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On trying to get some research done, or, Revenge of the zombies

Every research project I’ve ever undertaken (of the kind intended to lead to something publishable, anyway) has tended to fall into a distinct series of stages. It goes more or less like this: 1) Initial idea, followed by exhilaration as several┬áinteresting data points and/or previous ideas and/or previous research investigations dovetail in an unexpected way. […]

The Renaissance person’s dilemma

Two recent trains of thought: If you had the time, money, and leisure to go for another degree, or at least take enough courses to become reasonably informed about something you're interested in, what would you study? Me, I'd have a hard time deciding where to start: music theory and musicology, or geography with a […]

“Because you are doing it for love.”

I'll get back to the ACRL recaps tomorrow, but first I wanted to point to Thomas Hart Benton (a.k.a. William Pannapacker)'s latest column in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Just Don't Go, Part 2," in which he responds to various people who criticized his previous article about why grad school in the humanities is a […]

Dickensian U.

It seems like there’s been a cavalcade of bad news about Hard Times in Academia lately. The grim story about the University of Tennessee adjuncts that I blogged about last month was just the beginning. In just the last few days, I’ve run across articles on: an AFT study showing how heavily colleges and universities […]

Adjuncting in the tar pits

[Update: Greetings to everyone visiting from How the University Works, and thanks to Marc Bousquet for the link. If you’re new to my blog, you might want to check out the “Academia” category archives.] Via Timothy Burke comes a thoroughly depressing story from Inside Higher Ed on adjunct pay in the Tennessee state college and […]

Current awareness needs to get more…current.

Now that faculty outreach and collection development for English and American literature are officially part of my job description, I've been making an effort to stay more up-to-date with the field. I'm scanning a much bigger field than I used to when I was a grad student in English, though, and I have fewer hours […]

Article idea: scholarly social network mapping

Several days ago I had an idea for an article: a study of humanities scholars' social and professional networks, using names mentioned in the acknowledgments sections of scholarly monographs. If you assembled enough data, I bet you could build a network graph, and if you had some way of representing people's areas of specialization, you […]

Ph.D.s in libraries: Yet once more

Catching up on several weeks’ worth of articles in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, I spotted Todd Gilman’s ominously titled “Subject Experts Need Not Apply,” which reports that librarians with subject Ph.D.s aren’t getting jobs at the rate one would expect. Writes Gilman: Many recent job postings for humanities librarians, reference librarians, or those specializing […]

Five years

This coming Monday will be my five-year blogging anniversary. (Five years?! Time flies, et cetera et cetera.) When I started my old blog, I intended it to be primarily about my transition out of academia. Around the time I started the blog, I had the “I don’t think I want to do this anymore” conversation […]

Ann Arbor variations

(Title of this post stolen shamelessly from a Frank O’Hara poem, in case you’re wondering. He got an MFA here in between sojourns in New York.) So here I am in Ann Arbor for day 1 of the conference I’m attending; the papers are all being delivered tomorrow and Sunday morning, so today was mostly […]