to the art, literature and history of dead white men?

It is as absurd to think that those things should somehow disqualify someone's contribution as it is to think that they automatically validate someone's contribution.


And you know, Marshy, it is the right wing that is obsessed with "oppression studies" and has popularized the concept in the public sphere.  It is true that calls to diversify the canon and the classroom came from the students and faculty----and are these such bad things?----but it is entirely the rightwing media which has turned this movement into a perceived menace with its "CRT" propaganda. 

We need to separate that from the limitations of DEI legislation and administration, which does not seem to be working.

The problems with "dead white men" are that, yeah, we repressed women and minorities and ignored their histories and accomplishments for a long time, try to deny if you will  (ye who wish to deny), but as unfair as it was, what we have are a lot of accomplishments from dead white men, rightly or wrongly.  So what are we supposed to do?

You should be smarter than that, Marshmallow.  Beware jargon from people who are irrational. 
 

I'll leave it to someone who stated it very well in  a (very) slightly different context.

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on January 18, 2024, 04:58:11 PMPeggy McIntosh makes a very good case and she writes beautifully. I would find it hard to argue against her commonsense observations.  Then it is kind of clear, in a general sort of way, about how she would resolve this big conundrum. 

QuoteThey may say they will work to improve women's status, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's.

<snip>

As we in Women's Studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power...

This is where I dig in my heels, and I find the attitude saturating DEI.  We've seen it on these boards.  If it were 1865 and we were in Mississippi, particularly on one of the big plantations, I could understand.  But we are not.  There are big white male pigs----and then there are the rest of us.

Don't turn awkward allies into targets, hence awkward adversaries.
It takes so little to be above average.

Wahoo Redux

Marshbeast, my friend, are you implying that you are an "awkward ally?"


Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 05, 2024, 04:01:14 PMMarshbeast, my friend, are you implying that you are an "awkward ally?"




I'm implying most people are, including me. All kinds of horrible discrimination happened in the past. Some still happens, and sadly, some will always happen. But continually wagging the finger at people now and disparaging them and/or their motives because of the actions of people in the past who shared some of the same identity categories is unfair, and counterproductive.

As part of that, the idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.
It takes so little to be above average.

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 05, 2024, 04:01:14 PMMarshbeast, my friend, are you implying that you are an "awkward ally?"




I'm implying most people are, including me. All kinds of horrible discrimination happened in the past. Some still happens, and sadly, some will always happen. But continually wagging the finger at people now and disparaging them and/or their motives because of the actions of people in the past who shared some of the same identity categories is unfair, and counterproductive.

As part of that, the idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 07:29:20 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 05, 2024, 04:01:14 PMMarshbeast, my friend, are you implying that you are an "awkward ally?"




I'm implying most people are, including me. All kinds of horrible discrimination happened in the past. Some still happens, and sadly, some will always happen. But continually wagging the finger at people now and disparaging them and/or their motives because of the actions of people in the past who shared some of the same identity categories is unfair, and counterproductive.

As part of that, the idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.

Such as?

It takes so little to be above average.

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 07:52:21 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 07:29:20 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 05, 2024, 04:01:14 PMMarshbeast, my friend, are you implying that you are an "awkward ally?"




I'm implying most people are, including me. All kinds of horrible discrimination happened in the past. Some still happens, and sadly, some will always happen. But continually wagging the finger at people now and disparaging them and/or their motives because of the actions of people in the past who shared some of the same identity categories is unfair, and counterproductive.

As part of that, the idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.

Such as?



Oh Marshy...

Okay.  Fine.

My favorite was your rhetorical question about 'why was it okay to be afraid or a clown but not a man in a dress?'
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 01:52:56 PM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 07:52:21 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 07:29:20 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM[T]he idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.

Such as?



Oh Marshy...

Okay.  Fine.

My favorite was your rhetorical question about 'why was it okay to be afraid or a clown but not a man in a dress?'

OK, if that's the most terrible thing I've said, I can live with it.
It takes so little to be above average.

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: marshwiggle on February 07, 2024, 05:24:07 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 01:52:56 PM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 07:52:21 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 07:29:20 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM[T]he idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.

Such as?



Oh Marshy...

Okay.  Fine.

My favorite was your rhetorical question about 'why was it okay to be afraid or a clown but not a man in a dress?'

OK, if that's the most terrible thing I've said, I can live with it.


Yes, I know.  And that's why it is terrible.

