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!

A question…

I found myself updating the cv today and ended up debating whether to include an “under review” and “works in progress” heading. I’ve never included such headings, and have often found an “under review” section presumptuous, if not slightly pretentious. Nonetheless, I’ve been thinking about it. What say you readers?

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?

Tenure Related Shooting? (Updated)

UPDATE V: New York Times now has a story about it, tries to make sense by referring to an “academic pressure cooker” – what exactly are we cooking? I wonder.

UPDATE IV: Before Shahar tsk-tsks me for being perversely obsessed with this story, here’s another curios update:

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – Police in Massachusetts said the professor charged with capital murder in the UAH shooting case also shot her brother 24 years ago.

Braintree, Massachusetts police confirmed Amy Bishop shot her brother, Seth Bishop with a shotgun in December, 1986.

Amy Bishop was 20 years old at the time and her brother was 18.

At the time, police said it was an accidental shooting.

Authorities said Bishop is accused of fatally shooting three colleagues at a faculty meeting where she was denied tenure, which provides job security.

UPDATE III: Another suspect in the shooting? CNN reports (saw this at Zaidy’s while eating latkes):

UPDATE II: University of Alabama, Huntsville briefs the press on the situation and officially releases names of the victims and takes questions.


More information about the arrest of Amy Bishop here.

UPDATE I: More details of this bizarre story are coming out:

Sammie Lee Davis said his wife, Maria Ragland Davis, was a researcher who had tenure at the university.

In a brief phone interview, he said he was told his wife was at a meeting to discuss the tenure status of another faculty member who got angry and started shooting.

He said his wife had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as “not being able to deal with reality” and “not as good as she thought she was.”

This story is just coming out, but it seems that a woman at the University of Alabama, Huntsville shot three people and injured one at the meeting where she was told she will not get tenure:

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – Police said a female member of the UA-Huntsville faculty shot and killed three co-workers on campus.

Huntsville Police, Madison County Sheriff’s department and HEMSI responded to a shooting at the UAH campus at 4:00 Friday afternoon.

The shooting happened in the Shelby Center, a math and science classroom building.

Authorities said a female faculty member during a Biology faculty meeting learned she would not receive tenure. She then pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Boy, this is really strange – did she know she wasn’t getting tenure and brought the gun?

Some more details are coming in: Continue reading

Class Humor

From The Physics Teacher (January 1989):


This bit of humor was written in April 1988 and appeared in the January 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher.

The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major U.S. research university. The element, tentatively named administratium, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.

Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

Graduate School Advice Awesomeness

Feeling down in graduate school? No one cares about your dissertation or your research interests? Stressed out about your future job prospects? Recently had a talk with your Marxist friend who told you that you are screwed and will work for years as a disposable adjunct? Find academic life in your department empty and unrewarding? Friends ask you why you are in graduate school and you can’t find a good answer? Overcome by self-doubt and depression? Wondering if the odds are stacked against you? Want to drop out of graduate school and do something else with your life?

Don’t worry, young friend, if any or more of the above feelings ever came to your door – wave them off with a nice advice from InsideHigherEd. Alexes Harris to the rescue!

At times during your graduate career it can become difficult to stay motivated and avoid burnout. During graduate school you must learn not only how to become an effective researcher in your field, but also how to manage frustration and, at times, a feeling that you lack the necessary motivation to move forward. There are several things you can do to remain motivated and focused on what it takes to progress through your program and earn your graduate degree. Continue reading