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And one more thing…

…before they kick me out of this nice computer lab that’s closing in 30 minutes. In all the excitement of moving to Charlottesville, I missed the ritual anniversary post. But it’s already been just over a year since I started the old version of this blog. Who’d’ve thought it? Everything has been happening a lot […]

Required reading

"Wanted: Really Smart Suckers", by Anya Kamenetz of the Village Voice, should be required reading for all aspiring graduate students. Particularly this quote from comp lit Ph.D. Dan Friedman: "I didn’t know what I was getting into. It would have been different if I had known. You’re committed to your subject and you think, I […]

Say what?

Some of the associate professors who remain were the good hires of yesteryear who didn’t manage to find the jobs they once longed for. Many of them now spurn the academy in general, reserving their special contempt for the graduate students who teach our service courses (two a semester!). I’ve even heard some colleagues voice […]

Nay, I have done. (Have I?)

Since ther’s no helpe, Come let us kisse and part,Nay, I have done: You get no more of Me,And I am glad, yea glad with all my heartThat thus so cleanly, I my Selfe can free.Shake hands for ever, Cancell all our Vowes,And when we meet at any time againe,Be it not seene in either […]

Ideal intellectual communities: some prolegomena

Prompted by a comment by Susan on this post about academic writing (among other things) at Frogs and Ravens, I’ve been thinking about intellectual communities. Specifically, I’ve been trying to envision what "my ideal intellectual community … would look like," to borrow Susan’s terms. The following is a provisional attempt at defining my own ideal […]

Dislodging the vines

Gosh. People are linking to my recent Simpsons post and my visitor traffic has gone way up. Hi, everyone who came here to read about the Bart Simpson Ph.D-taunting scene (including the person who got here by Googling "simpsons bookaccino"). Now I feel like I should be especially clever and witty for your benefit. But […]

Matt Groening takes on the academic job crisis

From tonight’s episode of The Simpsons: [Marge, Bart, and Lisa go to their local "Bookaccino" superbookstore.] LISA: I’m going up to the fourth floor, where the books are!BART: I’m going to taunt the Ph.Ds! [Bart approaches the three workers at the espresso bar, all of whom wear glasses and bored expressions.] BART: Hey guys! I […]

In which I pretend to be an advice columnist

Today Salon.com‘s advice section features a letter from "Panicked Prospective Ph.D. Candidate", who is applying to a raft of Ph.D. programs but has become paralyzed with anxiety. Writes PPPh.D.C: "I don’t know if I can handle being rejected by every single school I have chosen — not that I would go off the deep end […]

Stray thought occasioned by the term “independent scholar”

Wouldn’t "The Independent Scholars" be a great name for a band? Not a rock band, but an early-music band that plays dance hits of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. (I am a Renaissance person, after all.) Like the Folger Consort or the Newberry Consort, only maybe with more bawdy songs. (And on period instruments; I’m […]

Cross your fingers

I’ve applied for a job. A non-professorial job that would still allow me to do research — in my field, no less. It’s an administrative position at an independent, well-reputed research library, and they want a new Ph.D. who works in Renaissance studies, which I do. And it’s in a city where I’d actually quite […]