How do we count and value public scholarship in anthropology? — Do we count and value public scholarship in anthropology? — And, how do we do it at the time of tenure and promotion?
Some departments of anthropology do value and count public scholarship, and have for a long time. Some have built metrics or possibilities into their evaluation systems for considering public scholarship as a part of one’s intellectual work. Others haven’t. Some universities have made strong statements about the value of public scholarship. Indiana University is a one good example; see their Faculty Learning Community’s work on this, including system-wide guidelines on how to count such scholarship. But most universities do not have formal guidelines or even mandates for public scholarship.
Public scholarship is a key part of anthropology. In some ways, it has been part of our practice for a very long time. In other ways, it feels newly important in today’s political climate. Regardless of the genealogies we might chart for the anthropological commitment to having our scholarship be public, it has sometimes been considered something extra to what we do, or something that falls outside what we count as “real” contributions to the field. Given the move of some departments and some universities, as well as some other disciplines to find ways to acknowledge the value of public scholarship, AAA President Alisse Waterston decided it was time for anthropology to act. Continue reading
Slow down, you move to fast
You got to make the morning last
(Paul Simon, Feelin’ groovy/The 59th St Bridge Song)
I grew up with vinyl. My family was an aspirational almost hippy immigrant family. The 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was a ‘go-to’ album, as was the (also) 1966 album Revolver. Seemingly child friendly, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beetles infused our household with songs in which we were encouraged to slow down, talk to lamp posts, and live communally in yellow submarines.
Late capitalism has done everything it can to eradicate that possibility from my life.
I heard these songs in the deep recesses of my mind as I was preparing my tenure file earlier this year. My entire being entered into a space of stillness, staring resolutely into the belly of the beast in order to maintain some semblance of resistance to the deep anxiety that is structurally integral to the evaluation process of tenure. I took longer walks, barely responded to emails, slowly stopped talking to others and preferred to count my breath. With every formatting issue or question related to the subjective criteria of excellence, I slowed down even more, questioning in each moment why academic labor had entered into these frameworks of exploitation. The first person I saw upon submission of my file was a colleague of mine who is brilliant, and an adjunct who teaches at three colleges just to make ends meet. My self-indulgent slowness entered into a space of silence.
The short answer is: I was tired.