Monthly Archives: September 2007

Academic Freedom as a Precondition of Productivity

I was asked about my view that academic freedom is a precondition of academic productivity in the comments on an earlier thread. Here’s the Minnesota Review essay where I lay that argument out in some detail. A lot of it … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 5 Comments

As Smith So Brilliantly Notes

I was just marking a student paper last night where I suggested that she avoid the use of complimentary modifiers like, “As Author X so incisively claims…” or “Author Y makes the particularly brilliant suggestion that…”. I realized that I … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 19 Comments

Thanks for Nothing

If you want to see how counterproductive the current intellectual property environment can be for scholarly publishing, take a gander at the ACLS Humanities E-Book website. I foolishly inflicted an assignment on my students using this for today’s class, since … Continue reading

Posted in Intellectual Property | 7 Comments

The Toll From the Troll

Jon Cogburn’s description of the academic job-hunting process in philosophy is vivid. I suspect philosophy is a bit worse off in the ways he describes, but a lot of what is hateful in the process holds pretty true in history … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 4 Comments

Head-Slapping Time

So you spend some time trying to offer a qualified defense of academia, and then you come across something like professors at UC Davis proclaiming that Lawrence Summers is so utterly beyond the pale that he shouldn’t be asked to … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 38 Comments

Hiroo Onoda: The Toys and Cartoons Edition

The historian Gary Cross published an editorial on toys, collecting and commercialism in the New York Times this weekend. Cross’ scholarly work is very good. I’ve cited it, read it, and assigned it. But he’s also a dues-paying signatory to … Continue reading

Posted in Consumerism, Advertising, Commodities, Popular Culture | 28 Comments

Turn Down the Dial

I agree that academic prose is sometimes both boring and frustrating because of the extent to which academics overqualify and parse every substantive claim they are making. It can lead to endless thickets of dependent clauses designed to cover all … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 60 Comments

Applied Googling

For various reasons, I got interested today in the campaign to kick Coca-Cola off of college campuses, in response to allegations about the actions of company franchisees in India and Colombia. I may have some comments on the campaign itself … Continue reading

Posted in Information Technology and Information Literacy | 4 Comments

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Speaking of reasons that maybe some people occasionally dislike academics, I found myself nearly unable to restrain my pedantry last night at my daughter’s back-to-school meeting. The school theme for the year is “medieval times”. Cool, that’s fun, good idea. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 21 Comments

Goose and Gander

Eric Rauchway has a short comment on John Gray’s forthcoming Black Mass that really interests me (and got me to pre-order the book from Amazon.) Rauchway describes Gray as arguing that Thatcherite neoliberals assumed that reducing the size of the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments