Wait, Simon Critchley Is Kind of A Dick? Can’t Be.

UPDATE: I was going to add this to the comments but they are getting a bit out of control. Here is the gist of my position:

1) The dude was involved in the process – I don’t care how he came to be involved, but his involvement happened and it was accepted by the parties involved. No one just wanders off the street into this. Sure, maybe there were some issues – don’t care. The fact of involvement is established.

2) The dude got no mention in the book at all. We can argue the finer points of what does and does not constitute editorship – everyone knows high ranking folks don’t do shit on edited volumes, but still get listed at the top of the bill so books can sell – but the final fact remains – his name is nowhere in the final book.

I (and two other students at the time) helped my adviser edit a volume when in grad school. I helped him finish the last part of the introduction. Should I have been included as an editor? No. But he did generously acknowledged my help in the Acknowledgements section. If he didn’t, I would have survived but I would have been pretty annoyed.

To sum: if someone’s involved in your project and negotiates a contract on your behalf, don’t be a dick, even if things go sour later, mention the dude in your Acknowledgement. Period.


Read this story and weep, comrades!

I wrote to Simon about this and let him know how much work I put into securing the contract for him. The next day I received a single sentence email from him stating the following: either you accept the new amendments or else I take everything and leave. I wrote back and asked him if he understood how many months of intense work I put into the project and he responded by letting me know that he would, of course, detail my work in the acknowledgements section. While I was still a little bitter, I nonetheless thought that this was better than nothing. At least I would receive a little bit of credit for my work.

I received a copy of the book today and my name is nowhere to be found.

Lesson: Volunteering your labor to help others is overrated, especially when academic egos are involved. Beware!

Philosophical Tribalism (and Remorse)

I’ve been reading through some of the essays in Postanalytic and Metacontinental: Crossing the Divide this morning (NDPR review here).  While I’m hoping to say some more about those essays later on, (for one, there is a particularly excellent essay about transcendental reasoning) a remark early on in the introduction made me chuckle.  Discussing two approaches to the analytic-continental divide, a deflationary view (which calls into question the distinction altogether) and the more essentialist position (which insists on the two ‘houses’), the editors note:

However we characterize or dismiss the distinction in theory, in practice it has for many years been very much a feature of the day to day activities of contemporary philosophers.  Academic philosophers, journals, conferences, publication series and even entire publishing houses, all now often live entirely within on or the other tradition. in some cases, the result is that continental philosophers have effectively been consigned to other disciplines, like comparative literature. More usually, philosophers simply inhabit their own tradition without attending to the other–perhaps looking at or attending occasional papers from the other side out of collegial politeness or personal loyalty, and often regretting it when they do (3-4). Continue reading

Intellectual Labor: Adjunct Hulk

A twitter feed about life as an adjunct, ADJUNCT HULK:


This is a good one:


Read more here and a good interview with Mark Bousquet, “Higher Exploitation,” in the Minnesota Review, here

A Boring CFP Post: North American Levinas Society

Sixth Annual Conference and Meeting
“Celebrating Totality and Infinity at 50”
May 1-3, 2011 | Texas A&M University

Call for Papers

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Totality and Infinity, the North American Levinas Society invites submissions of individual paper and panel proposals for our sixth annual meeting and conference, hosted by Texas A&M University, to be held May 1-3, 2011. We are especially interested in organizing the conference around considerations of Totality and Infinity, with regard to both its historical framework and relevant contemporary readings and questions that the work continues to engender. Although preference will be given to papers that address the conference theme, papers and panels on any topic related to Levinas will be considered. Continue reading

TNR review of Mark C Taylor’s “unbelievably misguided book”

TNR review of Mark C Taylor’s latest book about higher education :

The syndrome has become all too common. A provocative op-ed piece appears in a major newspaper (for preference, The New York Times). Its logic is fragile and its evidence is thin, but the writing is crisp and the examples are pungent, and the assault on sacred cows arouses a storm of discussion (much of it sharply critical, but no matter). It goes viral. And almost immediately, publishers comes calling. “This should be a book,” they coo, and the author, entranced by a bit of sudden fame (not to mention, perhaps, a decent advance), eagerly agrees. He or she sets to work, and soon enough the original 800 words expand to 50,000. But far from reinforcing the original logic and evidence, the new accretions of text only strain them further, while smothering the original provocations under thick layers of padded anecdote, pop sociology and oracular pronouncement. Call the syndrome Friedmanitis, after a prominent early victim, the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. Continue reading

Speaking of Difficult Career Choices.

Here’s an interesting story:

Thomas Gurrath, est un professeur allemand de 29 ans, diplômé de philosophie, non fumeur et végétarien. Il vient d’être licencié de son établissement scolaire de Stuttgart : en cause, ses activités musicales privées.

Thomas Gurrath, professeur de philosophie et d’éthique à Stuttgart est aussi chanteur et guitariste du groupe de death metal Big Ball dont les clips trash à tendance pornographique sont consultables sur YouTube. Ses élèves ont découvert avec intérêt la vie privée de leur professeur. L’intérêt n’était pas le même aux yeux des parents qui ont aussitôt fait pression sur la direction du lycée Hegel de Stuttgart-Vaihingen pour licencier cet enseignant.

Le souvenir douloureux de la fusillade du lycée de Winnenden, ville proche de Stuttgart, a appuyé la décision de l’établissement scalaire. Thomas Gurrath est sommé de choisir entre son emploi de professeur de philosophie et son activité de chanteur death metal. L’enseignant a opté pour la seconde option et envisage une action en justice contre son employeur.

To rock or not to rock?