SOPA STRIKE

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill - PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House - to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. We need internet companies to follow Reddit's lead and stand up for the web, as we internet users are doing every day.


		

Repost: The 1st General Assembly of World Anthropologists to Support Occupy Wall

The 1st General Assembly of World Anthropologists to Support Occupy Wall Street and Associated Movements
American Anthropological Association Meeting
Montreal, Canada November 17-20, 2011

Calling all anthropologists, interdisciplinary scholars, activists and citizens attending the 2011 AAA Meetings in Montreal:

Please join us for the 1st General Assembly of World Anthropologists who are involved or interested in the recent occupy movement for global economic change that is sweeping the globe.  The details of our meeting and the actions we take will be determined by the consensus process during general assemblies that is being practiced by all of the occupations.  David Graeber, one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, will be on hand to help facilitate and participate in the initial assembly.

We will meet in the lobby of the Montreal convention center on Thursday evening, November 17th after the AAA events at 9:30 PM.  Please gather around the “Occupy G.A.” sign and we will adjourn to have the general assembly.  Additional assemblies can be held throughout the weekend as necessary.

* * *


Since I’m not being publicly productive …

Here’s a great blog that is:

http://thefprorg.wordpress.com/blog/


Because I enjoy this


Honey, where you been so long?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  I’ve been camping, traveling, celebrating, biking, running (50 mi July! – 100 in August!) and just taking a moment to breathe since school ended and I haven’t found the time to write or really even think about my favorite things in the world of academia.  So this will be a short post and it’s mostly just to publicly love on some of Tom Csordas’ older work.

“…objects are a secondary product of reflective thinking; on the level of perception we have no objects, we are simply in the world.”

Csordas, Thomas. Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology.  Ethos. Vol 18, No 1. Mar 1990. p 9.

*

That being said, expect my first blogstyle-lit-review by the end of this week (by “lit review” I mean I’m going to tell you all my favorite parts – oops).

Keep it breezy.


Just a Clip

I’ve been encouraged to listen to this for a week now and I finally got around to it this morning after giving my last lecture of the semester (sad!).

So Chris Hedges gave a talk at Berkeley this past week and it’s pretty interesting. So this is just a clip until I can get the full audio.  Start at the 10:20 mark if you feel like skipping some brief news headlines and admin things on Against the Grain.

Click here to listen!

* Also a warning, he speaks in a very -waxpoetic- tone of voice.  Don’t worry.  I notice how silly it is, too.


A terrifying, marginally flawed examination of the current state of higher education.

Faulty Towers:  The Crisis in Higher Education.  A clip from an article in The Nation by William Deresiewicz

The policy may be extreme, but the feeling is universal. Most professors I know are willing to talk with students about pursuing a PhD, but their advice comes down to three words: don’t do it. (William Pannapacker, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education as Thomas Benton, has been making this argument for years. See “The Big Lie About the ‘Life of the Mind,’” among other essays.) My own advice was never that categorical. Go if you feel that your happiness depends on it—it can be a great experience in many ways—but be aware of what you’re in for. You’re going to be in school for at least seven years, probably more like nine, and there’s a very good chance that you won’t get a job at the end of it.

At Yale, we were overjoyed if half our graduating students found positions. That’s right—half. Imagine running a medical school on that basis. As Christopher Newfield points out in Unmaking the Public University (2008), that’s the kind of unemployment rate you’d expect to find among inner-city high school dropouts. And this was before the financial collapse. In the past three years, the market has been a bloodbath: often only a handful of jobs in a given field, sometimes fewer, and as always, hundreds of people competing for each one.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When I started graduate school in 1989, we were told that the disastrous job market of the previous two decades would be coming to an end because the large cohort of people who had started their careers in the 1960s, when the postwar boom and the baby boom combined to more than double college enrollments, was going to start retiring. Well, it did, but things kept getting worse. Instead of replacing retirees with new tenure-eligible hires, departments gradually shifted the teaching load to part-timers: adjuncts, postdocs, graduate students. From 1991 to 2003, the number of full-time faculty members increased by 18 percent. The number of part-timers increased by 87 percent—to almost half the entire faculty.

But as Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein point out in their comprehensive study The American Faculty (2006), the move to part-time labor is already an old story. Less visible but equally important has been the advent and rapid expansion of full-time positions that are not tenure-eligible. No one talks about this transformation—the creation of yet another academic underclass—and yet as far back as 1993, such positions already constituted the majority of new appointees. As of 2003, more than a third of full-time faculty were working off the tenure track. By the same year, tenure-track professors—the “normal” kind of academic appointment—represented no more than 35 percent of the American faculty.

The reasons for these trends can be expressed in a single word, or buzzword: efficiency. Contingent academic labor, as non-tenure-track faculty, part-time and full-time, are formally known, is cheaper to hire and easier to fire. It saves departments money and gives them greater flexibility in staffing courses. Over the past twenty years, in other words—or really, over the past forty—what has happened in academia is what has happened throughout the American economy. Good, secure, well-paid positions—tenured appointments in the academy, union jobs on the factory floor—are being replaced by temporary, low-wage employment.

*** the article is continued at the link below***

May 4, 2011   |    This article appeared in the May 23, 2011 edition of The Nation.