Monday, August 13, 2007

Group Profile: Below-the-Radar Members

[The latest installation of a Monday series profiling Group of 88 members, which has included posts on miriam cooke, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Wahneema Lubiano, Pete Sigal, Grant Farred, Sally Deutsch, Joseph Harris, Paula McClain, Jocelyn Olcott, Irene Silverblatt, Maurice Wallace, and Kathy Rudy. The posts examine the scholarship and teaching of Group members, delving into the mindset of professors who last spring abandoned both the tenets of Duke’s Faculty Handbook and the academy’s traditional fidelity to due process. An item to keep in mind: in higher education, professors control the hiring process. The people profiled in this series will craft future job descriptions for Duke professors; and then, for positions assigned to their departments, select new hires.]

In one recent comment, a Group of 88 member/sympathizer suggested that the Group profile series had created an inaccurate perception of the Group, since the series had focused on “marginal academics rather than folks who have had long careers with stellar pedigrees.”

Beyond the sympathizer’s remarkable suggestion that Duke has a habit of tenuring “marginal academics,” the comment was untrue. Since the series has focused on tenured professors, it almost by design excluded Group members who haven’t published a book. In the humanities and social sciences at any elite university, it is rare to receive tenure without publishing a scholarly monograph. Wahneema Lubiano—she of the “perpetually forthcoming” monographs—is an exception in this regard.

Remarkably, no fewer than 20 members of the Group of 88 had not published a scholarly monograph (or its equivalent, in the case of the three Math and Physics signatories) at the time they signed the statement on April 6, 2006.

This total was clustered in two programs:

The University Writing Program—which is staffed mostly by postgraduates—had five of the non-monograph publishers (Benjamin Albers, Christina Beaule, Matt Brim, Marcia Rego). Since all five of these instructors were post-graduates, it would not be expected that they would have produced a book.

The African-American Studies Program—which is staffed exclusively by tenured or tenure-track-professors—had four of the non-monograph publishers (Anne-Maria Makhulu, Thavolia Glymph, Wahneema Lubiano, Bayo Holsey). Indeed, of professors listed as “full” or “joint” in the revised AAAS website, a full 50 percent have, of this date, published no monographs. Two more (Michaelene Chichlow and Charles Piot) have published only one monograph, and the most widely published of the eight (Charles Payne) has left Duke. And yet, with that record, Duke elevated the program to a full department?

Eleven other members of the Group (Jessica Boardman, Connie Blackmore, Silvia Boero, Mary Hovsepian, Ashley King, Caroline Light, Marcy Litle, Kenneth Maffitt, Lisa Mason, Wilma Pebles-Wilkins, Antonio Viego) had not published monographs at the time they signed the statement.

Most of the non-monograph publishers, however, do teach. Since this category formed nearly a quarter of the Group signatories, it seemed reasonable to devote one of the profile series posts to looking at a few of the above figures.

Take, for instance, Caroline Light, who describes her research interests as “feminist history, race and sexuality in the South, Southern Jewish history, [and] queer theory.” Light, who has a Ph.D. in History and Womens Studies from the University of Kentucky, where she completed a dissertation entitled “Uplifting the Unfortunate of Our Race: Southern Jewish Benevolence and the Struggle towards Whiteness.” She is the coordinator for the Institute for Critical U.S. Studies—whose official homepage is devoted to the culminating event of the Group of 88 Rehab Tour, Wahneema Lubiano’s remarks at the “Shut Up and Teach” forum.

The institute’s director is Mark Anthony “thugniggaintellectual” Neal; eight of its nine-member advisory board signed either the Group or clarifying statements, or both. Its mission statement: “We seek an expanded understanding of what constitutes an ‘American,’ as we acknowledge that America cannot be adequately conceptualized from within the national borders of the U.S. but rather must be studied in relation to those ‘others’ who have both contended with the power of the United States and helped constitute its historical and affective reality.” In other words: have the answer first, conduct the research second.

The institute sponsored a spring 2007 course, “Introduction to Critical U.S. Studies,” which was co-taught by Group members Wahneema Lubiano and Jocelyn Olcott. Forty seats were allotted to the course. Seven students enrolled.

Light herself teaches a course called Sex & the Global Citizen[ + ] Expand to see course description ,” which explores such questions as, “What differentiates a citizen from an “exile” and how is s/he constituted through dominant understandings of sexuality?”; “How is sexual shame generated on a mass scale, and how does it assert control over people’s lives and choices?”; and “How, for example, do we come to know what we know about sex, gender, race, and citizenship?” She also serves as the faculty sponsor for the House course, “Dating and Mating: Hookup Culture at Duke,” which last year was taught by Shadee Malaklou.

A few weeks before she signed the Group of 88 statement, Light demonstrated her tolerance of opposing viewpoints when she heckled—and praised students who joined her in heckling—conservative speaker David Horowitz when Horowitz spoke at Duke. That action appeared to violate the Faculty Handbook (is the Handbook ever enforced?), which states, “It is the policy of the university to protect the right of voluntary assembly, to make its facilities available for peaceful assembly, to welcome guest speakers, and to protect the exercise of these rights from disruption or interference . . . The substitution of noise for speech and force for reason is a rejection and not an application of academic freedom. A determination to discourage conduct that is disruptive and disorderly does not threaten academic freedom; it is, rather, a necessary condition of its very existence.”

---------

Group member Antonio Viego has taught such courses as “Special Topics in Gender and Sexuality”; “Special Topics in United States Latina/o Literatures and Cultural Studies”; and “Topics in Psychoanalytic Criticism.” Regarding his approach in the classroom, Viego has written that “as a professor who teaches Latino/a Studies and Sexuality Studies in a literature program, I am constantly forced to rethink my role as an educator who is at times in collaboration with or in tension with the demands of contemporary globalization. The knowledge I produce in my classes is often in the service of the financialization of the globe.” His openly political goal? “An ongoing critical examination of the ways in which our intellectual labor reproduces the logic of the capitalist marketplace, at the same time that it might allow for the cultivation of pedagogical strategies that ‘attempt to interrupt such collusion.’”

Viego’s most prestigious publication to date—“The Place of Gay Male Chicano Literature in Queer Chicana/o Cultural Work”—was a peer-reviewed journal article that appeared in Discourse. The article opened with a discussion of Mexican artist Nahum Zenil’s work: for Viego, “the image of Zenil’s queer, naked body positioned in front of a Mexican flag as target provided a powerful, instant visual analogue for what I was trying to think through and write about with regards to the place of gay male Chicano work in Chicana/o Studies, specifically, the ways in which the gay male Chicano body has become a target of sorts in the different discussions attempting to locate his place in relation to Chicana lesbian literary and cultural work.”

The remainder of the essay consisted of a plea for devoting more attention to gay male Chicano literature—for reasons that, to Viego, appeared to be self-evident. The issue, he contended, raised “a cluster of pertinent questions posed to the academy, questions which attempt to explore the conditions under which a lesbian Chicana, Latina subjectivity has emerged in dominant critical academic discourse and the conditions under which a gay male Chicano, Latino subjectivity has failed to enter academic discourse.” Viego’s essay never really got around to answering these questions, or even to framing the questions clearly.

Unlike—to date—Lubiano’s “forthcoming” books, Viego at least produced the book he listed as forthcoming on his CV. Entitled Ruining Ethnicity and Race: Latino/a Studies, Psychoanalysis and Ego Psychology, it “argues that the repeated themes of wholeness, completeness, and transparency with respect to ethnic and racialized subjectivity are fundamentally problematic as these themes ultimately lend themselves to the project of managing and controlling ethnic and racialized subjects by positing them as fully knowable, calculable sums: as dead subjects. He asserts that the refusal of critical race and ethnic studies scholars to read ethnic and racialized subjects in a Lacanian framework—as divided subjects, split in language—contributes to a racist discourse. Focusing on theoretical, historical, and literary work in Latino studies, he mines the implicit connection between Latino studies’ theory of the ‘border subject’ and Lacan’s theory of the ‘barred subject’ in language to argue that Latino studies is poised to craft a critical multiculturalist, anti-racist Lacanian account of subjectivity while adding historical texture and specificity to Lacanian theory.”

In many ways, Viego’s decision to join the Group of 88 was among the most disappointing. Unlike many Group members, he has a reputation as a professor who cares about Duke students and their interests. He isn’t, therefore, someone that would have been expected to advance his personal, pedagogical, or ideological agenda on the backs of his students, as he did by signing the statement.

Although Viego is a virtually ideal candidate for the Group of 88’s race/class/gender agenda, many people might consider a research interest in gay male Chicano literature to be rather narrow. It’s the nature of a quality liberal arts education to expose students to research interests that might be considered fringe. That said, all universities—even a wealthy one like Duke—have limited resources. It would be interesting to know which fields were allowed to lapse with retirements, or funding for which fields the administration turned down, so that Duke could bring aboard a specialist in gay male Chicano literature. That information, alas, isn’t public—at Duke, or (to my knowledge) at any other institution.

---------

Sociology professor Mary Hovsepian, spouse of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, is one of two husband-wife teams among the Group (Rom Coles and Kim Curtis are the other). Like Curtis, Hovsepian appears to be a permanent visiting professor—essentially, a spousal hire. (The Group fights the patriarchy—but spousal hires seem to be one benefit of a patriarchal system to which Group members do not object.) Hovsepian has an undergraduate degree from Birzeit University. She received her Ph.D. 22 years later from the University of Wisconsin, with a dissertation entitled “The Politics of Garment Production: Nation, Work, and Gender across the Palestinian/Israeli Border.”

Hovsepian regularly teaches two classes. One focuses on the sociology of the Middle East; the other explores “the changing configuration of global capitalism, with emphasis on comparing global regions of North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The internal dynamics of these regions, including the development strategies of selected nations, interregional comparisons (for example, regional divisions of labor, state-society relationships, the nature of their business systems, quality of life issues).”

Hovsepian’s publications are almost non-existent. According to her CV, she has produced only one four-page article (“‘This is a White Country’: The Racial Ideology of the Western Nations of the World-System”), which was co-authored with Bonilla-Silva. She does have several encyclopedia entries under contract, and her CV lists a “manuscript,” though with no indication that it is completed or under contract with any press.

Her area of specialization is the Middle East; her general perspective, unsurprisingly, is critical of Israel.

158 comments:

inman said...

Well.

As a child, I was taught that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

It is all too easy to say nothing at all.

Gary Packwood said...

From the Shut Up and Teach February 12, 2007 meeting (written by Wahneema Lubiano)

...we enter this discussion not to complain about hurt feelings (ours or others') but to talk back against demands that we shut up and teach, or that we shut up and stop teaching, or that we should shut up because we're too stupid to teach, or that AAAS has nothing to teach so it simply should be shut down, or that we should all just shut up completely.
::
Well, she got this one right! That is essentially what has been suggested by thousands of people.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

maybe the G88 should have their own reading room in the library at Duke so that their views might be anthologized as it were. otherwise we would have no understanding of how they achieved these views or if their positions are not revealed truths.

Anonymous said...

What's amazing to me is that these people actually think that they are intelligent people. One would think that they would just keep their yaps shut and collect their six-figure salaries. But no, they actually feel like they are intellectual heavyweights to be taken seriously. It's laughable. Wahneema Lubiano can barely put together a coherent English sentence, yet she pontificates about matters with no shame whatsoever. A lot of people during her academic career must have lied to her--telling her how brilliant she was. Pathetic.

I'd love to see how these mental midgets would fare in the real world.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to compare the academic output and the course load of the 'Group of 88 scholars' with that of other Duke faculty members representing a wide range of departments.

Anonymous said...

1. "Marginal" was in the sense of the number and quality of Duke faculty publications. And, someone has to be marginal. Better marginal there than many other, less prestigious schools. An assistant professor may take awhile to get started in publishing.

2. Correct: Post graduates are meant to be starting to publish, so no surprise they have few or none.

3. Institute directors are not meant to carry maintain a heavy agenda, are they? They are administrators.

4. Math and physics are not the only programs from which one might reasonably NOT expect monographs. Not all African-American Studies faculties will come from book-producing disciplines. Many of the social sciences, psychology, sociology, etc., are article driven.

5. Gay chicano literature (gay/lesbian chicana literature) is not more narrow than some of the work of say, American constitutional, diplomatic, economic, or legal historians, some of whom study only ten years of time or a single event. It's simply not a field that KC is used to/approves of/considers important. More to the point, faculty do NOT teach only those fields in which they do research.

6. Spousal hires are a good way to get top-notch academics whose wives/husbands/partners are also academics. That these hires are permanent adjuncts probably signifies that their jobs are contingent on their spouses/partners. Other universities do this, especially those located outside large metropolitan areas.

The weekly reviews are still skipping the heavy hitters, ie, those ourstanding SENIOR Duke faculty with multiple, well-reviewed publications, the result of on-going and successful reseach agendas.

Carolyn said...

12:26 writes: "I'd love to see how these mental midgets would fare in the real world."

They'd starve to death in a week.

AMac said...

Prof. Johnson wrote --

"[Caroline Light] is the coordinator for the Institute for Critical U.S. Studies—whose official homepage is devoted to the culminating event of the Group of 88 Rehab Tour, Wahneema Lubiano’s remarks at the “Shut Up and Teach” forum."

This description might suggest that Prof. Light is in favor of free exchange of information, which does not seem to be the case.

Given the self-inflicted noteriety of the Group of 88, there was much interest at Duke and beyond in listening to a recording (or reading a transcript) of the Group's signal effort to explain themselves--the "Shut Up And Teach" seminar held 2/17/07.

But "Shut Up" speakers and sponsors were adamant that the only recording of the meeting would be their own. They seem to have no plans to release it.

Prof. Light's institute's home page is devoted to "Shut Up", but it links only to Wahneema Lubiano's four-'graph fine whine, excerped by Gary Packwood at 12:22am above. Prof. Light is doubtlessly bursting with pride at her association with the brilliant insights that "Shut Up" offered. Perhaps one day we can learn what they are. And join in the accolades.

Anonymous said...

African-American Studies has four full-time faculty; the others who staff the program have joint or secondary appointments. Two of those mentioned as not having books have 2003 PhDs, so this is perhaps not surprising, given that they are not necessarily working with English-language and/or American sources. One of them, indeed, has a book forthcoming from an excellent press.

MILLIE TANT said...

Anonymous 12:26 said...
"I'd love to see how these mental midgets would fare in the real world."

I bet you don't realise it, but you have just touched upon the last uncovered bastion of discrimination.

First there was homophobia...

then there was racism...

next came sexism...

NOW REALISM!!!!

Damn you all to hell you privelidged, patriarchal, right-wing BIGOTS!

Anonymous said...

Which university is Charles Payne moving to?

Anonymous said...

The caliber of teaching at Hate Studies Depts at Duke would appear to be more appropriate for Durham Tech. rather than a 4-year degree granting institution like Duke!

And to think we could have gotten jobs doing this instead of working for a living. Boy where did I go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Is Light a Communist?

mac said...

The summary of one part of Viego's work - the part regarding his complaint about isolating, fragmentizing and freezeframing subject matter, "managing and controlling ethic and racialized subjects by positing them as fully knowable, calculable sums: as dead subjects," is like saying, in short:
"You can't pin us to a board like moths and butterflies."
Well, that's true! Any study of current trends or groups is bound to miss some of the essence and dynamics of whatever or whomever is being studied! These kinds of studies obviously have to capture parts of the whole, like taking a water sample for testing.
I don't see where that's a particularly astute perception.
Perhaps it is merely a complaint.
Thus noted.

If his academic specialties are somewhat narrow - as they appear to be - it would be like a Biologist who taught a course on the lifecycle of Elaphe Obsoleta. To Viego, I'd just say: whatever floats your boat. On the other hand, it's too bad you had to stand alongside some truly vicious, angry, student-hating, racialist people.

Anonymous said...

Why do otherwise intelligent people view the world in such narow minded ways? It boggles my mind that they bring a singular view to every subject . . . queer studies my ass.

scott said...

"The institute sponsored a spring 2007 course, “Introduction to Critical U.S. Studies,” which was co-taught by Group members Wahneema Lubiano and Jocelyn Olcott. Forty seats were allotted to the course. Seven students enrolled."

Ah, good. The breed continues to multiply. In 20 years, these 7 twits are the candidates to be professors at elite universities who will enlighten a new crop of students about the ways and means of race baiting and queer theory.

bill anderson said...

The term "critical studies" is a nice euphemism for "marxist." When the Soviet Union fell and China and Vietnam essentially gave up the heart of communism/socialism -- state ownership of all factors of production -- and permitted private investment and ownership, these countries no longer were the darlings of the western marxist "intellectuals." Yet, the legal and social theories of marxism remained.

For example, Harvard Law has been known for its "critical legal theorists," or the "crits" for short. Basically, they hold that all western law is oppressive and that things like facts and evidence simply are tools used by the white/male/heterosexist patriarchy to oppress everyone else not in that category.

We saw such postmodern legal thinking in full flower in the Duke case. Nifong indicted without evidence, but the G88 and their allies supported him because the "narrative was correct." Since Evan Thomas of Newsweek said essentially the same thing (the "narrative was correct, but the facts were wrong"), we can see just how much this way of thinking has permeated the institutions of modern society.

One may recall that Nikolai Bukharin was one of the architects of this kind of "legal thinking" during the Russian Revolution. Alas, Stalin was able to use Bukharin's own legal theories as a way to have Bukharin killed.

This insistence in the academic world of shoe-horning "narratives" into everything is destructive, and we saw its results in full flower this past year. And because the practitioners of the "meta-narratives" are extremely imperialistic about their viewpoints, we see it seeping into other academic departments that in the past have depended upon real-live facts.

Keep in mind that not one of the G88 holds that what these people did was wrong. In their minds, as long as a narrative is "politically correct," it does not matter what is done. In the end, they were quite happy to have young men thrown into prison for the "crime" of not being in a PC grouping. Not one of them is the least bit interested in the truth, for they declare that they have determined their own "truth." That is the most frightening thing of all.

Anonymous said...

KC your comments indicate a potential bias. I looked at the AAAS website. 3 of the 4 names you mention are assistant professors, and one that you mention later in this essay (Blackmoor) isn't even a faculty member, but an administrative assistant! And another (Wilkins) doesn't even work at Duke!
At least at my university, assistant professors are working on a book, but not expected to have published one. That's how they get tenure and move to the next rank. How much of the rest of your comments skip over the facts like this in order to make a point? It makes these analyses suspect and we have come to depend on you for fairness and accuracy. But it seems instead if we do our own research on these programs, we discover items that make what you say here less reliable. Is this a pattern? Should readers review all of your assessments?

AF said...

As an educator myself, I never cease to be amazed at what some of these so-called intellectuals consider to be "intellectual" study. How, even in this world of political correctness, can so many sexually-related studies be considered as academic?
It seems to me that these people have too many adult channels on their satellites. Are they so insecure in their own "sexuality" that they need to impose their "pet" fields on main-stream students?
What does this say about the university administrators who allow such bovine excrement to be taught? And to think our taxpayer dollars are used to support this lunacy. The money taken away from real intellectual studies could be put to better use on infrastructure in the US rather than tearing down the intellect of Americans.

jim2 said...

Sunlight!

Ahhhh, more sunlighht.

Anonymous said...

Dear fellow Wonderland readers and participants.....below is today's JWR column by John Leo. It's a good one. Well worth reading.

Leo

When people from the academy come here--while the blog is in its last days--with manipulative and oily jargon that would attempt to ameliorate the stench of Duke's Gang of 88, Ward Churchill, and the multitude of professors like these self-serving frauds.....

.....ignore their words.

Like the anonymous poster from yesterday's thread who identified as a fellow academic, and who defended Ward Churchill, shun these vile and irresponsibile people as you would members of the KKK or members any group who would seek to excuse damage done to others by cloaking their stilted and sterile logorrhea in the context of what's best for the academy.

These are the very same people who would defend the ultra-Left-wing website which doctored a photo to make it look as though the distinguished American senator and statesman Joe Lieberman was on his knees giving head to George Bush at the White House.....

....simply because Lieberman has supported the war and put politics aside for the salvation of Israel and the Middle East.

This is the Ward Churchill mentality. That the anonymous poster at (2:06PM) in yesterday's thread was enagaged and treated with much respect after singing the praises of Ward Churchill....as he slammed the people who have participated on this blog for many, many months....has left me cold.

I had friends and relatives who were murdered on September 11, 2001 in the Twin Towers.

Years have past, but these killers and destroyers of freedom will come again.

I deeply regret that the poster yesterday was too cowardly to give his/her name so that we could know the true nature of their place in the university life of unsuspecting students.

Joe Lieberman and hundreds like him are the gold of this earth. Decades from now future generations will see this.....

....as the intellectually sticky college professors in their wrinkled and musty trousers will long have been cast on the trash heap of encysted dry rot.

I fear that many on this blog will go back to business as usual and will have learned nothing.

The fact that a post such as yesterday's (2:06PM) remains would be evidence of that.

There is a threshold in this world for such mendacity.

Debrah

Another drive by quoter said...

The purpose of this course is to explore the topics of sexual ethics and casual sex as they apply to Duke. College campuses have long been accused as being havens for casual hookups and sexual encounters. At Duke,
students live, breath, and date by this credo; relationships with people of the opposite sex are often dependent on this hookup culture. It is important that students not only understand what their beliefs about sex are, but also what has shaped those beliefs. Perceptions about "hooking up" can be both positive and negative. Some would argue that a de-romanticized sex life is empowering. What part of one’s identity — sexuality, race,gender,
religion, etc. — creates these ideologies about sex and "hooking up"? Does the hookup culture itself differ from one race and one sexuality (ie: one identity) to another; or does the mainstream hookup culture set the sex scene
for an entire campus? Who is entitled to participate in this hookup culture, and who is excluded from it? What part does "social ladder-ing" play, and what sex scene remains for those who don’t fit into the "ideal"? As a
campus, where do we go from here? How can we strive to make this hookup culture a healthy one, and what part does communication play? This course plans to understand and explore these pertinent questions.


