Comments on: DePaul University: safe for white male scholars only? http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:08:09 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Tenure news (re: DePaul University) | Canada-Supporting Women in Geography http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-840667 Tue, 21 Jun 2011 19:18:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-840667 [...] Historiann provides a brief update on the tenure debacle at DePaul University in Chicago.  If you haven’t been keeping up with [...]

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By: Historiann tells all! (And too much is sometimes plenty.) : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-777005 Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:38:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-777005 [...] of all, readers will find an answer to this question at least if they click on over to Common-place to read my contribution to this month’s [...]

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By: Peter N Kirstein http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-772141 Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:43:59 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-772141 I am glad you have been covering this case. The academy is merely an ideal without a sense of shared destiny and responsibility. The situation at DePaul is deteriorating and the more who engage this issue the better. Unfortunately, it is not only women and people of colour who are sacrificed. Remember Norman Finkelstein too. You probably don’t know but I chaired the committee (ILLAAUP) whose report you linked to my blog.

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By: Western Dave http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767915 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 16:11:14 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767915 I first became aware of the issue of “fit” in the KC Johnson CUNY case which turned into a rallying point for conservatives (which never made a whole lot of sense except that KC was a white male and his major antagonist wasn’t). I’m having a moment of “but what about the women in Afghanistan” on this one. Hey all you folks you yelled about how fit was code for political discrimination, you’re really upset about this and will be calling talk radio to express your outrage, right? Right!? (waits for outrage, gets chirping crickets). Sigh.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767860 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:44:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767860 Perpetua–that’s truly shocking. One might ask what the point is of a third-year review if the tenure candidate is never allowed to see it! I just can’t imagine that this is in your department or college code. You should check on that. I agree with you that this is very concerning in terms of gatekeeping and discrimination.

Lance, you can still read TR’s book, although it will appear in the slightly less convenient form of separately published articles! (I’m just glad she’s not ditching the work entirely. And, we can all think of cases in which a scholar has published a really big article, and that article’s importance overshadows the book that scholar publishes out of the same project.

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767832 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:11:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767832 As I may have mentioned here before, my uni/department is muttering about “raising tenure standards,” a prospect that fills me with dread. If the process were more transparent (or had any transparency) and my dept more functional, I might be able to get on board, even as an untenured person. But the way it stands, it seems to me that “higher tenure standards” is another word for “fit” which is code for discrimination, if not in intent than in effect. (I was not, for example, permitted to see my third year review report. My own report! It should be illegal to keep people’s personnel files from them. Especially untenured faculty should have the right to know what is said and who is saying it.) It’s amazing how many ways there are to keep out women, people of color, and queer folks, and the fact that it’s usually coded means that many can protest that they made their decisions in good faith – I’m thinking especially of the examples Lance provided, or other people’s determination of a “good enough” publisher/ project. (The language of “fit” is also the most commonly cited reason for a department rejecting a partner accommodation as well.)

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By: Lance http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767779 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 11:33:56 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767779 This is heartbreaking – and I say this as someone who, like many here, has watched women, faculty of color, and GLBTQ folks get creamed in the T & P review process, even if all of their colleagues are supportive, simply because of the assumption that they do more service. Not the assumption of their departments, mind you, but the assumption of the entire university community. Get hired here as a black professor and you will be asked to speak at a dozen events in February, around Juneteenth, etc., for the historically black fraternities, the AME church, local civil groups, etc. Within the walls, you’ll be asked to sit on a dozen College and campus level committees as a representative of diversity, and you’ll say yes, because these are powerful committees, and you care about them.Then, come tenure time, everyone wonders why the book is “merely” under contract, or why their might be just a few peer reviewed essays. And there’ll be murmurings about your scholarship, your activist leanings, etc.

Blech. Not so different from DePaul – a better result here, perhaps, but it’ll leave a nasty taste in your mouth.

But a deeper (and no less real) real tragedy here is the bibliocide committed by TR, and the potential for the same by Prof. Goswami. No good book should be chucked just because it gets smeared. What of the good books and essays and talks and lectures that might come from it? Awfulness. I can only imagine how seriously bad it must be at Zenith.

On a very bad news day – with UCSC closing its American Studies major, Texas losing Jose Limon because of early retirement plans that are gutting the Humanities, and Rutgers on the verge of eating UMDNJ to satisfy Christie – the loss of TR’s book was the lowest, most hurtful blow. I wanted to read that book. We needed that book. When the ashes are cold, I will remember the loss of that book as an example of what happens to the very best and boldest.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767530 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 02:47:55 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767530 Our tenure process is kind of nuts, but we write a “case analysis” which has to cite only evidence in the file. That makes it almost impossible to reference collegiality or fit. What is the evidence on scholarship? What is the evidence on teaching? Obviously, you are interpreting, but stil, it’s evidence grounded. The personal comments only come in when we have the meeting, and we record people’s comments.

As someone who has survived tenure denial, I wouldn’t assume that Prof. Goswami will, like TR, commit bibliocide. But I’ll bet she’ll have a few rough years as she regains her self-confidence.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767526 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 02:43:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767526 Good point. That’s still a sign of problems in the department rather than the fault of the candidate, though. (I realize you weren’t suggesting that it was the candidate’s fault!)

In my case, the Dean had given my former department money for a line in American women’s history, but because the department never bought into the notion that they *needed* someone in that line, I was the fifth person hired for the job in 13 years. I wonder if that’s what might have happened in some of the cases above at DePaul–the individual who had the power to create the position and make the hire was not the person or persons who were voting on tenure.

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By: Comrade PhysioProf http://www.historiann.com/2011/01/04/depaul-university-safe-for-white-male-scholars-only/comment-page-1/#comment-767517 Wed, 05 Jan 2011 02:36:27 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=13756#comment-767517

I agree with what I hear both of you saying–”fit” is a question to be answered at the job interview stage, not the fifth year review.

I also agree with this. However, my experience is that there are consistent scenarios in which this kind of pathology occurs. In most cases they involve shifts in power structure within a department between hiring and tenure, such as where a faction (or single powerful individual like a chair) that was strong enough to get the person hired later loses power through attrition or other means and becomes unable to secure tenure.

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