Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Moral of Pierre

I heard just a small bit of a story on NPR this morning about “crunch time” in family life, where working parents feel the pressure of getting their kids fed with a decent meal, finished with homework, and to sleep … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 11 Comments

Late Afternoon of the (Academic) Elites

I like Michael Bérubé’s essay about the “crisis in the humanities” at the Chronicle of Higher Education but I’ve written quite a lot about the main issues in the essay lately and I want to give it a bit of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 12 Comments

Particularism as a Big Idea

One of the interesting points about Jared Diamond’s books that has come up recently at Savage Minds is that cultural anthropologists don’t write “big books” much any longer, that the disciplinary vision of cultural and social anthropology is now so … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Generalist's Work, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System | 10 Comments

Getting to Wrong

About a month ago, I started writing an entry about Gawker Media as a model for the “new journalism”. When I started writing that, I mostly meant it as a compliment. I was thinking about Deadspin’s Manti Te’o expose (by … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Digital Humanities, Information Technology and Information Literacy | 1 Comment

Don’t Compromise. Improvise.

Non-profit isn’t a status, it’s an ideal. The chief problem with “corporatization” in academia is not a greater emphasis on financial matters or the increased influence of companies on research. A non-profit organization needs to think just as much, and … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Swarthmore | 3 Comments

The Longue Duree of the Galactic Empire

In response to this symposium at Wired about the Battle of Hoth, my thoughts: “The overly episodic focus of military historians and policy experts rather typically leads them to ignore the deeper structural considerations shaping this period in the history … Continue reading

Posted in Sheer Raw Geekery | 5 Comments

The Dissertation Might Not Be Broken, But It Needs a Chiropractor

One more thing that Menand mentioned in passing in his talk at Swarthmore was that the median time to completion of a Ph.D in the humanities is over nine years. Even if the job market in academia were wonderful that … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 13 Comments

More on Menand

Almost back to feeling normal, so I thought I’d return to my somewhat fever-delirious notes on the Menand talk last week at Swarthmore and see what I could pull out of them. Menand’s talk, following some of his recent writing, … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Digital Humanities, Generalist's Work, Swarthmore | 2 Comments

On Diamond (Not Again!)

I don’t really mean to get drawn into recurrent arguments about Jared Diamond’s work, because my actual feelings about the actual books are rather mixed and indifferent. Guns, Germs and Steel reads well, it’s a useful teaching book for fueling … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Cleaning Out the Augean Stables, Generalist's Work | 4 Comments

An Oath For Experts: First Principle

I’ve been thinking for a while about trying to develop and push out some simple statements of principle that anyone claiming to be an expert or authority should follow, in the mode of the Hippocratic Oath. The reason I think … Continue reading

Posted in Oath for Experts | 26 Comments