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professional life

Why we can’t abolish “best”

In my email right now, there are 10,364 messages signed with American academia’s standard valediction: Best, I have always found best an …


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Graduation as seen by faculty

Last Friday, as my last work event at Whittier College (since my postdoc contract is finishing up), I went to graduation. A few observations …


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Academic work as charity

In so many ways, academic work is hard to recognize as being work in the standard wage-labor sense of that word. It can take …


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Working-class in academe

When the Minnesota Review changed editors a few years ago, the old back issues disappeared from their website. Fortunately, one of my favorite essays, …


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Overproduction as mass existentialism

Earlier this year, I observed that there are two kinds of scholarly overproduction, “herd” overproduction and “star” overproduction. I’d like to come …


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Academic hands

Jeffrey Williams wrote in his excellent essay Smart that academics’ hands are remarkable for their contrast with working-class hands: My father has …


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Reading as caching

When you spend a few years writing code, the principles of programming can start to spill over into other parts of your …


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