Blogs > Cliopatria > More Noted ...

Apr 26, 2004 7:51 pm

More Noted ...

Scott Smallwood's article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Disappearing Act", about Invisible Adjunct, her fine blog, its end, and her departure from higher education can be read on-line. Do not miss the excerpts from her blog at the end of Smallwood's piece.
Update: Ophelia Benson's Butterflies and Wheels, Scott McLemee, and Eugene Volokh have links to Smallwood's article about Invisible Adjunct.

Over at No Loss for Words, Danny Loss finds two words that may not be in the historian's vocabulary: inevitable and timeless.

I am disappointed by academics who sign their names to op-eds ghost-written for them. I do not share their sense of outrage when those same op-eds appear elsewhere with other academics' names signed to them. I take some comfort, frankly, when said academics feel betrayed when they find that the ghost-writer is also a plagiarist (scroll down to 09-04-03). I am disappointed when academic colleagues and administrators wink and shrug it off as inconsequential. Robert Tagorda at Priorities & Frivolities and Kevin Drum at Political Animal have more thoughts on the matter. Writers for History News Service, like Jonathan Dresner and I, can tell you that we don't do astro-turf op-eds. By the time we have jumped through the rewrite hoops for Joyce Appleby and Jim Banner, the work is certainly freshly our own. Then, there was the time when a term paper service tried to offer HNS op-eds for sale to our students. Appropriate steps have been taken to see that it doesn't happen again.
Update: Erin O'Connor's Critical Mass and Juan Non-Volokh have more on this issue.

There was a considerable dust-up in the blogosphere's Left lobe over the weekend about its attitude toward religious believers. It began with Atrios and was picked up by Allen Brill's The Village Gate and Kevin Drum's Political Animal (with lots of links). It's obviously a difficult issue, but somewhere between the obligation of progressive believers to call the religious right's corruption and the secular left's obligation not to alienate religious citizens deliberately, there has to be a way for the religious and secular left to articulate and support a common vision.

I cannot explain why Cliopatria ranks #3 in a googlesearch for fink's+fall+show+pigs+2004.

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Richard Henry Morgan - 4/26/2004

Well, I am thinking of making an exception for Noam Chomsky, since nobody I know actually thinks that the Cambodian genocide was a capitalist media invention. Nor do they believe that the Vietnamese managed to kill 700,000 Cambodians in 11 months, as Michael Vickery claims to believe -- not that Chomsky would actually commit himself to this belief, rather than citing it and claiming for Vickery the title of "serious scholar", while refusing to address the contrary evidence (but that's his technique isn't it?). No, nobody actually believes that generative grammar gives Chomsky a special insight into genocides, both real and imagined. I'll make exceptions for those on the left and right who hold forth on subjects not even remotely related to their expertise -- most people don't need protection from these clowns.

Ralph E. Luker - 4/26/2004

That may be a reason why these academics slipped into this form, but they didn't see the necessity of their co-author/ghost-writer signing off on the piece with them. As I said over at Critical Mass, this phenomenon strikes me as falling under the "writing for hire" rhuberic that _is_ known in the humanities and social sciences, except that the logic is backwards here. An academic is presented with a finished piece of work and invited to buy this writing for hire. Strikes me as a piece of fraud.

Michael C Tinkler - 4/26/2004

Note that both of these people are from a part of academe in which co-authorship and actual shared writing are not considered essentially linked.

Hugo Schwyzer - 4/26/2004

Thanks for turning me on to this... good and important discussion.

Hugo Schwyzer - 4/26/2004

Thanks for turning me on to this... good and important discussion.

Ralph E. Luker - 4/26/2004

Richard, I suppose your gripe applies to academics of whatever ideological stripe: Niall Ferguson and Howard Zinn. Right?

Richard Henry Morgan - 4/26/2004

There are a few rather simple lessons from all this: if you didn't write it, don't sign it; and if you sign it, you own it, warts and all. Of course this all works into my pet peeve -- academics who lend their credibility to public writings that are not counted in their portfolio for hiring, retention, and promotion. Since I've beaten that dead horse into an unrecognizable mass of goo, I'll beg off beating it further.

Jonathan Dresner - 4/26/2004

I wonder what grade I would have gotten?

Though, having jumped through the HNS hoops, I find my writing more distinctively my own when they haven't hooped it to death. Seems like their editorial hand has been lighter lately, but I'm not inclined to try again anytime soon.