Category Archives: Academia

We Have Been Here Before

“Controversial speakers on campus” is one of those stories that generates a kind of perpetual discovery of just-now-imminent threat. That sort of discourse tends to drive historians nuts, because we look back and see that people have been saying something … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 3 Comments

Home to Roost

Formal argument in the classic style has real limits. Sometimes when we try to rule some sentiment or response in an argument or dialogue as “out of bounds” by classing it as a logical fallacy or as some other form … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Generalist's Work, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System, Politics | 12 Comments

Slow Poisons

A prologue first to what I’m going to say about “academic bullying”. Considering that the word is used so broadly to discuss a wide range of procedures, practices, attitudes, and ideological positions, maybe we need a better term than “neoliberalism”. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Swarthmore | 13 Comments

Style and Substance

One of the complicated underterrains of struggle within the contemporary academy involves the use of language and representation. Many scholars in all disciplines have a sophisticated and subtle understanding of how we speak in our disciplines and across our disciplines, … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 5 Comments

Remain in Light

I don’t know what there is to say when you “read the comments” as it were. It feels hopeless. My colleague Sa’ed Atshan is profoundly committed to trying to get out of the standard confinements of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. At … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 7 Comments

Fighting for the Ancien Regime

Among the many things that educated progressives failed to understand about the world around them over the last twenty years–and this is not just an American story, but a global one–is that we were not marginal, not since the 1970s. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Information Technology and Information Literacy, Politics | 6 Comments

Trumpism and Expertise

The conventional wisdom was that the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union fell and its satellite states became independent once again. I think actually that the Cold War just ended right now in 2016. What is it that has … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Oath for Experts, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System, Politics | Comments Off on Trumpism and Expertise

The Room Where It Happens

It would be in a way a comfort–and also a terror–to think, “Well, that’s those people, it’s the way they think, we cannot stop them and there is no way to engage them.” It’s true, there is no way to … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System, Politics, Swarthmore | 1 Comment

Physician Heal Thyself

In the summer of 2014, an American scholar named Steven Salaita who was a tenured member of the faculty at Virginia Tech was beginning the process of his move to a new position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 6 Comments

The Vision Thing

We’re having a “visioning exercise” here at Swarthmore this fall. I couldn’t attend an early gathering for this purpose, and I’m teaching during the next one. This might be just as well, as I’m having to fight back a certain … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Oath for Experts, Swarthmore | 1 Comment