Why do they not just call it "Our Take on the LAX Case 101"? And Light is only a faculty sponsor not an instructor. What role did her predecessor, Shadee Malaklou, play in the development of the course? BTW, how a propos to have someone with a name of Shadee teach a course like this!?!
I wasn't aware of the term "hooking up" until I read this syllabus. It sort of seems to go along with the other "term du jour"--my baby daddy. Talk about de-romanticizing. No love, no affection. As Dr. Laura calls them--sperm donors. I particularly like the question "As a campus, where do we go from here?" Maybe to a discussion of AIDS and other STDs. Maybe to educational theory about a loving, nurturing home. Maybe to a support system for children. Maybe to a moral and ethical upbringing. Take your pick ladies, there's a lot of opportunity there.
WOW. KC, you have done an awful lot to open my eyes to the sort of "teaching" that goes on in the university system. I know that Duke is not an island unto itself. From BOTs to adminstations, alums need to get a handle on what has happened. If I didn't know better, I might think that LSD flashbacks were running rampant in boardrooms and Ad buildings (and maybe they are). Those from the 60's were called hippies. I guess our 21st century versions are called rippies or iffies. No wonder those approaching or on social security are worried. The Bush administration may have over-estimated the longevity of the Social Security program. It may not make it until the end of this decade with "leaders" like this being developed.
The Pot Bangers thought they had hit the jackpot by "hooking up" with a hooker. A hoax on their families!

Ralph Phelan said...

"Like Curtis, Hovsepian appears to be a permanent visiting professor—essentially, a spousal hire."

I can't imagine a more frustrating, demoralizing and corrupting position to be in. You know you're a perpetual charity case, and that your continued employment has nothing to do with the quality of your work, good or bad, so lang as you sort of look lke you're showing up.

It's even worse than being an affirmitive-action hire.

I suppose being the spousal hire of an affirmitive-action hire must be the very very worst.

Anonymous said...

I have never asked the question, but does anyone recall how many people posting here asked KC his schedule and when he would be closing down for good, among other inquiries...

.....and got no answer?

But the poster (2:06PM) who came here yesterday, calling himself a professor, and whose stench still permeates my home---just knowing from his own words that he has been reading this blog....but rarely posted---inquired about this subject and he was engaged and given VIP treatment.

His views were respected and given attention pronto.

These people of the Gang of 88 and those who defend their rights to do damage know well how protected they are.

These people are equivalent to the most virulent racists of 20th century history and are engaged by their fellow Leftists as if Mozart has just sat down at the piano.

Don't allow these people to teach your children. Don't let them take home your money as they call it a salary.

Honor those people with your support, financial and otherwise, who continue to respect truth and honesty.....in the face of unpopular opinion.

Future generations will honor you.

My greatest sorrow is that my participation on this blog has ended this way.

Debrah

Anonymous said...

The new term for faculty bullying of students who disagree with their political view, is "viewpoint discrimination".

Missouri is actually considering a bill ("The Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act") to help protect students who disagree with their teachers.

It's a good idea; but I mourn that it is not enough to defend free speech on its own merits anymore; we now must defend it with the terminology of the new Party Line, i.e., as "Intellectual Diversity". . .

Anonymous said...

It would take much too long to unravel this bundle of lies of omission, mistatements, and mischaracterizations, but let me single out one. In the introduction to this entry you state,

The people profiled in this series will craft future job descriptions for Duke professors; and then, for positions assigned to their departments, select new hires.

Only Antonio Viego fits that description since he is now a tenured member of his department. The rest of these scholars serve in other capacities. None of the positions they work in require a monograph.

To use one of your favorite and off-repeated rhetorical misdirections, "some people would say" that you have failed to do what you said you were going to do and have instead produced another hatchet job. "Some people might wonder" why you construct your "arguments" the way that you do.

Of course, it isn't some amorphous and unspecified group of people who wonder and say in this case. I think that you can't prove what you want to prove so you resort to inuendo, misdirection, and the third person voice to state what are clearly your own positions.

It really is tiresome at this point to read your empty-headed exhortations. You wonder why none of the people you excoriate and few others will engage with your "arguments"? Because your reasoning, like your prose, is facile, depressingly jejune, and means only to incite emotion rather than offer serious critique.

mac said...

Debrah,
I agree with you that 2:06 was (mostly) pffered respectful treatment. That's how I choose to respond, when people take time to make coherent and comprehensive arguments, and who are not being argumentative in their approach.
That being said, I think the point 2:06 was making about Churchill was that he has the ability to write coherently, unlike GF and others. I didn't see his/her commentary in any way as agreement - (tacit or otherwise) - with Churchill. It's ok if we don't see this the same way.

I do COMPLETELY agree with you about 9/11, however, and about the vile, doctored photo of Senator Lieberman and President Bush: it kind of proves one of my points, that even some of our baser, Polanski-like posts and references would be roundly approved by some of the trollsters, if we were attacking a target of their choice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 8:11 AM. I have been trying to follow your arguments, but here, as elsewhere, your point is lost, or simply doesn't work. Most of these people are in either administrative positions or they are at the beginning of their careers. Besides that guy from Sociology, I can't think of a single person who you have discussed whose work seems to suggest that they would have a position on the lacrosse scandal that you could draw from their work. Even then, you seem to think you already know what they thought about the guilt or innocence of the three players who hired the stripper by signing the ad, and you are unwilling to believe their account of what they meant the ad to do. The ad might have done something counter to what they meant, but that is an argument about its function not their intentions. The whole point of your analysis is that you know their intentions because of the ad. At no point have you proved that.

After all of these "exposes" I have come to the conclusion that your line of argument is wrong. The stronger and more plausible argument would be that the ad--whatever the intentions of its authors--had negative effects given the atmosphere in Durham and on Duke's campus at the time. I believe that Chafe in one of his statements said that if he were to change the ad it would conclude with the sentence 'therefore we should let the Justice system do its job.' That seems reasonable.

Perhaps you have worked yourself up to believing your own thesis even when there is no evidence or weak evidence? At any rate, you haven't proven your point.

hman said...

To 1:26
You mentioned that KC has not yet discussed the "heavy hitters" among the infamous gang of 88. No one here disputes the notion that there must be someone, out of 88 Duke Academicians, whose work and credentials rise to at least the level of Jr. College respectability. However, that fact hardly matters now that the pattern of who these people are is emerging so clearly. The stench is not lessened by the occasional non-rotten egg. Besides, how can anyone really justify the presence of any of these apparently stupid and provably un-productive malcontents on the faculty rolls of an allegedly elite University?
Some historians study a narrow slice of human events but the good ones do it so as to illuminate (and resonate with) aspects of our common human nature. Making ones field of "expertise" a narrow slice of human nature (the gay male chicano experience, eg) is truly narrow and dead-ending, fwiw.

Ralph Phelan said...

"One may recall that Nikolai Bukharin was one of the architects of this kind of "legal thinking" during the Russian Revolution. Alas, Stalin was able to use Bukharin's own legal theories as a way to have Bukharin killed."

Why "alas"? Sounds like poetic justice to me.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.04:

I use a generic description in the Group profile series. Every person thus far profiled "will craft future job descriptions for Duke professors; and then, for positions assigned to their departments, select new hires."

For today's post, there is nothing that would prevent Hovsepian and Light from serving on search committees or helping to craft job descriptions (in soc. and women's studies, respectively)--but the post itself was a specific response to a commenter who had claimed that the earlier posts were all marginal figures. You are absolutely correct that Hovsepian and Light couldn't vote on hires. The other 13 people profiled in the series can.

Since an earlier commenter brought up Reade Seligmann, I thought it worthwhile to recall his statement to 60 Minutes: "I chose Duke to be my home for four years. And to see your professors… go out and slander you and say these horrible, untrue things about you and to have your… administration just… cut us loose for, for, based on nothing."

To the 8.11:

Blackmoor and Wilmes were listed as signatories on the Group statement itself--with the implication they were faculty members. Your (perfectly appropriate) complaint should be directed to Prof. Lubiano, the author of the statement.

On the ass't prof point, two of the AAAS non-monograph profs have PhD's in 1987 and 1994. As to the others, in competitive appointments to an elite university, it's hardly unreasonable to expect a strong record of publication before the hire. It's not as if Duke has the applicant pool of, say, Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

To the 1.26:

I note that the definition of "marginal" constantly changes--and now appears to exclude even miriam cooke (multiple publications, two terms as dept. chair) and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (a research professor, listed as a top-10 hire).

"2. Correct: Post graduates are meant to be starting to publish, so no surprise they have few or none."

"3. Institute directors are not meant to carry maintain a heavy agenda, are they? They are administrators."

I never implied otherwise. But--in the minds of most people--these figures would be considered the "marginal" members of the Group, not any of the those tenured or tenure-track professors previously profiled. It's the reason I did this post.

"4. Math and physics are not the only programs from which one might reasonably NOT expect monographs. Not all African-American Studies faculties will come from book-producing disciplines. Many of the social sciences, psychology, sociology, etc., are article driven."

I would invite you to identify the AAAS non-monograph profs who do not come from book-producing disciplines.

"5. Gay chicano literature (gay/lesbian chicana literature) is not more narrow than some of the work of say, American constitutional, diplomatic, economic, or legal historians, some of whom study only ten years of time or a single event. It's simply not a field that KC is used to/approves of/considers important. More to the point, faculty do NOT teach only those fields in which they do research."

One purpose of this series is to bring sunlight to the academy--the first sentence of the p'graph above is a good example. I wonder how many Duke alumni would agree with it.

As to the last sentence of the p'graph, I never suggested otherwise. Yet the essence of the research university is a belief that research creates new knowledge that profs use in the classroom--that a connection exists between the subjects of the profs' research and their teaching performance.

"6. Spousal hires are a good way to get top-notch academics whose wives/husbands/partners are also academics. That these hires are permanent adjuncts probably signifies that their jobs are contingent on their spouses/partners. Other universities do this, especially those located outside large metropolitan areas."

I never suggested otherwise. I merely pointed out the irony of figures who in their rhetoric rail against the patriarchy taking advantage of one of the patriarchy's fruits--a spousal hire.

Also, I wonder how many Duke parents or students would recognize that Hovsepian and Curtis are glorified adjuncts. The term "visiting" prof is highly misleading--at most schools a "visiting prof" is just that: someone with normal academic qualifications brought in for a semester or a year, not a glorified adjunct.

"The weekly reviews are still skipping the heavy hitters, ie, those ourstanding SENIOR Duke faculty with multiple, well-reviewed publications, the result of on-going and successful reseach agendas."

Since it now appears that even B-Silva and cooke don't count as "heavy hitters," I see no definition of the term that would suggest any more than 5-8% of the Group are "heavy hitters." I have said on several occasions that the series will conclude with Bill Chafe--who, by any definition, would be considered a "heavy hitter." Therefore, 7.5% of the Profile posts will deal with "heavy hitters"--a perfectly appropriate ratio.

mac said...

