Archive for July, 2009

July 27th 2009
What the eff?

Posted under jobs & students & unhappy endings


What effort time is it? I'm late!

Just go read Female Science Professor about her recent wrangling with a project accountant about her estimates for an imaginary concept called “effort time:”

I had to talk to the accountant about effort reporting for Project 1 and she asked “What % of your effort — not time — will you spend exclusively on this project during the effort reporting period?”

I thought back on my day, which was fairly typical for the summer, randomly guessed a number between 1 and 100, and spoke it as a question: 15?

She said: That’s a lot. Are you sure?

I said: 2? 7?

She asked: Which of those is correct?

I said: Neither. The correct answer is “I don’t know.”

She said: We need to use the correct number. OK, how much time will you spend on this project? Continue Reading »


July 26th 2009
(Grad) school supply list

Posted under childhood & fluff & students

Sisyphus made a funny:  since ’tis the season that the back-to-school supplies lists are being mailed out to parents of elementary schoolers, why not offer up some helpful hints on supplies and tools one might need in order to be a successful grad student?  Her list is as follows:

  • Bourbon (at least three bottles per quarter)
  • No-Doze and Redbull
  • Flash drive
  • Box of tissues
  • Antidepressants
  • Portable stapler (because none of your students will ever think to bring their own or to staple their own essays, ever.  Ed. note:  hang onto this, because students who submit papers to tenured professors still haven’t figured this out.)
  • Uncrushable sense of purpose

crayolasHer commenters had other great suggestions–some humorous, but most very practical.  Some of my favorite serious suggestions include:  Trail Mix/Power Bars, coffee,a good thermos or non-spill coffee mug, a water bottle, and post-it notes.  I might also add Continue Reading »


July 25th 2009
Feminism and whig history: why are we always fooled again?

Posted under Gender & women's history


The whig of illusory progress!

Echidne has an interesting post about the history of the moon shot, “Reaching for the Moon,” in which she calls out the erasure of women from history even by purported “feminist” allies.  The specific occasion for her post was an article by Paul Campos, in which he boasted whiggishly, “One measure of how much has changed in the last 40 years is that the very idea of a woman astronaut in the 1960s would have seemed outlandish to most Americans (that the Russians had a female cosmonaut was widely interpreted as a preposterous publicity stunt).”

She responds that on the one hand, women’s participation was fixed within rigid limits, but that they were in fact part of the Apollo project all along:  “the absence of women astronauts in the program has a much more concrete reason: They were excluded from it. Books have been written about that: Margaret A. Weitekamp’s Right Stuff, Wrong Sexand Stephanie Nolen’s Promised The Moon.  And there were women involved with the project itself as described by Robyn C. Friend in The Women of Apollo.”

Echidne then muses, “I’m not sure why women’s history appears to evaporate the way it does.”  Well, here’s a theory:  Continue Reading »


July 24th 2009
Friday round-up: police state a-go-go, yee-haw!

Posted under American history & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & unhappy endings & women's history

cowgirl2Man, oh man!  The arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. last week, and the dismissal of the “disorderly conduct” charges against him this week, are still top news in the U.S.A.  (Really?  I mean, isn’t that whole health care/North Korea/climate change thingy still unresolved?)  No apologies here for reporting and commentary on Skip Gates’s latest run-in with the authorities for being an African American man, since this is a blog that is full of commentary and gossip about higher ed, in addition to “history and sexual politics, 1492 to the present,” as the syllabus suggests.

Anyhoo, I’ve got a full day of exercises–physical and mental–ahead of me, so I’ll just leave you with this roundup of (mostly) intelligent commentary about l’affaire Gates, for your reading pleasure:

  • Check out Philadelphia Negro in “You Can’t Come Home Again.”  Darryl is a certified all-ivy grad who (like every other black man in America) has had his share of hassles by the authorities, on campus and off.  He writes, “we always have to worry if the keys to the kingdom will actually unlock the doors before us.  Because if they do not (and sometimes even if they do), someone else might call the police.”
  • Prof.  Susurro tells her stories about assumptions about who’s a professor, and who’s not.  (I linked to this a few days ago, but think it’s worth highlighting again.)  Every faculty member of color I know has stories like these–every single one.
  • Rob Weir at Inside Higher Ed suggests that we “Relax and Take Five.”  Really?  This article seems to sum up the fake “objective” view that many white people have of Gates’s arrest.  Continue Reading »


July 23rd 2009
Secret Agent Historians

Posted under American history & European history & fluff & jobs & weirdness


Yeah, Squadrato baby, yeah!

Squadratomagico has an interesting post about her current research in London at the “Secret Agent Archive“–no specifics, because she doesn’t want to give away her identity in her day job, but she finds the location of the current object of her research exciting.  (And it sounds like an opening scene to an Austin Powers movie.):

I enter Secret Agent Archive through modern steel-and-glass doors that whisk open automatically, then submit to a bag search. I proceed to a room in the back, where I stash my personal belongings in the modern lockers with frosted glass fronts. Here’s where it really starts to get interesting: up two flights of gleaming marble stairs, through another set of modern steel-and-glass doors; then I swipe my magnetized I.D. card through a reader, which buzzes and flashes a green light. That is my go-ahead to pass through the turnstile surrounded by a metal detector.

Now I’m in the restricted sanctum.

Then it’s a turn down a corridor, through a pair of massive wooden doors into a reading room populated by a scattering of folk absorbed in their researches. Now, I ascend more marble steps, then walk back along a brightly-lit catwalk lined with books, heading way, way to the back and through a fire door into a very small, short passageway. Then, penetrating ever deeper into the bowels of this place, I immediately push through yet another completely unmarked, solid wooden door that looks like part of the paneling in this narrow space.  Continue Reading »


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