Pondering Academic Prose? Too lazy to write it yourself? Let this handy virtual academic ghost it for you! It even provides a virtual critic. Start here to get on your way.
Most people believe that Rosa Parks sparked the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat. But as a game theorist who studies social movements, I know this story is only partly true: after Mrs. Parks’s arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, the veteran activist Jo Ann Gibson Robinson mimeographed 52,500 leaflets announcing a boycott four days later. If any single action started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it was the printing of these leaflets.
Mobilizing people to action doesn’t just happen: it takes extensive planning and effort. So when I geared up to publish my second scholarly book, “Jane Austen, Game Theorist”, I vowed to deploy ideas from social movement theory to help publicize it. I figured I could use all the help I could get; my first book, “Rational Ritual,” never cracked an Amazon ranking higher than #42,000. In the heady week after “Jane Austen, Game Theorist” came out, for a few hours it went past #200. It has received much more attention than anyone expected.
Here’s what I did and why.
When it comes to marketing your book, get ready to spend lots of time and effort, full-time for weeks. It is not unreasonable to schedule your teaching responsibilities around it. You will be spending lots of time and energy doing what all social movement organizers do: talking, writing and discussing, trying to get the message out.
Almost all social movements rely on a single tight organizing team that communicates daily. When you publish your book, your obvious team members are the publicity people at your press and your university. Get to know them early, several months before the publication date, and take their advice.
Planning is essential. A very effective Civil Rights Movement tactic was the sit-in, in which black students sat at segregated lunch counters, causing the lunch counters to shut down and creating economic havoc. In the two months after the Feb. 1, 1960 sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina, sit-ins had occurred in 69 cities. Many at the time saw this rapid spread as a spontaneous occurrence, like a dam breaking after decades of pent-up frustration, but it was actually the result of extensive planning and nonviolent protest training.
Read the rest of this post here: UCLA Today: How professors can get publicity for their scholarly books.
Now the the field school has ended I’m spending hours reading field notes and grading. This will pass in a few days, and I’ll finally be able work on my own writing. In truth, I try to write every day, and I do (on the blog, fieldnotes, and free writing). But I still look forward to long breaks where I can sit and think about everything that’s happened this year in the field school and in my Writing Ethnography course.
But first a week at the beach. Then I’ll send my teen-agers to their summer jobs and I’ll luxuriate in the time I can spend writing.
In the meantime, I’ll refer you (especially my readers who are academics) to consider this article from the Chronicle. And keep writing!
Re blogged from FairfaxTimes.com
While other English majors might be wondering about life after college, soon-to-be GMU graduate Paul Laudiero, 22, has a book deal under his belt and big dreams.
In February, Laudiero had an idea for a blog: “Shit Rough Drafts,” which fictionally re-creates literary icons’ first attempts at classics.
“I write every day for a couple hours. Something every writer should learn early, unless they’re delusional, is your writing is shit. It’s shit for at least 10 years,” Laudiero said, “I started thinking about [F. Scott Fitzgerald’s] The Great Gatsby,’ which was being promoted–the movie—everywhere. I was thinking [Fitzgerald] must have had a lot of shit drafts, like ‘The Good Gatsby,’ ‘The Alright Gatsby,’”
Laudiero posted his Gatsby goof as his first “Shit Rough Drafts” Tumblr entry and, “It took off,” he said. “That’s the thing about Tumblr. If you have a lot of funny material it will be seen.”
In February, Laudiero condensed 10 years of “shit writing” into a month.
“The Huffington Post did an article on [my] Tumblr a week after I started it,” Laudiero said. Two weeks after that, through a friend of a friend, Laudiero had a book agent, then he won The Great Tumblr Book Search contest, a collaboration between Chronicle Books and Tumblr for which Laudiero received a $200 prize in free Chronicle Books. The contest received 175 book pitches. Laudiero took the money, but gave Chronicle Books his agent’s name. The result: Laudiero landed his first book deal.
Read the rest of this article on FairfaxTimes.com.
How many times have you heard a faculty colleague comment that becoming an administrator is moving to the “dark side”? It’s true, faculty and administrators often think differently, but why is that? And what are the priorities one has to make as an administrator? The article excerpted from Inside Higher Ed points the key differences.
When I moved into my first faculty position after earning my Ph.D., I had been an academic administrator for several years — and had been an administrator some years before, too. Moving into the “faculty mindset” wasn’t hard for me at first. I was expected to focus on my teaching and research, asked to commit to service when it was needed, and was otherwise free to go about my business as I saw fit.
It didn’t take long, however, for me to start to chafe at the disconnection: I had very little sense of what was going on in the wider university that didn’t directly impact my work or wasn’t in the student newspaper. I was used to knowing more, being part of the larger project of education on campus. That’s a central part of why I sought administrative work after only a short time in a purely faculty role. It was also the moment when I realized that there really is an administrative mindset that comes with changing roles.