10:04
We can assume that you agree with the "listening statement" then?

Can we assume that you agree with the heckling of an invited speaker?

Can we assume that you agree with many of the 88's characterizations of the accused students is "racist, privileged white boys?"

Can we assume that you agree with Houston Baker's email comment to a mother of one of the students that she is the mother of a "farm animal?"

Can we assume that you agree with Grant Farred that students who register to vote in Durham are engaged in "defeating the law" and "secret racism?"

Can we assume that you believe Kim Grade Gremlin Curtis used appropriate discretion when she engaged in grade retaliation?

Can we assume that you agree with President Brodhead that "whatever they (the accused) did, it was bad enough?"

I see in your language that you are, yourself, engaging in "tiresome, empty-headed exhortations," and that "your prose is facile, depressingly jejune and means only to incite emotion..."

2:06 yesterday stated it properly: KC allows the self-uttered words of the 88 et al to incriminate themselves: they impale themselves on their own academic musings.

One might ask: where were you when these professors and instructors and administrators were attempting to lynch three innocent students? Where were you?

Perhaps you can write a book review when "Until Proven Innocent" is available. Somehow, I doubt your criticism will be considered on the same par as KC's work.

Haskell said...

Anonymous 10:04

KC is just doing his job noisily generating criticism of dissenting knowledge.


"And our students are taught by our own research and teaching that such
incompleteness, such critical dynamism, is not the sign of failure, but of ambition. If faculty
involved in AAAS here do nothing else but demonstrate the incredible limitlessness of dissenting
knowledge work in the service of somebody's public, then we have noisily fulfilled ourjob
description as knowledge workers."

--Wahneema Lubiano, 2-12-07

Ralph Phelan said...

"The weekly reviews are still skipping the heavy hitters, ie, those ourstanding SENIOR Duke faculty with multiple, well-reviewed publications, the result of on-going and successful reseach agendas."

Like who?

As I have said before, brilliant people with bizzarre/odious extracurricular political activities are an expected part of the academic scene - see Noam Chomsky and William Schockley. (*)

What's not normal is poor scholars with odious political activities. Why such people are hired and retained is a question worthy of investigation.

There are two cases that have caused me to look closely at university liberal arts faculties for the first time in many years: the Duke Lacrosse Buring and the Ward Churchill case. In both I see large numbers of poor scholars with radical politics as one of the root causes of the failure. The modern adademy seems to have a systemic quality-control problem when it comes to choosing faculty.


(*) But Chomsky and Schockley used to be isolated cases. It is new to see so many of the "brilliant cranks" having the same bizzarre/odious ideology. I suppose the question of how a group of real, solid scholars turns into essentially a radical political "affinity group" is also worthy of study. It's another root cause. So please tell us who you consider to be the "heavy hitters" so we can try to figure out what their failure mode is.

Anonymous said...

'For today's post, there is nothing that would prevent Hovsepian and Light from serving on search committees or helping to craft job descriptions (in soc. and women's studies, respectively)'

KC--you *do* work at a university, don't you? At no time--not once, never--have I ever heard of let alone witnessed a program administrator or visiting professor serve on a search committee for a tenure-stream or tenured professor let alone help "craft ob descriptions." Never. It's not done at Research 1 schools. If Brooklyn College does this, it would be highly irregular and a practice worth stopping.

FYI, For those of you readers who do not work in higher education: job descriptions are written by tenured or tenure-stream faculty in a department or by an administration. Light and Hovspian would not be eligible to participate.

KC, you're wrong on this point and you should just say so. Sure, leave the hatchet jobs on Light and Hovspian up, but don't pretend it has anything to do with hiring practices in sociology and women studies. "Nothing would prevent"? Everything would prevent.

mac said...

10:28

I can only assume from your comment that "aside from the guy from Sociology, I can't think of a single person whose work seems to suggest that they would have a position on the lacrose scandal..." is meant to be humerous.

If you were actually serious,

a) you haven't been reading the blog for any length of time, and haven't read the profiles of cooke, Baker and Farred;

b) you consider the 88's "clarifying statement" sufficient apology for students who were harrassed, threatened, humiliated and stripped of their rights - (for a time)- by the parties involved - (who admittedly, weren't all 88ers.)

Perhaps you have an explanation of why Duke settled?

I'd have to conclude that you were not serious, though, rather than to offer a more pejorative view.

Steven Horwitz said...

Anon at 126am writes:

4. Math and physics are not the only programs from which one might reasonably NOT expect monographs. Not all African-American Studies faculties will come from book-producing disciplines. Many of the social sciences, psychology, sociology, etc., are article driven.

You can definitely add economics to that list. Books are, in the mainstream, generally looked down upon. It's all about the articles.

Ralph Phelan said...

KC wrote in reply to 1:26
'"Many of the social sciences, psychology, sociology, etc., are article driven."

I would invite you to identify the AAAS non-monograph profs who do not come from book-producing disciplines.'

A better response is "OK, so where are the refereed journal articles?"
The problem isn't the lack of publications in some particular format, it's the lack of publications in any format - not even a blog ;-).

Anonymous said...

for Prof. Horwitz,

I have a late-posted response to you on yesterday's comment page.

RRH.

Anonymous said...

I merely pointed out the irony of figures who in their rhetoric rail against the patriarchy taking advantage of one of the patriarchy's fruits--a spousal hire.

Indeed, this is a point that faculty at universities across the country have been working to rectify by working to be inclusive of the definition of spouse. As you might already know, but pointedly fail to point out, Duke is inclusive in its understanding of the term "spouse." It does not exclude same-sex couples.

Your point--that one half of a heterosexual couple uses an opportunity afforded to them by the administration--is not evidence of an irony. It would certainly be ironic (by which I think you mean hypocritical) if Duke excluded same-sex couples from such an arrangement.

Steven Horwitz said...

Debrah writes:

....as the intellectually sticky college professors in their wrinkled and musty trousers will long have been cast on the trash heap of encysted dry rot.

My, my, someone got under your skin.

For the record, I'm wearing clean, unwrinkled trousers today. I'm also NOT wearing a sportcoat with elbow patches and smoking a pipe. (A pink polo shirt actually.) And all my clothes were bought this century!

Glad to see you don't deal in stereotypes and name-calling Debrah.

Anonymous said...

The recent profiles have highlighted, for me, the preoccupation these folks seem to have with sex.

Does anyone know, is this preoccupation typical of most angry/ethnic studies departments?

Is there not a college-wide curriculum committee that reviews proposed courses for this $50,000 a year institution?

Anonymous said...

10:04 AM

It is depressing to read a posting containing . . . accusations of "empty-headed exhortations" or words to that effect in exercising a puerile criticism of this blog while using depressingly facile and jejune vocabulary. These words can only reflect upon efforts to construct nebbisch. Mesoamericans must have used such a vocabulary as they constucted their concept of zero.

rrhamilton said...

Debrah,

What was 2:06's overarching point?

I hold that his point -- that it is time for KC to move the struggle to a different arena, to the "Battle of the Book" -- was correct. Debrah, you're probably the best commenter here, but 2:06 is right: the diversity-racists will distort what we say and then associate KC with it in order to discredit him. (This could apply with special force to my own comments.)

2:06 did not comment yesterday to praise Ward Churchill. I am disappointed that many here have taken so much offense at what was only an incidental issue.

Anonymous said...

From 10:04 above: "It really is tiresome at this point to read your empty-headed exhortations. You wonder why none of the people you excoriate and few others will engage with your "arguments"? Because your reasoning, like your prose, is facile, depressingly jejune, and means only to incite emotion rather than offer serious critique."

Your comment best describes much of the race-class-gender scholarship of members of the Duke faculty, as well as the public "Listening Statement" and the reports of the private "Shut Up and Teach" seminar. The Listening Statement's intent was to incite emotion at a critical time and was a dangerous document.

I am glad someone is taking the time to examine what passes for scholarship among a politically active group of people, who play the victim card to gain success and power and who are highly critical of those who do not agree with them.

Anonymous said...

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AS RELIGION

(Part II of III)

As has already been posited, Political Correctology has become a religion in America. There are a set of color- and genitalia-based rules, and the religion has a creation theory to explain how we got to where we are. This portion of the discussion deals with one of the more fascinating aspects of any religion, including Correctology, which is its faith-based-ness.

FAITH-BASED

If your particular religion claimed the Earth would end at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on August 13, 2007 A.D., then you would have happily taken a sick day today and fiddled on the couch with your Nintendo until your particular vision of a Maker arrived. At 9:15 EST, if, by chance, the Earth hadn't exploded or ended in any particularly noticeable way, you might begin to get a little uncomfortable, but the Maker, you reason, obviously has other important things to attend to, even if this IS the Day of Destruction.

By 9:30 a.m. EST, you had probably checked yourself out in the mirror more times than was reasonably necessary, and your tension had increased, especially if you had bragged about this Armageddon to any of your bowling chums. By 10:00 a.m. EST, you had called it a miss, and had, most likely, set your sights on another date and time for the Coming. This is faith, and it exists with Correctologists as well.

To be a firm beliver in Political Correctology, one must look at the world through a kaleidoscope of race, gender, class, "racemail," genitalia, color, tenure and Nintendo gaming systems. Those with the ability to purchase such fine interactive gaming devices, for example, are frowned upon as that religion's version of a "sinner." This is true even though most of the higher-ups in Correctology, can afford, and do purchase, massive quantities of the latest video games. Now this is where the faith comes in, for without faith, the higher-ups would be hypocrites.

Additionally, if your religion is faith-based, it will deflect scrutiny for at least three reasons. First, it is socially unacceptable, even impolite, to question another's religious beliefs. Second, religious beliefs, such as Correctology, are inherently hearsay-based, so there is no scientific way (or motivation) to prove their inherent value or truth. Third, as a religious practitioner, you are afforded the right to call any non-believer such names as "heretic" or "racist" or "NASCAR-watcher."

With a faith-based belief system, the practitioner can avoid arguments such as Darwinian evolution, the Big Bang, or those based on physics or logic. In Correctology, the faithful can deny any relationship between single-parent families, gang violence and misogynistic cultural values and ANYTHING else. To borrow a phrase from "Seinfeld," a Correctologist must, "Look to the penis." (Or, more accurately, the color of the genitalia - it tells you everything you need to know).

Because of the blindness of faith, the true believer's worldview is drawn from, and shaped by, and only from and by, ideas of race, color, tenure, genitalia or the ability to afford quality gaming merchandise.

Nothing is black and white anymore, everything is now either Black or White.

Moreover, a Big Mac is no longer judged by taste, texture or price, but by how penis- or vagina-shaped it may be. Their faith will tell them that the person selling the Big Mac is not there because he or she did not have an appropriate role model or someone who made them go to school. They use the phrase, "Would you like to 'Biggie Size' that," because of their, or more likely, someone else's, color or genitalia.

