I understand Matthew Pratt Guterl’s argument: academic writing should be deep, complex and nuanced. But he misses an important point about critiques of academic writing: it is frequently laden with jargon and faulty sentence structure. To write about complex issues and ideas does not leave academics with the choice of prose that is either indecipherable or suitable for Twitter. This is the main issue that the critics of “academic writing” is not its complexity, but that is is poorly executed.
Originally posted on matthew pratt guterl:
When Nicholas Kristof, the soft-hearted liberal on the New York Times op-ed page, decided that political scientists had given up on writing for a broader public, a digital avalanche of blog posts, letters to the editor, and tweets, followed. The APSA, Corey Robin, Claire Potter, and basically the entire editorial collective of Jacobin took the man to task for, basically, channeling the laziest version of Tom Friedman. Why, Kristof seemed to be asking, casually leafing through the past few issues of the New Yorker, can’t more people write like Jill Lepore? This is a fine question, but – as Robin points out – it isn’t the right question at all, and it probably isn’t an honest question, either.
Now, just as Kristof’s more recent and weak apologia has been begrudgingly accepted, here comes Joshua Rothman, writing in the New Yorker itself, and asking, with an eye on the recent contretemps, “Why is Academic Writing so Academic?” Where Kristoff seemed detached, Rothman is engaged, and genuinely interested in trying to understand why the professoriate writes for itself. Our gnomish academic audiences matter more, he sums, because they determine tenure and promotion. ”Academic writing and research,” he concludes, “may be knotty and strange, remote and insular, technical and specialized, forbidding and clannish—but that’s because academia has become that way, too. Today’s academic work, excellent though it may be, is the product of a shrinking system. It’s a tightly-packed, super-competitive jungle in there.”
Originally posted on professor never:
A vibrant on-line community has erupted around contingent faculty in the last five years. Articles about adjuncts and the atrophied job market have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Slate and beyond. When you add the blogs and Twitter accounts that have popped up everywhere regarding adjuncting, unionization efforts and transition from academic life, it seems a massive snowball has formed over the much troubled village of academe.
Real change may still be far out, so far that I have trouble imagining what it will look like when it finally comes, but the potential for graduate students and adjuncts to build community and organize exists on a large scale.
I am so happy to see this community form. When I worked as an adjunct from 2004 to 2006, I didn’t even know the other contingent laborers at the university where I worked, let alone those who held similar jobs across the country.
This has nothing to do with the content of my blog, except that it is a discussion of cultural values during dating. I’m reposting because I like the suggestions.
Originally posted on Thought Catalog:
1. Coming to the door to pick someone up.
I think we’ve all had it with the incredibly unromantic “here” text, and meeting up always seems to be more casual and platonic than the alternative. Of course, meeting someone from online or any circumstance like that would probably be the exception to this rule, but generally: the 30 seconds it takes to get out of a car or cab and knock on the door makes a huge difference.
2. Trying to dress really nicely for a date.
Fantastic Advice on how to run a successful reading.
Originally posted on Book Fight!:
This week we welcome back Jaime Fountaine and pepper her with questions about how to run a successful reading. Jaime hosts several reading series here in Philly featuring writers, comedians and storytellers. We want to know how to keep readers from being boring (or overly long), how to say no to a friend whose work you don’t really like, and how to keep things moving as a host.
We also discuss the ethics of using people’s real names in nonfiction, and of course we subject Jaime to the patented Book Fight Lightning Round.
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Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:
Recently, New York magazine announced it was going from 48 print issues per year to 26 annual issues. This led to an interesting set of exchanges as the meaning of this change was debated, including the implications for users and businesses, and where this is taking media businesses in general. The bottom line will resonate with many STM publishers — namely, how poorly the value associated with print publication is migrating to online publication, especially when it comes to advertising and subscription prices.
David Carr of the New York Times was among the first to discuss the change, and he was a little wistful: