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Roads Not Taken

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.


Automate Your Theorizing!

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.


How to Teach Graduate Classes

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.


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.


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"


Free Speech at Butler University

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)


Teaching Philosophies

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 29, 2009 - 2:00pm

The most useful website I've seen on what departments are looking for in an applicant's teaching philosophy. Teresa Mangum at IHE summarizes:


The University in Crisis, continued

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 28, 2009 - 1:25pm

Good articles from the recent American Prospect here and here.


Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and Academe

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 27, 2009 - 2:07pm

A set of good arguments that there is no fiscal crisis in higher education, by Howard Bunsis, an accounting professor and treasurer of the AAUP. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the states are using the recession as a pretext for imposing a version of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine on universities.


Introducing Graduate Study in History

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 20, 2009 - 5:33pm

From Edge of the American West, assigned readings for an introductory graduate course on philosophy and methods of history. Many of these readings overlap with historiographical concerns in rhetorical studies as well. (And, no, people aren't ever going to get over the Sokal hoax, no matter how much people in cultural studies try to explain it away.) What would you add, to make this more applicable to rhetorical studies?