Through the eyes of a person driven by the tenets of Correctology, a person's actions derive from their color or what they do with their naughty bits, never from how they were raised or educated or their belief in truth, justice or some other religion's dogma. When faith becomes that strong in any religion, great leaps of faith can ensue, based not on logic or truth, but on hearsay or conjecture, such as the belief that the world will end before tea, or that three Duke students would gangrape a prostitute.

[NOTE: K.C. Johnson will accept a paper in lieu of taking the final end-term examination. All opinions and parodies contained herein are my own and should not be attributed to reasonable people.]

________________

"Each snowflake must meet the strict design and structural standards set by K.C. Johnson before it reaches the consumer." SNOW QUARTERLY (Fall 2007). MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

KC, I think you have written today's profile for me (since you quote me), but dude you get it wrong again. You can't go after assistant professors and non tenure track faculty to prove the worthlessness of the 88. In fact everything you say is brought down to a dumb level by trying to prove that they are hacks. Take the strong suite --- take the endowed chairs, take the people who have world famous reputations. Take on all of the full professors.

Oh and also why don't you write about the schlarship of the guys who do Duke good? You only talk about their relationship to Duke lacrosse. But what are Jim Coleman's academic credentials? I dont know the answer to this, but I just want to see you make an argument against the 88 that would stand up in the very kind of scholarly venue that you claim to want: one that makes an argument with rigor and care.

I won't hold my breath, though. It would be nice, but it takes a lot of work, and you can't churn out the "some would imagine" and "some would think" boiler-plate that you've been using to produce these entries in your encyclopedia of infamy!

mac said...

Professor Light's course "Sex and the Global Citizen" could be interesting, if it didn't degenerate into a whinefest, an occasion to complain about mistreatment. Sometimes, it's a valuable exercise to study and discern why and how things work,
maybe more valuable rather than the expenditure of all of one's energy and resources obsessing about what doesn't or can't work, or hasn't worked in the past.

Learn from success, not just failure, I always say. That's why Professor Johnson has highlighted some very good Duke professors.

As far as criticism of academia for being too overly broad or too overly narrow: well duh(?) Academia ranges from a view through a microscope to a view through a telescope, and all those views in-between! (metaphorically speaking)

Schools that are heavily laden with PhDs tend to pass along their general studies (survey courses etc.) to non-tenured instructors or graduate students. A PhD in a survey course can - if they can't get away from their microscope - be an arduous thing to endure!

One area that gets a lot of undeserved criticism (IMO) is when scholars attempt to connect seemingly disparate bits of information. The concept only gets - and deserves - more ridicule when the connection of such "information" is silly or incomprehensible. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of people who can evaluate these connective processes, and from this inability to evaluate we then get notions of flying pigs, flying elephants and flying phalluses, and an emphasis on trendy, PC scholarship.

Needed: administrators and department heads who can see both the big picture and the small minutae.

mac said...

If Shadee Makalou was engaged in the "hookup culture" at Duke (as she states in one of her articles,) isn't it a little problematic if she teaches the same course?

What if one of her students was also one of her conquests?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:09 am "Two of those mentioned as not having books have 2003 PhDs, so this is perhaps not surprising, given that they are not necessarily working with English-language and/or American sources. One of them, indeed, has a book forthcoming from an excellent press."

--I agree with KC, it indeed it is not surprising they have not published, but it is sad that Duke hired quite a few without a track record, much less a stellar one.

--KC, would you be kind enough to give a short summary and ramifications of the professorial hierarchy? (Full, assistant,adjunct, visiting etc.)

Anonymous said...

9:51 We always knew KC was leaving some time in August. Just not the exact date. Now we know. What is the big deal? If leaving this blog is the saddest thing you ever have to face in life, you are doing okay.

Anonymous said...

KC--

I consider Eduardo Bonilla-Silva an excellent academic and I was not impressed with what you wrote about him. I equally suspect Antonio Viega has an excellent career to look forward to. (Monograph forthcoming from University of Chicago, yes?)

"Heavy hitters" are something more than the good, even excellent, academics who work at Duke and signed the statement. They are people at or close to the tops of their fields. There are two lit people and one historian on that list of 88 I think fit into that category.

It may be that in your field, one that requires how much research abroad and in foreign languages, people come out of university with monographs. To be fair, it's more often that junior faculty--absent a multi-year post-doc gig like Harvard Fellows--are hired with a refereed article or two. Speed is not of the essence for production of a good monograph.

Interesting that one of the posters picked up information showing that some of the signatories were not faculty. Why didn't you? You took WL's word for something?

Anonymous said...

I think 10:04 has stated things well. And, just because he disagrees with how KC Johnson handles himself, that doesn't mean he agrees with the G88 statement. What a silly thing to say!!! How does it follow?

mac said...

Hovsepian's anti-Israel bias is so common among the far-left today in academia: pretty soon, Holocaust denial will be avante garde - (and eventually de rigeur.)

I wonder what the Radical Chic-ers think now?
That they didn't intend to let the chickens leave home?

Anonymous said...

I applaud KC for this continuing series. I am a Duke alumnus, as is my daughter. I had one grad student instructor in my 4 years--that was in Introductory Calculus. Even my freshman English (English Composition) instructor had a Ph.D. and was an Assistant Professor. My daughter had 8 classes with non Ph.D. instructors--including (of course) English composition. The principal concentration of these instructors was in English--her major. Not to imply that non-Ph.D. instructors can't be wonderful teachers--they can be (I was one once)--but Duke is not supposed to be a community college. Duke was attractive to me precisely because I could expect to take classes with outstanding scholars who taught both graduates and undergraduates. Doesn't look like Duke is interested in that experience any more.--Buddy

Anonymous said...

Mac, Why would you assume the poster assumes any of the things you asked him/her about? How does that follow?

The answer: it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Off the topic at hand...I went to Amazon this morning to pre-order KC's book and was delighted to see the cover of Until Proven Innocent. I can't wait to read the book! However, I was curious, and a little annoyed, as to why KC's name was not listed on the cover along side of Stuart Taylor. Didn't the majority of the material for the book come from DIW?

bill anderson said...

I will guarantee you that 10:04 is one of the G88 (or an ally), but does not have the integrity to identify himself or herself. Notice that there was almost nothing substantive in the post itself, just a bunch of attack words.

Many departments require refereed journal publications (instead of books). In fact, books often do not count toward tenure at all, except on the margin. For example, I know that departments that are accredited by AACSB are judged on journal publications and little else.

That being said, with the G88 we find a dearth of good journal pubs and, instead, see the perpetual "forthcoming" stuff. There is no doubt that many of the signees are held to lower academic standards than people in other departments where scholarship still is the norm.

Again, we have to remember that the G88 consider themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to everyone else, and even to question their superiority is an act of sexism/racism/heterosexism.

Anonymous said...

Viego sounds stupider than Lubiano.

What really made me laugh was this winner: "financialization of the globe." This idiot thinks academia reflects capitalism? This guy is at Duke because of the welfare state and affirmative action, both of which are byproducts of socialism.

The G88 contibution to "capitalism" is less than zero (<0). Can anyone in economic theory translate what I just wrote?

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between "heavy hitters," several of whom signed the G88 statement. They're more than just very good senior faculty; they are really the cream of the crop nationally and internationall. Some universities have no one who meets this difinition; others, like Duke, have many. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva may be one; I would say he's well on his way there. FWIW, two-times as department chair simply sounds like a booby prize to me.

Surely, you don't think administration is a sign of academic heavy hitting???!!!! Oh, well, you might surprise me. I'd say that's a v. revisionist attitude!!!

So, no, KC, the definition--my definition--wasn't changing.

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.24:

For some reason, they didn't get the whole image of the cover on the Amazon image. The image reads "Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson"--they've said they're going to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Something about 10:04's post got a lot of people's goats. Seemed v. reasonable to me.

And, no, I'm neither a G88er nor an ally nor even a communist, although there are far worse things than communists!

KC Johnson said...

To Steve:

Absolutely on the Economics point.

None of the 88 were Economics profs, and none of the AAAS profs have an Economics interest.

Anonymous said...

I suppose every academic thinks his/her field/related fields is/are more important than other fields. What would Duke alumni think? We don't know because we haven't done a survey.

Who knows? They might suprise you and think that some of the fields you highly esteem are b-o-r-i-n-g...I mean, think of all the people who hate history because they were force fed American diplomatic history?!!!!

mac said...

MOO Gregory 11:22
You've outdone yourself!
LMAO,
ROTFLMAO!

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Corrections:

definiton
internationally

mac said...

I meant "that's why Professor Johnson has ALSO highlighted some very good professors."

And some real charlatans, as well.

Anonymous said...

11:24

The "heaviest hitter" of the G88 is Michael Hardt, and KC and the posters eviscerated him.

You are correct about Coleman's weak credentials, but he did not attempt to railroad his students.

Bottom line, sir, is that the intelligence of the G88 club is way below that of the non G88 club at Duke.

Are we in agreement on this point?

loki on the run said...

10:04 says:


It really is tiresome at this point to read your empty-headed exhortations. You wonder why none of the people you excoriate and few others will engage with your "arguments"? Because your reasoning, like your prose, is facile, depressingly jejune, and means only to incite emotion rather than offer serious critique.


Personally, I think it's because they lack the intellectual ability to do so.

Anonymous said...

KC

At Amazon, the subtitle on cover reads "incorrectness"

WTF?

mac said...

If I were in academia, I would be arguing over whether or not a Crotalus horridus horridus was a subspecies of Crotalus horridus atricaudatus (or vice versa.)

Or whether Latrodectus mactans was separate from L. variolus, or a mutation, not deserving of a subspecies designation.

But one thing this has all taught me: it would be difficult in some universities to get tenure unless I could somehow connect these issues to gay, lesbian or transexual studies, or to use the comparisons to implicitly attack capitalism, Israel or George W. Bush.

The closest thing I can arrive at, with regard to the politicization of animal species would be a study of the Palestine Saw Scaled Viper (Eschis coloratus,) which inhabits the same regions as dear miriam cooke's spiritual brethren of the Wahhabi sect.

Steven Horwitz said...

1053 writes:

FYI, For those of you readers who do not work in higher education: job descriptions are written by tenured or tenure-stream faculty in a department or by an administration.

This has generally been my experience as well. And, importantly, departmental VOTES on hiring tenure-track faculty specifically exclude those not in the tenure stream or tenured.

Practice may vary, but surely it makes sense that those with a long-term stake in the composition of the department be the ones with the power to choose.

Anonymous said...

12:39 Getting most of these posters "goat" is easy.

KC Johnson said...

To the 1.06:

Amazon has the wrong cover up--it's a draft version. They're fixing it.

Steven Horwitz said...

Anon at 1148 asks:

--KC, would you be kind enough to give a short summary and ramifications of the professorial hierarchy? (Full, assistant,adjunct, visiting etc.)

I'll take this one on, as summarily as I can. Again, practice varies within a small range.

"Assistant" refers to a faculty member who has achieved the terminal degree and who is teaching a full load. If one is in a position that is "tenure-track", then one is normally just "assistant professor..." "Tenure Track" refers to the position being eligible for tenure, normally after 6 or 7 years or the equivalent. Sometimes tenure-track faculty hired before finishing the terminal degree will be called "instructors" or something like that until they get the degree, then they go to ass't professor. (However, see Ward Churchill for the unfortunate exception.)

Achieving tenure is a matter of meeting the school's criteria. Research schools like Duke normally put a great deal of weight on peer-reviewed scholarship/artistic work with notably less on teaching and service. Teaching-oriented schools (like mine) put teaching first, but still expect some level of scholarly engagement as demonstrated in peer-reviewed work. We also tend to value service more highly.

If the person is NOT "tenure-track" but teaching a full load, normally it's because they are "visiting," meaning in an annual contract. They might get renewed for two or three years, but AAUP rules generally prohibit "visiting" faculty from staying in that category for longer. Note that "visiting" just means "temporary".

An "adjunct" refers to a faculty member teaching who has no ongoing relationship with the institution and who is being paid by the course for their work. (Again, usually.) He or she may teach several courses, but at a salary much less than "permanent" or "visiting" faculty. Adjuncts normally have no expectations other than teaching.

When one gets tenure, one normally moves to "associate professor." Again, practices varies among schools: some places tie tenure and associate, some don't.

"Full professor" is the step after associate. This involves a tenure-like review, but this time, even at teaching schools, the emphasis shifts (even) more to scholarship. Getting to full means you have produced not just the locally-defined "good amount" of research, but normally that it's well-recognized by the relevant peer group.

After full, you might get a named chair or something else like that to indicate an even higher level of accomplishment.

Research schools often have other designations like "clinical professor" for faculty who are not tenurable/tenured, but who have been promised continuing employment (i.e. not visiting or adjunct), such as in a spousal hire. Often these folks teach one or two courses a semester and are encouraged to produce research as well. But their opportunities for promotion are limited.

The important thing to keep in mind is that no two schools do this all identically. What I've given you is a general guide.

Phew. :)

mac said...

1:14
Most of the trolls who appear seem to be befuddled, addled and with a penchant for personal (and simultaneously unimaginative) attacks.

They generally don't get many goats here at DIW. Perhaps you need to ask Kathy Rudy if goats are an acceptable species to commingle with, and where one might meet one?

Anonymous said...

All this talk about publications in journals, as if getting published means that the article has merit. Have you taken a look at some of the journals lately? It's all about the politics of the editorial boards. Ditto with university presses. MOO Gregory and others could come up with a good satire of the table of contents of an academic journal.

Ralph Phelan said...

11:24

"Oh and also why don't you write about the schlarship of the guys who do Duke good? You only talk about their relationship to Duke lacrosse. But what are Jim Coleman's academic credentials?"

I have no information that Coleman is anything less than a stellar researcher, so please don't take this hypothetical as anything but that .... But Suppose Coleman wasn't really contributing that much to the university academically. He still is making a strong contribution in its other function of taking care of its students and trying to promote the scholarly ideals of truth and fairness in the broader community. The 88 had a negative contribution in those fields.

A brilliant researcher who is a lousy human being contributes to the university by being the first. A substandard researcher who is a good (moral, sensible and courageous) human being contributes to the university by being the second. A brilliant researcher and who is also a good person is a double contributor. It's the lousy academis who are also vicious, evil people that we wonder why the heck they're there. Affirmitave Action is not sufficient explanation - if you just have to hire seat-warmers of the right color, why not hire nice ones?

Ralph Phelan said...

12:07
"There are two lit people and one historian on that list of 88 I think fit into that ["heavy hitter"] category."


So tell us who already!

Anonymous said...

Professor Horwitz

In all candor, how did someone as intellectually deficient and academically incompetent as Professor Holloway manage to get an endowed chair?

Ralph Phelan said...

12:39

"And, no, I'm neither a G88er nor an ally nor even a communist, although there are far worse things than communists!"

Tell that to the next Cuban, Cambodian or Vietnamese immigrant you meet.

One of the reasons these threads sometimes degenerate into general academia-bashing is that some parts of academia deserve to be bashed for their continued denial of the historical fact that Communism is one of the most deadly ideologies in modern history, in a league with National Socialism and Wahhabi Islam. Oh wait a minute - miriam cooke likes the latter, too.

The demand that academics should be free to hold whatever political views they like is not reasonable given that they let their politics influence their work. It's even less tenable when their political beliefs are both evil and stupid.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we apply a little Lacanian analysis, using his ideas of the "four discourses"?

The Discourse of the Master -- inauthentic & inconsistent -- Duke Prez Richard Brodhead.

The Discourse of the University -- inauthentic & consistent -- The Group of 88 for hate.

The Discourse of the Hysteric -- authentic & inconsistent -- some of us privately, if we get p.o.'d enough about it all.

The Discourse of the Analyst -- authentic & consistent -- Nifong's victims' lawyers, and K.C. Johnson.

Ralph Phelan said...

12:37

"So, no, KC, the definition--my definition--wasn't changing."

How can we tell? "My" is rather poorly defined when it's some subset of the anonymous post, but we don't know which ones. Pick a handle already!

KC Johnson said...

To the 11.24:

"KC, I think you have written today's profile for me (since you quote me), but dude you get it wrong again. You can't go after assistant professors and non tenure track faculty to prove the worthlessness of the 88."

This post was done for one reason--to respond to the peculiar assertion that the Profile series had focused only on "marginal" professors. As the post notes, 20 of the Group had virtually nothing in terms of publications--if I wanted to have done a series on the Group's "marginal" members, I would have focused solely on these 20. In my initial conception of the series, I wasn't planning on mentioning any people in the 20 listed today.

"Oh and also why don't you write about the schlarship of the guys who do Duke good? You only talk about their relationship to Duke lacrosse."

This point is bizarre. The whole purpose of the series has been to explore why 88 people set aside the academy's traditional fidelity to due process and the tenets of the Faculty Handbook to sign a statement denouncing their own students. Jim Coleman did not set aside the academy's traditional fidelity to due process--indeed, his behavior embodied this principle.

To the 12.07:

"I consider Eduardo Bonilla-Silva an excellent academic and I was not impressed with what you wrote about him."

As I've said before, one purpose of this series is to shine sunlight into the process of peer review.


"I equally suspect Antonio Viega has an excellent career to look forward to. (Monograph forthcoming from University of Chicago, yes?)."

The book is actually forthcoming from Duke University Press. A post next week will be exploring the remarkable number of Group members who have published with Duke.

"Heavy hitters" are something more than the good, even excellent, academics who work at Duke and signed the statement. They are people at or close to the tops of their fields. There are two lit people and one historian on that list of 88 I think fit into that category."

The number of "heavy hitters" seems to shrink with each post that I've done. So now we're down to a claim that 4% of the Group were "heavy hitters." Since, as I've noted, the series will end with a profile of Chafe, that means that 7.5% of the posts will deal with a category that describes only 4% of the Group. I'd say that's more than fair treatment.

To the 12.37:

"Surely, you don't think administration is a sign of academic heavy hitting???!!!! Oh, well, you might surprise me. I'd say that's a v. revisionist attitude!!!"

cooke (the referenced professor) has published seven books. Perhaps she remains "marginal" by your definition, but her publication record exceeds almost any other member of the Group.

In general, do I think that "administration is a sign of academic heavy hitting???!!!!" It's my impression that at very elite universities frown upon having non-scholars in key administrative posts.

To the 10.53:

"At no time--not once, never--have I ever heard of let alone witnessed a program administrator or visiting professor serve on a search committee for a tenure-stream or tenured professor let alone help "craft ob [sic] descriptions." Never. It's not done at Research 1 schools. If Brooklyn College does this, it would be highly irregular and a practice worth stopping."

It is not done at Brooklyn College. Also, at Brooklyn College, we do not have permanent "visiting professors." Duke does. That is highly irregular and a practice worth stopping.

Anonymous said...

im sure at least half of the G88 are registered Republicans...right?

Actually I wouldnt be surprised if none are. That should tell you somehting right there.

A sample of 88 people in an otherwise unrelated field are all from one of our two major political parties.

What did one of the earlier posters say about Realism?

Anonymous said...

Debrah: you are angry at KC, not 2:06, right? Just so you come out and say it plainly. It's difficult to know exactly what your point is through the rambling pop references and tie-ins to 9/11 and Bush.

At any rate, feel the hurt and let it go. You're someone who emotes on a blog. If you're interested in contributing then stop attacking 2:06 and Steve and make a point about a topic.

It looks like KC is down to 15 or 20 readers at this point, so you might as well keep your comments level-headed, Debrah.

Anonymous said...

Fine, then argue that having permanent visiting professorships is worth stopping. At least you have retracted your point that non-tenured or tenure-stream employees are crafting job descriptions. That's something. You should amend your entry accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Steve Horowitz at 1:25 stated: "Achieving tenure is a matter of meeting the school's criteria. Research schools like Duke normally put a great deal of weight on peer-reviewed scholarship/artistic work with notably less on teaching and service. Teaching-oriented schools (like mine) put teaching first, but still expect some level of scholarly engagement as demonstrated in peer-reviewed work. We also tend to value service more highly."

His statement, while not incorrect, doesn't really capture the machinations of achieving tenure. Achieving tenure is often, but not always, the ability to navigate successfully the politics of a department and being on the right side of those who wield the power in the departments. It helps to have a curriculum vitae filled with publications, lectures, and conferences to show that one is active in the field, to justify a tenured appointment to the upper administration, who usually do not judge quality.

Many an outstanding candidate in academia has not received tenure because he or she did not play the political game or played it incorrectly. It is not at all uncommon for those who make the tenure decisions to eliminate outstanding candidates for fear of being overshadowed academically.
In achieving tenure, it sometimes helps to have a PhD from an esteemed university, as did Lubiano.

Unfortunately, peer review in many fields has become review by those who think like you and want to promote your cause or theory, rather than any meaningful review of the merit of the scholarship.

mac said...

KC,
I think you must be getting their goats: makes 'em angry when their attempts to reason are quashed so thoroughly.

Your response to 12:37 is somewhat evidenced by UVA students' dicomfiture at the prospect of a mere fundraiser being given a place of residence on the Jefferson's Lawn. (In that case, they may well be right!)

Looking forward to the book!

Ralph Phelan said...

"In general, do I think that "administration is a sign of academic heavy hitting???!!!!" It's my impression that at very elite universities frown upon having non-scholars in key administrative posts."

My observations of departmental politics at MIT was that busy researchers considered involvement with running the department an annoyance, and that departmental involvement was inversely correlated with the health of a professor's research endeavors. In the extreme case what you wind up with is *former* scholars in key administrative posts. Case in point - in the late 70s & early 80s Bob Birgeneau was a mediocre (by MIT standars, that is) physics professor who was not particularly popular with students (if I were British I might use the phrase "toffee-nosed git.") He went on to be physics department chairman, dean of science, president of the University of Toronto and now chancellor of UC Berkely. He essentially shifted into a primarily administrative career path with a little research on the side.

Steven Horwitz said...

Anon at 150 asks:

In all candor, how did someone as intellectually deficient and academically incompetent as Professor Holloway manage to get an endowed chair?

Well, looking at her list of publications, I see 5 single-authored books and 1 co-authored book over a 20 year period. Four are with university presses (3 at Rutgers, 1 at Duke) and the other two are at Greenwood, which is a respectable academic press.

I see 31 articles/chapters, a good number of which appear to be in scholarly journals, presumably peer-reviewed.

She has been extraordinarily active in very high level service to Duke, especially for someone with a strong record of scholarship and teaching two courses a semester. She is also recognized outside of Duke by various organizations. Her books have received strong reviews and one is in a second printing.

If the journals she's published in are recognized as top ones, I would call her scholarly record a quite strong one - 6 books and 31 articles in 20 years. Throw her service on top of that, and you have someone worthy of high recognition by the institution.

Again, NONE of this is to say a word about the particular *content* of her scholarship because that's not the issue. Rewards in academia go by peer-recognition. Our "reputation" in those areas is the analogue of economic net worth. Whatever you or I may think of her views of literature, race, or gender (and my guess is that I'd agree with not many of them), I don't find it surprising at all that she has an endowed chair. If she's a good classroom teacher, she's really an all-around player - scholarship, service, teaching.

That she threw some Duke students under the bus is a very bad thing and makes me think a lot less of her as a person, but that's not what matters for endowed chairs. Plenty of jerks have 'em!

Ralph Phelan said...

"I equally suspect Antonio Viega has an excellent career to look forward to."

Sadly, that's probably true. Not being a great fan of the "argument from authority," either personal or institutional, I consider that not a validation of Viega but rather an indictment of modern academia.

Anonymous said...

"Professor Horwitz

In all candor, how did someone as intellectually deficient and academically incompetent as Professor Holloway manage to get an endowed chair?"

To 1:50 p.m.: The same way Chauncey Nartey was showered with honors. How the prestige of endowed chairs has been cheapened!

KC Johnson said...

To the 2.11:

Actually, the blog currently averages around 6000 unique visitors and 8500 page hits per day.

Steven Horwitz said...

217 is correct that the reality of the tenure and promotion process is often highly political. My point in my summary was to present it how it is laid out in various faculty handbooks.

How it plays out in the very real world of academia, as KC's own case illustrates, is, in many cases, another story.

Anonymous said...

Earlier comment: "Unfortunately, peer review in many fields has become review by those who think like you and want to promote your cause or theory, rather than any meaningful review of the merit of the scholarship..."

My comment: Kinda just like being "peer-reviewed" if you're the Durham Cop Shop!

Ralph Phelan said...

Steve Horwitz:

"She is also recognized outside of Duke by various organizations. Her books have received strong reviews and one is in a second printing.

If the journals she's published in are recognized as top ones, I would call her scholarly record a quite strong one - 6 books and 31 articles in 20 years. Throw her service on top of that, and you have someone worthy of high recognition by the institution.

Again, NONE of this is to say a word about the particular *content* of her scholarship because that's not the issue. Rewards in academia go by peer-recognition. Our "reputation" in those areas is the analogue of economic net worth. Whatever you or I may think of her views of literature, race, or gender (and my guess is that I'd agree with not many of them), I don't find it surprising at all that she has an endowed chair. "

By this model (which I agree is an accurate description of how things currently work), a few universities could establish departments of Astrology, set up journals, give good and bad ratings to each other's department members based on how well they fit the consensus view of what constitutes "good astrology," and ultimately produce a few "heavy hitters." Under the current system they would then expect to be treated with the same respect a "heavy hitter" from physics, economics, or history would.

Should they be? If not, why should someone designated a "heavy hitter" by the MLA be given such respect?

Academia needs to add to its system of checks and balances some mechanism whereby different departments and research areas rate each other as wholes.

If the economists laugh at your field because you're still reading Marx, scholars from other fields should get to take scholars from yours less seriously. If the psychologists laugh at your field because you're still reading Freud, scholars from other fields should get to take scholars from yours less seriously. If a physicist can get a piece of total bulls$!t published in one of your journals without anyone noticing, scholars from other fields should get to take scholars from yours less seriously. Such judgements should be reflected in the relative influence of different departments in university governemce in general and funding in particular.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, most of us come here to read KC's articles, while skipping the blog comments section. I doubt the good Lord himself could get KC's goat. Bloggers here are another story - you can always tell when a nerve is hit. They reveal themselves quickly.

Ralph Phelan said...

Anonymous 2:27 writes

"Unfortunately, peer review in many fields has become review by those who think like you and want to promote your cause or theory, rather than any meaningful review of the merit of the scholarship. "

That's what I was getting at. What mechanism could the university as a whole use to recognize and de-certify fields that have become, in essence, one great big "citation circle?"

Anonymous said...

To Prof. Horwitz and the anonymous at 2:17 PM: On behalf of many of us non-academicians, thank you for explaining those things.

RRH

Anonymous said...

Are we going to be missing another installment of Inmans life history today? Is it still be composed?

Anonymous said...

And the 2:15 comment? That you won't clarify or amend your entry to state that no non-tenure stream faculty or administrative employees have the power to craft tenure-track job descriptions or vote on tenure-stream faculty seems indicative of how you go about arguing. You do not make clear the appointments that each of these scholars hold and argue accordingly. Quite frankly, I doubt everything you write now.

Ralph Phelan said...

Steve Horwitz 1:25

"Research schools like Duke normally put a great deal of weight on peer-reviewed scholarship/artistic work with notably less on teaching and service. "

Undergrad lore at MIT has it that tenure review committees take an old-fashioned two-pan lab scale, copies of all your publications, copies of all your teaching awards, and a brick. If your publications outweigh the brick, you're. But for every teaching award you have, they add another brick.

KC Johnson said...

To the 2.56:

The intro to the Group profile thread will stay as is. When next week's profile appears, Viego's will be the only link added, to avoid any confusion. As I said before, in conceiving of this series, I had not planned on doing a post on these 20 people, and had done today's post only to disprove the claim that the series had profiled marginal members of the Group.

As to the crafting issue: Hovsepian is, essentially, a permanent member of the department. Does the Sociology chairman ask her and her alone (she seems to be the dept's only permanent "visiting" prof) to leave the department meeting when they discuss crafting future lines?

Steven Horwitz said...

KC at 304:

This indeed is the problem with "permanent visitors" - the occupy an unclear place. If they are long-term "clinical professor" types, especially spousal appointments, my guess is that they are, in fact, treated like tenure-line faculty and probably do play a role in hiring. If they are expected to be there indefinitely, it makes sense.

This is why getting at the nitty-gritty of these things requires more than just looking at titles, no matter what side you're on.

Anonymous said...

You would have to ask the Chair of Sociology, not me. In my department? Yes, those folks are asked to leave.

When we vote on tenure cases, untenured and non-tenure stream faculty are asked to leave.

When we vote for promotion to full, all non-full faculty are asked to leave. Only named chairs, the Dean, and the Provost have say in the appointment to a named chair.

I know of no standards of practice at US universities that designate otherwise.

I didn't think you would clarify or amend your comments, given your past rhetorical and argumentative strategies.

KC Johnson said...

To Steve:

Precisely. I'm obviously not familiar with the description of positions at all institutions, but I've never seen another University (and certainly not an elite one) that describes what are effectively permanent members of the department as "visiting professors."

At CUNY, such people would be called adjuncts or lecturers.

Hovsepian obviously wouldn't have a vote on final hires, and I apologize for suggesting otherwise (I simply carried over the generic description I had written for the series as a whole).

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.12:

Since you have chosen not to identify yourself, it is difficult to comment on your claim about how your department does or does not operate.

Anonymous said...

KC,

Enjoyed your responses to the irrational and overly-emotional blowhards! A nice,new dimension! I had been thinking to myself, "What would KC do?" in response to these retarded posts. Keep it up! Really enjoyed your comments today, as well as your wonderful profile. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ralph Phelan at 2:57 p.m. said: "My observations of departmental politics at MIT was that busy researchers considered involvement with running the department an annoyance, and that departmental involvement was inversely correlated with the health of a professor's research endeavors."

There are notable exceptions to this and some amazing people who manage to juggle academics and administration successfully, but I do think that you have hit on one reason the agenda-driven faculty are filling administrative posts. Because serious researchers have tremendous time commitments and don't have the time to become as involved in the politics of their departments or universities, a wide opening is left for those with political agendas to fill the administrative positions at the departmental and dean level. A great shame.

I think that some of the Gang of 88 simply had too much time on their hands and spent it espousing their causes on campus and waiting for opportunities to arise to push their agendas. A lot of the scholarship produced by the pseudo-researchers among them is merely a stringing together of jargon and attaching it to a trendy, politcally correct topic and doesn't take a great deal of mental effort. It's easy to produce a lot of books and papers doing that (words, words, words), and it's not too difficult to find publishers, including university presses, for junk research and scholarship, especially when the work is race-class-gender related and judged by your peers.

I'm eagerly awaiting KC's blog on Duke Press.

One Spook said...

Anon (again) at 3:12 comments:

"I didn't think you would clarify or amend your comments, given your past rhetorical and argumentative strategies."

This silly dig along with all the others you have juxtaposed in your comments ignores a basic lesson you have not learned from reading this Blog:
KC is NOT a member of the Klan of 88, and therefore does not offer a dialogue and then hide like a coward. He participates in reasonable discourse.

Accordingly, KC will (and in fact does)clarify, amend, discuss, amplify, and indeed, APOLOGIZE, for his statements, unlike the Klan of 88 and many of its sympathizers we have seen here.

*********

On a related subject, for those of us who work in the real world 12 months a year and cannot spend the amount of time here that some of you can, it is necessary to keep the big picture in mind.

Those of us who are non-academic types are probably less concerned about who attends what portions of faculty meetings, the "academic food chain," and how tough it is to pass a "peer" review by several indivuduals with the exact same ideological DNA as the person being reviewed.

Many of us are interested in why 88 professors formed a Klan worthy of a 19th century lynch mob and threw a group of students under a bus; what those individuals teach and why, and how that relates to their obvious abandonment of traditional ethics and values of the academy.

Can you Klan of 88 folks and sympathizers who drop by here answer some of those questions for the rest of us peasants?

One Spook

mac said...

In some small liberal arts colleges, it's considered (by a few I've spoken with) to be a nuisance to be a dept. chair. More work, more headaches.

I've only taught two college courses, and they did not require degrees (they were non-academic courses, and I was an underling for the real professor.) I've also taught some courses in a trade school.

Teaching was fun, I loved teaching, and people who think teaching is easy haven't tried it.
The problem I discovered is that every question a student asked led to yet another question I wanted an answer to: I stopped teaching (in the trade school) because I recognized my field was open to frauds, quacks and silliness that made (and make) all of us look bad.

I won't teach again until I can get substantive answers to many of my questions.

