A while back Rex wrote a comment on one of his posts that got me thinking. About academia. About publishing. And about the current system that many of us are a part of. Speaking about what he called the “awareness habitus of the general professorate,” he wrote:
…a lot of time when tenure committees speak half-heartedly of ‘publishing in major journals’ or citation statistics what they really mean is that they want junior faculty’s names to appear on the things that they read — to see them (although probably not read them!) ‘around’ in ‘important places’.
John Hawks followed with a great one liner posted just below, indicating that Rex had indeed hit the mark. He’s onto something. It’s the part about appearing in “important places” that really got my attention. If getting tenure is all about being in these important places, here’s my question: Who defines what is and what is not an important place? And, if this is one of the primary functions of our current publishing (and tenure) model, what does this say about the current state of affairs?
Just a few questions for today. What I appreciate about Rex is that his posts and comments always keep me thinking–and asking questions. Maybe too many questions sometimes. As a graduate student who is still somewhat on the outside of things looking in, however, these kinds of questions matter.