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Re: [xmca] Re: Human Sciences Scholar life?
- To: Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Human Sciences Scholar life?
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2011 07:41:44 -0700
- Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Very useful additions, Peter. Thanks. The very deep strains of
fundamentalism abroad in the world make this question and your advice about
awareness of political context entirely appropriate. I am suggesting that
the difficulties are illustrated by a number of the Russian scholars,
marxist or not, that we often draw upon. Not a cheerful comparison, i know.
On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 3:43 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> One way to think strategically is to be aware of the political context of
> scholarship. There's a story in the Atlanta paper today
> http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/040411/opi_809950525.shtml that
> reports on a possibility that lawmakers will have a say in tuition hikes.
> Seemingly benign, but it could give them leverage to affect things they
> don't like, from Marxist faculty (a scholar was recently forced to step down
> from his new appointment as provost of Kennesaw State U because he'd
> referenced Marx in a 1990s paper, and thus was feared to be against
> to faculty addressing GLBTQ issues (see
> http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021209/gen_387018773.shtml) to
> whatever else they don't like.
> The problem then becomes, how do we pursue academic freedom in a setting
> that tries to impose a conservative ideology on the institution? I don't
> have an answer, but it's a question worth considering in undertaking this
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
> Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 9:02 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Cc: elizabeth anne daigle
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Human Sciences Scholar life?
> I would like to take this conversation back to Wagner's earlier request for
> information about how we, at LCHC, are trying to organize our work so that
> graduate students can deal strategically with the rapidly changing
> ideological, political, and economic times.
> Please note that our discussion is oriented toward the young members of
> including the many undergraduates who we work with in practicum courses
> where we can get to know them well enough to be intelligent interlocutors.
> The issues are necessarily different for people at different stages of
> careers, never mind in different national settings.
> LCHC is at UCSD, a research university with a long tradition of high levels
> of government and industrial financial support. The social sciences and
> humanities in general are seen as a special "problem" because they do not
> bring in big bucks, relatively speaking (some parts of our Social Science
> division, which includes psychology, economics, and cognitive science do
> bring in substantial outside research monies).
> Within UCSD, LCHC is one of those odd, hybrid organizations that focuses
> both on community-based research and undergradute education, two largely
> neglected concerns, academically speaking. We make our way by virtue of
> accomplishments and the fact that the University is in desperate need of
> help in dealing with issues of class and ethnic diversity, which we also
> So if you are a graduate student associated with the laboratory, I give the
> following advice: Prepare yourself for at least three identities associated
> with three domains (perhaps the term, markets, would not be inappropriate)
> where you can be paid to do something that you would not mind doing and
> allow you some way to retain the resources (time) for academic inquiry.
> Which three selves the students pick depends upon their special funds of
> knowledge and personal goals. Knowledge of a foreign language, knowledge of
> contemporary computer programming at a graduate student level, knowledge of
> film making, etc.
> Each of these selves emerges pari parsu with the long term goals that each
> student formulates.
> We are systematically seeking partnerships which can serve both as sources
> of support and potential future career goals of the students. As is
> we network.
> Beyond this point, its all pretty local in making the appropriate
> experiences available.
> A word about the present situation. This is not the first time in my
> lifetime that academia and the national economy and world peace have face
> very difficult times.
> Bad news can aggregate, like storm clouds, that may or may not blow away.
> Hard to tell.
> I find it amazing, in this connection to consider the life work of my
> of scholars in Russia, never mind the conditions under which their parents
> lived and died. Think about an 80 year old Russian academic who attended
> Moscow University when Stalin was in power and published his first article
> the year that Khruchev denounced Stalin.
> In both cases, what has never ceased to amaze me is the generativity of
> their theoretical commitments and methodological power under
> difficult circumstances. They found ways, wherever they could find work, to
> continue a humanistic tradition of practice-based thought no matter how
> unwelcoming the soil for the seeds they wish to propagate.
> ISCAR, along with XMCA, seems like an organization that is quite
> to confronting seriously the difficult circumstances our students face.
> There is a meeting of ISCAR coming up in September and, well, here we are
> Do other more senior people on the list have different/better advice to
> profer? As I said, so much depends upon the local, generalization tends to
> be useless for those under the gun.
> On Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 5:10 PM, elizabeth anne daigle <
> email@example.com> wrote:
> > How does the ennui of academia compare to the experiences of public
> > teachers?
> > ...
> > This NYTimes debate comes from the recent report that suggests the US
> > do
> > well to improve the status of the profession of teaching.
> > the report:
> > the online debate at nytimes:
> > Potentially, this is an arena for these discussions of the roles of
> > schools/schooling, the value of "value added models" of quantifying
> > efficacy, the differences(and intrinsic relations) between
> > thinking/knowing/understanding/asking... In so many ways, it seems like
> > this
> > should be the time in the US for these thoughtful conversations.
> > .....the readers' comments are like roadkill--- fascinating and
> > There's something cultural about valuing learning as distinct from having
> > knowledge.
> > Is it that the commodification of knowledge makes teaching merely a
> > vehicle, and
> > thus not worthy of respect?
> > And its economic inefficiency is an affront to this model of what is
> > important,
> > making it somehow threatening in its continued centrality in
> > I was thrilled to see this report come out and naively thought, "Yeah-
> > The
> > Man will finally see!!!"
> > ...as my mother says, "It must be hard to see with his head where it is."
> > 1. Re: Human Sciences Scholar life? (Jenna McWilliams)
> > 2. Re: lsv "sketching the future" -- From tool and sign?
> > (Larry Purss)
> > 3. Re: Culture of Poverty, not reduxed enough (ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org)
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2011 18:25:27 -0400
> > From: Jenna McWilliams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] Human Sciences Scholar life?
> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
> > Message-ID: <3D8476E0-DC34-49AC-AEF3-67DC69DB6DD5@gmail.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed; delsp=yes
> > Google "Tihomir Petrov AND urinate" and you'll fetch 8,500 results,
> > which is more than 100 times the number of Google Scholar results
> > attached to Petrov (73). And Peter, I do think Petrov may have had a
> > broader (alleged) impact on his students and his field through his
> > (alleged) actions than through his scholarly publications.
> > Recently, a disaffected fellow graduate student told me she wished
> > someone had informed her of the high attrition rate for Ph.D. students
> > before she decided to pursue graduate study. My response: Someone
> > probably did tell her. Someone certainly told me--many people told me--
> > about the long, grim path of academia. We don't listen because of one
> > very human characteristic: We think we're special. We think: it must
> > be so sad for those students who do drop out before finishing their
> > dissertations, for those academics who can't find jobs, for those
> > scholars who can't figure out how to balance their priorities.
> > Hey, at least I'm having a really good time in my toils toward
> > obscurity. To borrow a line, I get to visit exotic locales (like
> > Scottsdale and Indianapolis!), meet interesting people (like Mike Cole
> > and Jay Lemke!) and...well, never mind the rest.
> > ~~
> > Jenna McWilliams
> > Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
> > ~
> > http://www.jennamcwilliams.com
> > http://twitter.com/jennamcjenna
> > ~
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
> > email@example.com
> > On Mar 27, 2011, at 12:00 PM, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> > > Here's one way to make an impact:
> > >
> > > * The Feral Professor: Tihomir Petrov, 43, a mathematics professor
> > > at California State University Northridge, was charged in January
> > > with misdemeanors for allegedly urinating twice on the office door
> > > of a colleague with whom he had been feuding. (Petrov was
> > > identified by a hidden camera installed after the original puddles
> > > turned up.) Petrov is the author of several scholarly papers, with
> > > titles such as "Rationality of Moduli of Elliptic Fibrations With
> > > Fixed Monodromy." [Los Angeles Daily News-AP, 1-27-2011]
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:xmca-
> > > email@example.com] On Behalf Of Wagner Schmit
> > > Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011 5:32 PM
> > > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > > Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: Re: [xmca] Human Sciences Scholar life?
> > >
> > > Another video, this time "Simpsons" view of Grad Students
> > >
> > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XViCOAu6UC0&NR=1
> > >
> > > <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XViCOAu6UC0&NR=1>Wagner
> > >
> > > On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 6:29 PM, Wagner Schmit <email@example.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >>
> > >> I'm a freshman in academic life... pursuing a PhD and already
> > >> working as
> > >> temporary teacher at University and College. The only thing that
> > >> makes me
> > >> still pursue an academic life is that i try to make my students
> > >> think about
> > >> the impact of their work in other peoples lifes, and that, i hope, my
> > >> research will bring something that may help people in their school
> > >> life...
> > >>
> > >> But it is hard, no time to read, no time to write (the coordinator
> > >> of our
> > >> research group always says "you need to publish"), all "free" time
> > >> i have is
> > >> dedicated to prepare classes and supervision of trainees. No
> > >> weekend,
> > >> no holiday, no vacation and a very low payment (my students in the
> > >> private
> > >> college i work have a better income than me).
> > >>
> > >> But what worries me most: who really reads what we publish? I see
> > >> ideas in
> > >> the educational field pointed as "innovation", but they were already
> > >> presented by people like Dewey and Vygotsky decades ago... One of my
> > >> students, after a meeting with pedagogues of a high school, pointed
> > >> out that
> > >> "all we listen and see is just common sense, where are the
> > >> application of
> > >> all those researches you pointed? where are the educational
> > >> theories?"
> > >>
> > >> I point out that one of the works of Psychologists in School (since
> > >> i give
> > >> classes to future psychologists) is to rethink school along side
> > >> with the
> > >> school community (teachers, administration, parents, students)...
> > >> This helps
> > >> articulate science and real life, but only in a punctual way (in
> > >> the daily
> > >> life in school)...
> > >>
> > >> What about academic life? what can we do to change it? Or, should
> > >> it be
> > >> changed? Where are the academic debates, innovation and
> > >> contribution to
> > >> society?
> > >>
> > >> Those things make me sleepless sometimes
> > >>
> > >> Wagner Luiz Schmit
> > >> Londrina State University - Brazil
> > >>
> > >> On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 5:45 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > >> wrote:
> > >>
> > >>> I think all of us recognize this scene, Wagner.
> > >>>
> > >>> At LCHC we are discussing these issues. "We" includes grad students,
> > >>> post-docs,
> > >>> old people like me. We are lucky that the interpersonal alienation
> > >>> at LCHC
> > >>> is lower than that depicted (although it is in abundant profusion
> > >>> among
> > >>> those around us). But difficulties for grad students contemplating
> > >>> making a
> > >>> living in academia are pretty grim, especially outside of the
> > >>> presumably
> > >>> "non-ideological" areas of science and technology (where a
> > >>> different set of
> > >>> alienating circumstances are plentiful).
> > >>>
> > >>> We have no great revelations but we are grateful that we have
> > >>> adopted an
> > >>> intellectual stance that makes the study of human life in cultural
> > >>> practices
> > >>> our grounding. we are trying to work that into an implementable
> > >>> strategy for
> > >>> surviving graduate school and gaining acceptable employment.
> > >>>
> > >>> What are others doing? What more might we be doing collectively?
> > >>> mike
> > >>>http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> > End of xmca Digest, Vol 70, Issue 28
> > ************************************
> > ________________________________
> > From: "
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