So, just how do administrators think differently than faculty? In several key ways that must be clear to anyone considering a move from one side of the line to the other in academe. And trust me, it’s a clear line.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/04/12/essay-what-its-faculty-member-become-administrator#ixzz2QTefZG14
Inside Higher Ed
Reblogged from Inside Higher Ed
by Doug Lederman
Online education is often held out as a way to increase access to higher education, especially for those — adult students, the academically underprepared, members of some minority groups — who have historically been underrepresented in college. But that access is meaningful only if it leads somewhere, and if the education students get helps them reach their goals.
New data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College suggest that some of the students most often targeted in online learning’s access mission are less likely than their peers to benefit from — and may in fact be hurt by — digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction.
The study did not, however, account for the quality of the online courses studied, making it difficult to draw from its findings overly sweeping generalizations about the efficacy of online learning.
The working paper, “Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas,” by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars, researchers at the center, expands on work from 2011 that found that students who enrolled in online courses — controlling for various factors that tend to predict success — were more likely to fail or drop out of the courses than were those who took the same courses in person. Notably, there was not a gap in completion between those enrolled in hybrid and in-person courses.
This essay starts with the title “Stop Calling it Digital Humanities,” a response to the fact that Liberal Arts colleges feel left out of the conversation (and have much to add). I see his point, but I don’t agree. Sure, other Liberal Arts disciplines can engage in important digital projects, but what makes these projects significant is the ways they’re applied to the Humanities. I don’t think DH has to build a tent for all comers–a better solution would be for disciplines should create and brand their own digital movements. DH works for the Humanities–no need to destroy something that functions well.
Reblogged from the Chronicle of Higher Education
A persistent criticism of the digital-humanities movement is that it is elitist and exclusive because it requires the resources of a major university (faculty, infrastructure, money), and is thus more suited to campuses with a research focus. Academics and administrators at small liberal-arts colleges may read about DH and, however exciting it sounds, decide that it ill suits their teaching mission.
In fact, teaching-focused colleges have significant advantages over research universities in pursuing the digital humanities.
With shallower administrative hierarchies and less institutional inertia, liberal-arts colleges can innovate relatively rapidly and at lower cost. They usually have more collegiality across disciplines and divisions, and between faculty and staff members. It’s easier to build coalitions and to organize project teams at small colleges.
Because of their teaching focus, they have lighter expectations for faculty research: Faculty members are more likely to be able to experiment with projects that may not lead to traditional scholarly publications. Some liberal-arts colleges even have a culture of faculty-student collaborative research, which translates perfectly into the project-building methods of the digital humanities. And the great variety of missions among liberal-arts colleges allows each of them to develop projects serving communities that might otherwise be neglected. All in all, participating in DH is not more difficult at liberal-arts colleges than at research universities; it simply presents a different set of challenges and opportunities.
Since 2008 I’ve been part of an effort, sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to build a DH program at a liberal-arts college in the Midwest, and have found all of the advantages I’ve just mentioned to be real. While I would not say that our situation is applicable to every college in our sector, I’d like to offer some casual suggestions for program building in this emerging field.
Stop calling it “digital humanities.” Or worse, “DH,” with a knowing air. The backlash against the field has already arrived. The DH’ers have always known that their work is interdisciplinary (or metadisciplinary), but many academics who are not humanists think they’re excluded from it.
As an umbrella term for many kinds of technologically enhanced scholarly work, DH has built up a lot of brand visibility, especially at research universities. But in the context in which I work, it seems more inclusive to call it digital liberal arts (DLA) with the assumption that we’ll lose the “digital” within a few years, once practices that seem innovative today become the ordinary methods of scholarship.
Read the rest of this article here.
Friends and colleagues often ask if I’m married to an academic. Most days I have to stop myself from saying “hell no.” Here’s why:
From The Atlantic:
When I was a graduate student in history, I loved to read the acknowledgements sections of books. If you looked carefully, all the trade secrets kept within the small, competitive field were revealed, from who was the most helpful specialist in an archive to creative means of financing research.
Inadvertently, I also learned quite a bit about historian’s marriages. Consider For Cause and Comrades, in which Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson writes, “The person most instrumental in helping me produce this volume has also been the most important person in my life for the past forty years, my wife Patricia. In addition to enriching my life every day, she has been a superb research assistant, having read almost as many soldiers’ letters and diaries as I have.”
Ostensibly, McPherson, a professor at Princeton since 1962, is giving credit where it is most certainly due. To an aspiring female historian, this rather typical acknowledgement represents a looming threat. It can be found at faculty dinners, when wives outside the academy explain they, too, once pursued a higher degree. Without fail, they look at you a little sadly and say, “best of luck” or, far worse, “stick with it.” During office hours, when advisors described the paths of female colleagues, it sounds more like the summary of a horror film than a professional trajectory: few survived.
Despite all this, my cohorts and I believed that we were entering a radically different kind of history department, one where women could forge their own careers, rather than merely supporting their husbands’. Surely, the changing of the guard in progressive institutions had already occurred. A new study from the American Historical Association suggests, however, that many of the field’s problems remain unresolved.
Read the rest of this article here.