I also liked this one:

QuoteAs had been speculated earlier, all of the progressive emphasis on "self-identification" alone (and accepting whatever bizarre accommodations it implies) is just begging for all kinds of abuse.

All that victim-precipitated abuse!  Serves them right!

What's funny is how often you seem to feel victimized. 
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 07, 2024, 06:44:03 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 07, 2024, 05:24:07 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 01:52:56 PM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 07:52:21 AM
Quote from: Wahoo Redux on February 06, 2024, 07:29:20 AM
Quote from: marshwiggle on February 06, 2024, 05:27:58 AM[T]he idea that there isn't a standard for human behaviour that everyone can subscribe to that isn't rooted in "identity" is also counterproductive, and something which most decent people reject. If they can't say it publicly, they'll still say it with their decisions, including at the polls.


My friend, though I love you dearly and think you are a fine person, and though I agree about the impossibility of changing the past----you have said some very terrible things on this very Fora.  You are very rooted into an identity which makes you say some terrible things.

Such as?



Oh Marshy...

Okay.  Fine.

My favorite was your rhetorical question about 'why was it okay to be afraid or a clown but not a man in a dress?'

OK, if that's the most terrible thing I've said, I can live with it.


Yes, I know.  And that's why it is terrible.

I also liked this one:

QuoteAs had been speculated earlier, all of the progressive emphasis on "self-identification" alone (and accepting whatever bizarre accommodations it implies) is just begging for all kinds of abuse.

All that victim-precipitated abuse!  Serves them right!

What's funny is how often you seem to feel victimized. 

When have I actually claimed to feel victimized?

(And who said anything about "victim-precipitated abuse"? If people claim to be victims, but are lying, then they're abusing the system precisely because they are not victims.)
It takes so little to be above average.

paultuttle

Interestingly, legislators here in North Carolina, many of whom had only ever achieved the academic heights of being undergraduates in a higher education environment, revealed their utter lack of knowledge of What Professors Really Do (tm) by asking why X professor was paid a seemingly astronomical salary for only teaching a single MWF course a week (characterized by those same legislators as "being paid $X salary for 3 hours of work per week").

As though standing up in front of a group of students and teaching classes was the only thing that professors did.

These same legislators have, for the past 3-4 decades, expressed disbelief, quite publicly and bluntly, when informed of the tripartite responsibilities associated with teaching, research, and service; because they'd never seen the research or service activities when they were undergraduates, those activities didn't exist. Couldn't exist. Even those activities that set up each course--writing the syllabus, choosing the textbooks or course topics/materials, or creating the lesson plans--were somehow not legitimate, because when those legislators were undergraduates, those activities were veiled from their sight. As a result, the only "work" that they would accept that professors actually performed was during scheduled instruction periods ("class meetings").

They didn't understand that a superstar researcher in a hot field might be extraordinarily important to an institution because of the grant funding or revenue (Gatorade, anyone?) they brought in. They didn't understand that the business of the internal workings of a higher education institution, at least on the faculty side, was done in committees. And they certainly didn't understand that as they voted to provide less and less funding to purportedly "state-supported" institutions, those same institutions had to make up the difference somehow.

But hey, they did understand quite clearly that higher education institutions have a strong economic impact on their surrounding communities, because spokespeople said so. Which is why all UNC system institutions have an explicitly stated economic development function/responsibility/obligation.

The common thread through all of this is that higher education has not communicated to external stakeholders sufficient details of what it's really like in the Ivory Tower, or why higher education is indeed valuable, useful, or otherwise beneficial to society. To me, that's our fault; we need to share this information so that nonacademics understand who we are, what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, why we do it. 

marshwiggle

Quote from: paultuttle on February 07, 2024, 08:22:10 AMInterestingly, legislators here in North Carolina, many of whom had only ever achieved the academic heights of being undergraduates in a higher education environment, revealed their utter lack of knowledge of What Professors Really Do (tm) by asking why X professor was paid a seemingly astronomical salary for only teaching a single MWF course a week (characterized by those same legislators as "being paid $X salary for 3 hours of work per week").


To be fair, even the university itself often bases pay on "contact hours", with *no explicitly stated ratio of assumed prep, grading, etc. time to said contact hours.

So some of that wound is at least partially self-inflicted.


(*No doubt because the institution itself doesn't want to acknowledge how high that ratio could be because it would make workload less apparently mungable.)

It takes so little to be above average.