Comments on: Department of Corrections http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:24:08 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-80160 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 21:50:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-80160 Hi NewSocProf, and welcome–I’m very glad to hear that you have found such a terrific job! I’m glad that you were insulated from the nonsense at your undergrad institution, although I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t as a grad student. But, I think that’s pretty typical: I’m not even sure that I was aware of ANY faculty politics as an undergraduate. Unfortunately, grad students are frequently the ones who pay a big price for faculty ugliness in their departments. Good luck you to, and I hope your job is a font of collegiality. I’ve got a good job now, and it’s pretty great!

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By: ari http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-80157 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 21:44:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-80157 Classy correction. And despite the error, you seemed measured and fair in the Chronicle piece. Well done.

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By: NewSocProf http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-80127 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 20:48:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-80127 Hi, I read the Chronicle article about bullying (which is how I found out about your blog).

I am a newly hired, tenure-track professor in the social sciences at a large, private university in Southern Cal. Oops, guess I just gave it away where I am!

I read your story and had 2 different and distinct reactions. The first was as someone who experienced bullying in my graduate program. The second was as an undergraduate where you had your worst job.

While I enjoyed my grad experience, I hated my department. Insane is the closest word that captures who immature the majority of the faculty were. I did not expect that a department ranked in the top 5 in my field would at times seem more like an elementary school playground than a community of colleagues. I escaped mostly unharmed, but saw a number of new faculty feel that they had to accept it because they felt they could not do anything about it or leave.

I was floored when I read about your experience at my undergraduate institution. It sounds like a different place than the one I went to! I took a number of classes in your department (was in CORE and loved American History) and never had any idea what was going on behind the scenes. I loved all of my history classes. I loved my time at UD and felt like I had wonderful mentors and models of how engaged faculty should act. It pains me to hear of such ugliness at a place that I deeply love.

I am deeply enjoying my experience (so far) here in Southern Cal. I feel supported by my department and have not seen anything that raises any red flags.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-80057 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 19:04:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-80057 GayProf–I think that tenure contributes mightily to your criterion B) entitlement. Unless the bullying is linked to sexual harassment or ethnic intimidation, tenured bullies can say or do whatever they want, and rest secure in the knowledge that there will be few if any consequences.

But, that said, I agree with you that feelings of entitlement are not necessarily linked to the protections of tenure. In my case, I think the bullies felt threatened more than entitled. In fact, in so many conversations with them I felt it was their naked ids speaking, not their egos or super egos, as it were–I was frequently just embarassed for them.

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By: GayProf http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-80038 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 18:40:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-80038 My feeling is that a great number of bullies emerge not because they are “born,” but because they A) Feel threatened and B) Feel entitled. It has also been clear to me that having (or not having) tenure rarely informs either of those.

As for your mistake, it would have been a nice way for your antagonist to think that you weren’t really referring to her, but some other colleague that she forgot knowing.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-79978 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 17:29:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-79978 Ha! Thanks, Roxie–that’s what another friend of mine just said on the phone. Oh well–I could be wrong! (And in fact, I suspect that my informant-colleague thinks I’m too generous, too. I guess can afford to be generous at a distance of 1,500+ miles!)

I still believe that most bullies were themselves bullied. Because if I don’t believe that–if I thought that bullies were born and not made–how would we ever fix bullying environments and make them better? Isn’t it more optimistic (even if sometimes delusional) to believe that bullies are made and not born that way?

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By: Roxie http://www.historiann.com/2008/09/11/department-of-corrections/comment-page-1/#comment-79973 Thu, 11 Sep 2008 17:23:35 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=987#comment-79973 I think your mistake is a good indication of what a decent person you are, Historiann. Your memory lapse gave your bullying colleague the benefit of the doubt by attributing her behavior to a terrible humiliation she had suffered. Even now, as you correct your mistake, you compassionately aim to situate her behavior within a toxic atmosphere or climate rather than personalizing it and dismissing her as an evil bitch. That’s very generous of you. A lesser person would be far less kind, I think, and might churlishly suggest that you are trying to put. . .lipstick. . .on, you know, a, um, pig.

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