The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

academic blogs

Because of a recent Chronicle of Higher Ed piece on academic blogs and how they can hurt you on the job market, there's been a spurt of commentary on this topic on my favorite academic blogs (most of 'em listed on the left of the page). Bitch, Ph.D., refers us to La Profesora Abstraida, who discusses her POV on the subject. L.P.A. notes that she doesn't think her blog--which is not anonymous--will hurt her if/when she eventually goes on the job market. She doesn't remain anonymous.

I think that's brave but perhaps foolhardy. Although such stories represent the exception, certainly, we've all heard stories about how some anonymous faculty member--or, worse, administrator or trustee--gets a bee in his/her (well, generally, his) bonnet about a candidate for tenure. It's almost impossible to tell what set that person off, and once he's set against you you've got a terrible fight on your hand against a phantom opponent with nothing to lose--Kerry versus the Swifties.

I've decided to remain anonymous here for precisely those reasons. I certainly don't intend to dish or gossip about my department, my university, whatever, but at my university (like most, I suspect) there's a history of tenure cases being scuttled by powerful, anonymous people up the line who didn't like how the tenure candidates bucked the university's conservative forces. I have no plans to go on the job market anytime soon, but I can't imagine letting my offhanded remarks tank my chances at a job just after my offhanded comments have shot down my tenure application.

Yeah, it's gutless ass-covering. But in this job market, where a few blessed academic stars meet an Alex Rodriguez-like free-agent market while entry-level positions with 4-4 loads receive hundreds of overqualified applicants, I'm siding with ass-covering. Why? For starters, see the cute guy below.

Oh: in Profesora Abstraida's taxonomy, I'm trying to be a #3. I agree with her that men tend to write the hard-charging political blogs (Bérubé, et al.) and women the personal ones. I'm trying to swing the other way.


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