Academia is a selfish sport. From the time you begin graduate school, you are rewarded for self-absorbed fixations on your personal advancement and narrowly focused research… Opportunities are rare, time is short, and prioritizing yourself at the expense of others is encouraged, even as there is a veneer of service, public engagement, and commitment to your own s..
The following is a guest post* by Felicia Nimue Ackerman, professor of philosophy at Brown University. It’s in two parts: a poem (first published as a letter to the editor on The Chronicle of Higher Education website, March 20, 2014) and a brief essay (originally published in The Providence Journal on April 28, 2009). (more…)
Departmental decisions—including hiring, budgeting and funding, curricular requirements, departmental policies, use of space, event planning—affect graduate students. What say do graduate students have in these decisions? What say should they have? (more…)
Part of what’s behind the disagreements over freedom and security in academia that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately (over things like political correctness, trigger warnings, safe spaces, etc.) are two different attitudes. (more…)
A petition to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, to “safeguard UK higher education” has over 1,200 signatories. Created by philosopher Helen De Cruz of Oxford Brookes University, the petition focuses on anti-immigrant rhetoric and the consequences of Britain exiting the European Union. (more…)
The Turkish government, under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has continued its crackdown on those it deems enemies of the state in the wake of an attempted coup this past July. According to The Independent, over 70,000 people have been arrested during this time. (more…)
The following is a guest post* by David Boonin. He is currently professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he has also been department chair and associate dean. He noticed that there did not appear to be much in the way of guidance when it came to writing external review letters for people under consideration for tenure, and sought to reme..
Even in four-year colleges that emphasize undergraduate education, new appointments are going to top graduates from a mere handful of prestigious doctoral programs that emphasize research and professional advancement over teaching. The academic job market and tenure expectations focus ever more intently on publications, whether in book or journal form, that tend to ..
The various sexual harassment scandals and other controversies involving some well-known philosophers raise the question of how to determine whether information regarding such events is to appear in reference works about them, especially the world’s most popular reference, the constantly updated and largely crowd-sourced Wikipedia. (more…)
According to Times Higher Education (THE), there is some concern among higher education leaders in the UK about the effect that the successful referendum to leave the European Union will have on academic funding. (more…)
An assistant professor of philosophy writes in with an important question that I imagine a lot of academics spend time pondering: (more…)
Recently a pair of philosophers, Philippe Huneman (CNRS / Paris I Sorbonne) and Anouk Barberousse (CNRS / University of Lille), writing under a pseudonym, submitted a nonsense article to the journal, Badiou Studies, which accepted and published it (see this account, which I put in the Heap of Links last week).
The ostensible target of the hoax is Alain Badiou and..
An increasing number of academics simply adopt what Albert Hirschmann would call an “exit” strategy—they care more for their discipline or, more to the point, their research network than the university that employs their labour and affirms their status.
Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, the digital wing of the journal Social Epistemology, has featured an exchange of short articles in the wake of “When Philosophy Lost Its Way” by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle (both of University of North Texas), an article we previously discussed a couple of times. The exchange is between Luke Maring (Northern Ariz..
A “Tragic Question” of Academic Life
by John Schwenkler
In her splendid essay “The Costs of Tragedy”, Martha Nussbaum relates a story from her days as a young professor at Harvard:
When I began teaching as an assistant professor at Harvard, phi..
The Career Move That Dare Not Speak Its Name
by Josh Parsons
My sister works in advertising, an industry where high-pressure workplaces are at least as common as they are..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! This week’s question is from a grad student looking for advice on the habits that make one a better philosopher. After googling “how to be a better philosopher”, I’m prepared to fake my way through a half-decent answer:
I’m curious about what habits philosophers have cultivated that are specifically geared at being..
Cass Sunstein, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, defends serious academic writing against the pressures of popularization and accessibility. Articles in popular magazines and blogs “might be clear and beautifully written, but usually they don’t add much if anything to the stock of knowledge,” and “even when they are written by professors, they are often ..
Welcome back to Ought Experiment! Today’s question is from a full professor that has done everything right, built a successful career, and yet finds her/himself miserable in professional philosophy. S/he wants to know whether it’s just a case of burnout or whether it’s time to go:
I have been a professor for almost 20 years. I’ve worked h..
I am not sure what I expected when I applied to PhD programs. But when April rolled around, I began to ask myself what kind of future I was signing up for, and how different it would be from numerous other paths. After all, horror stories abound about the process of getting a PhD, and the terrible job market afterward. At best, I could hope to be turning 40, with a ..