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Socialism for the Rich


Submitted by Jim Aune on November 24, 2009 - 1:28pm


"U.C. Berkeley offers more courses taught by more Nobel laureates than Yale. Yet Yale charges $28,400 per year in tuition and fees, while Berkeley charges $5,858." I am fond of telling my conservative students that if they are really against socialism they have a duty to quit A&M and enroll at, say, Baylor. As I observe the student protests in California, I think it's time for the sort of analysis economists do well: public higher education is a HUGE upper-middle-class subsidy, and there is nothing inherently wrong with tuition hikes so long as they are accompanied by higher financial aid.

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Habits II

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Submitted by Jim Aune on November 21, 2009 - 10:43am


Here's my next question. WHEN do you write? A lot of people recommend when first getting up in the morning, but I've found, with every major project from my dissertation onwards, that I do best when I write from about 1-4 p.m. during the week (not on weekends). And I always stop writing when I have more to say, so I can pick up the thread easily the next day. I never impose page quotas, though, just the 3-hour time limit. I've always reserved evenings for reading, usually from about 8-midnight.

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Non-Communication Association

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Submitted by Jim Aune on November 16, 2009 - 7:10pm


Once again, our public relations bites. . . .

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Roads Not Taken

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Submitted by Jim Aune on November 7, 2009 - 1:16pm


I've been reading Bernard Williams's remarkable book Shame and Necessity, a study of agency and responsibility in Greek tragedy and how these concepts relate to our own. (Williams's style is a model of lucidity, the English philosophical style at its very best.) One topic in the book (pp. 44-46) is the notion of akrasia, unhappily translated as either "weakness of will" or "incontinence" (!), about which there is a vast scholarly literature.

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Automate Your Theorizing!

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Submitted by Jim Aune on November 3, 2009 - 12:06pm


Oh, dear. I got: "The epistemology of post-capitalist hegemony opens a space for the discourse of linguistic transparency." Some recent articles I've reviewed for QJS seem to have been written using this machine.

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How to Teach Graduate Classes

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Submitted by Jim Aune on November 3, 2009 - 11:34am


I realized the other day that I now feel perfectly comfortable and confident whenever I teach an undergraduate class. Yet I still feel vaguely incompetent every time I teach a graduate class. The norm for graduate classes where I went 30 years ago was usually that students did a lot of reports and professors never lectured. One professor actually grilled students on the assigned readings--this really worked, but I never found that this technique worked for me, inveterate people-pleaser that I am.

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Affirmative Action for Men?


Submitted by Jim Aune on November 3, 2009 - 11:05am


I'm sure you have noticed this in your undergraduate classes--women students on average get better grades, are more conscientious, and write better than men. The Worst Place in the World, where I taught from 1986-1994, already had problems with male applicants in the early '90's, and it turns out that now many colleges use a form of quiet affirmative action for men (now openly called discrimination against women). The federal government is now investigating. I don't know.

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Metaphors for Scholarship


Submitted by Jim Aune on November 1, 2009 - 7:38pm


It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
--Elizabeth Bishop, concluding lines of "At the Fish-houses"

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Free Speech at Butler University

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Submitted by Jim Aune on October 29, 2009 - 5:52pm


Here's the story of an unpleasant bit of administrative silencing of speech at Butler University (the Provost is a Communication person, btw). Another version of the story, from Huffington Post. And here's the blogger's story, in his own words. And, please sign this petition, if you're so inclined. (h/t to Jeff Brand)

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