Understandable that in "new" fields (ethnic studies, gender studies etc.) it's hard to distinguish between those who are representations of Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters,) and real-life scholars.

I'd say the Ghostbusters phenomenon is pretty well represented at Duke and other universities (now, perhaps Cornell?)

inman said...

Gregory @ 11:22

Just read your faith-based initiative. Damn fine work. When I got to the end I was stunned,...

NOTE: K.C. Johnson will accept a paper in lieu of taking the final end-term examination. All opinions and parodies contained herein are my own and should not be attributed to reasonable people.]

...for I had just sent my term-paper to KC by e-mail without even knowing the due date. Un-fuggin-believeble. I'd been reading some of Farred's stuff and wrote about what I read, but it was way too long to post.

Anonymous said...

Grerory - You are TOO much. Can't wait for Part III.

Steven Horwitz said...

One Spook asks:


Can you Klan of 88 folks and sympathizers who drop by here answer some of those questions for the rest of us peasants?


Not if you talk to us like that.

Anonymous said...

...the reason fights in academia are so viscious is becuase so little is at stake.

Anonymous said...

To Inman @ 4:19 - You are the veritable "curve buster," and I think I can speak for myself in saying, behind your back, of course, "K.C., Inman was cheating off Mac, One Spook and Debrah's papers."

_______________

To Professor Horwitz: I tried to re-write One Spooks' question, which is worthy of a response and with Gang of 88 types flitting around the board, this may be the opportunity, but I could not do it without being either sarcastic, derogatory or mean-spirited. Could you please pose that question (or those questions) in non-combustible prose?
_______________

My all-time favorite haiku:

Autumn Pikachu,
Millennial Postmodernity,
Vagina Study.

--Author unknown

________________

About K.C. Johnson: "It's a radiation vibe he's groving on." Fountains of Wayne. MOO! Gregory

hman said...

Hiring Faculty Spouses, Irony, and Rumors of Patriarchy.

First of all, KC did not say, "Wife-hiring", he said spouse-hiring.
And since there is not and never was an actual "patriarchy" in human society, we must look deeper to understand the irony of which he speaks.
The gang of 88 and their ilk spend a good part of their time railing against the supposed "priviledge" that comes along automatically from belonging to certain sub-sets of society. Democratic justice would logically point to ending all that and instead moving towards a society where individuals are judged and hired and promoted on the basis of individual effort and acquired mastery.
So, you would give someone an academic post because of who they are sleeping with?
If irony was a snake you would already have been bitten.

Duke Alum '91 said...

I strongly disagree with the statements by the Group of 88 and have stated as much in private forums with people connected to some of these faculty and have done so for many months. I have also known Ms. Light and her family and they are good, decent people that I am proud to call friends.

Some of the rabid comments on here are truly unfair and in some cases are only a step below the signs held aloft by the potbangers. Reveling in this hate does nothing to advance the dialogue, whether it is from the left or the right.

For those of you who have chosen to revel in attacks rather than engage in discussion, I hope that you will examine your thoughts and statements and perhaps come to a different conclusion - which is the same hope I expressed for the Group of 88 a long time ago.

inman said...

7:25

It is clear that your statements are heartfelt and that you wish for the best. But without specifics (numerous so that a generalization is warranted), I must disregard you plea. As a Duke grad, surely you can coherently argue the facts.

Facts and truth....that, in part, is the theme of this particular forum. Grace us with you argument and its underlying support.

duke alum 91 said...

You want facts and truth, truth and facts?

"I'd love to see how these mental midgets would fare in the real world."

"Besides, how can anyone really justify the presence of any of these apparently stupid and provably un-productive malcontents on the faculty rolls of an allegedly elite University?"

"In all candor, how did someone as intellectually deficient and academically incompetent as Professor Holloway manage to get an endowed chair?"

"Many of us are interested in why 88 professors formed a Klan worthy of a 19th century lynch mob and threw a group of students under a bus"

These are but a few quotes in the comments to just this post by KC. Comparing members of the 88 to the Klan and using names such as mental midgets and stupid does nothing to further a cogent point.

There is a sense of glee that can be detected in some of these posts. A "hooray for our side" attitude that we see far too often in social politics. When we fail to respect those people with whom we disagree, democracy itself is endangered. I disagree with the ads that were posted by the Group of 88 and the Shut Up and Teach forum infuriates me. However, the reason it infuriates me is because it is so one-sided. Whether we are in a university or a digital town hall, everyone should have their say and everyone should respect the others' opinion unless it counsels hate of groups or injury to others.

Hopefully, this answers your questions Inman. If it appears disjointed or insufficient, blame it on a long day and a lack of proofreading.

Anonymous said...

The Group of 88 for hate -- except for those very few who have differentiated themselves -- must be labeled as what they are, haters. To the extent possible it is necessary to nip in the bud that which they will attempt: to roll their defense into ongoing offense against their favored targets. As it is, it is a scandal that such civically obtuse and destructive persons will be in positions teach the young and to decide tenure. And lessons must be learned: how did they get where they are, and how can the system be reformed to punish rather than reward such hatemongering as theirs?

inman said...

Dear duke alum 91,

Thank you. You have enumerated comments that on their surface are consistent with your thesis that they are not worthy of respect. Since I don't know their immediate context and I find you (so far) sincere, I will assume that the immediate context also did not polish the comment to being worthy of respect.

But in all fairness, some of the things said here have a context beyond the then curent statement. That may be a weak defense of otherwise inappropriate invective, but then again, many have taken the other side of the argument as well.

But your accumen and sharp eye are noted.

And I'm sure that noone on this blog would judge you anything other than someone speaking the truth as they know it.

Best regards.

Another Duke '91 said...

Would like to echo the sentiments of Duke alum '91.

I disagree with her signing the statement, but...If Caroline Light is anything like she was in college, she is one of the most humorous human beings around (immensely intelligent and competent too).

Anonymous said...

Steven Horwitz> Thanks for the summary on the professorial hierarchy. Had all the info I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

10:01 & 7:25 Maybe you can call up your friend Ms. Light and suggest to her that what she did (and continues to fail to disclaim) makes her look like a greedy social opportunist?

Ralph Phelan said...

Duke alum 91

Please explain to me what is innacurate about the summary "88 professors formed a Klan worthy of a 19th century lynch mob and threw a group of students under a bus."

You say:
"Whether we are in a university or a digital town hall, everyone should have their say and everyone should respect the others' opinion unless it counsels hate of groups or injury to others.
Sounds like a pretty good description of the ads and the demonstrations to me.

" I have also known Ms. Light and her family and they are good, decent people that I am proud to call friends."
How can a decent person not apologize for such an unjustified and injurious act as signing that ad?

Ralph Phelan said...

another duke '91 said:
"I disagree with her signing the statement, but...If Caroline Light is anything like she was in college, she is one of the most humorous human beings around (immensely intelligent and competent too). "
If this is true, we've got another interesting phenomenon needing explaining: Why did intelligent people do something so stupid, and why do decent people still not apologize for doing something that it's now clear was horribly wrong?

Or is it that a few years in academia can turn a previously decent person into a vindictive ideologue?

Of course, the fact that you said "I disagree with her signing..." rather than "I am appalled by her signing..." leads me to suspect that your value system is sufficiently different from mine that I'll have to take your character and intelligence estimates with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

Regarding spousal hires, how often are the roles reversed, i.e., husbands follow wives?

duke alum '91 said...

11:58 - Perhaps I was a bit obtuse in my original comment. I and did just that along with other members of my Band of Brothers. We suggested many months ago, before the Clarifying Statement, that a restatement and an apology was in order, even if it was done as part of a statement that racism and sexism are a problem at Duke and in Durham (and the rest of the country), but that this was not the correct vehicle to discuss it. Sadly, our suggestions were not followed.

I do not know the other 87, but I have never known Ms. Light to be a "greedy social opportunist." I believe that she believes in her position. I also believe that she was in a difficult situation. When Waheema signaled with hat in hand, I would imagine that it was very difficult not to march along with arms locked firm and tight.

While I disagree with her position, I do not and will not disrespect her or her fellow members. To borrow from Voltaire (?), while I disapprove of what they say, but I will defend to the death their right to say it.

Ralph Phelan said...

" I believe that she believes in her position."
In which case the "being in academia too long turns you into a vindictive ideologue" hypothesis is the correct one.

" When Waheema signaled with hat in hand, I would imagine that it was very difficult not to march along with arms locked firm and tight. "
If her boss inimidated her into signing something she did not believe, then your quoting of Voltaire on freedom of speech is singularly inappropriate.

So why hasn't she apologized - is there still risk of incurring the wrath of Waheema and destroying her craeer prospects at Duke if she does?

Duke '92 Grad said...

Let me join in the chorus by my fellow Band of Brothers who condemn these kinds of personal attacks on the Group of 88. I too disagree with the tactics and decisions made by these professors, and seriously question whether their academic reputation suffers as a result of their continued defense of their position.

However, the positions taken here, both by Mr. Johnson (who should know better) and the posters above are demonstrably wrong:

1. The value of a professor is not measured by the volume of publications they have produced alone. A great academic is defined by a commitment to scholarly research and the development of his or her field, and the ability to communicate such the fruits of their scholarship through either (i) teaching or (ii) publishing. To presume that a professor lacks merit for lack of scholarship denies the true value to any student in that professor's class -- the innate ability to teach. After all, that's why they are there in the first place.

2. The presumption that a narrow focus compromises academic merit is similarly misplaced, even where such narrow focus is confined to the fringe of mainstream academia. While we can debate the merits of isolating important research into self-selecting departments, it is precisely this kind of "fringe" research that advances our understanding of more mainstream subjects. For example, without the kind of feminist scholarship produced by academics in the 1960s, the kind of groundbreaking research of the French Revolution produced by Lynn Hunt would have been unthinkable.

Mike Lee said...

I love the fact that supporters of the 88 quickly critique KC's posts and ask that he correct or make changes to things they feel are incorrect or improper.

It makes me wonder why there was no correction or retraction of the phrase, "what happened to this young woman."

Perhaps once the 88 retract, correct, ior apologize for their statements (as 1,000 Duke students have requested) we can move on the to the subject of KC's posts. I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Why should anybody "respect" a professor like Caroline Light who openly, very disrespectfully heckles invited speakers and praises students for doing so? So she's sincere? Then she's a sincere proto-fascist or crypto-fascist or whatever. How sad for her that she's under fellow extremist Waheema's thumb. What a pathetic bunch of people.

Ralph Phelan said...

The early-90s graduates of Duke have come up with an interesting new variant on the old ad-hominen. Instead of making unsupported assertions that KC is a bad person they're making unsupported assertions that members of the 88 are nice people. I've never seen this particular fallacy used before, so they get points for originality.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.33:

Since you say that I should "know better" than to disagree with you, I'd invite you to point to any post or comment that I have made that expresses disagreement with your two propositions.

One point, however:

"A great academic is defined by a commitment to scholarly research and the development of his or her field, and the ability to communicate such the fruits of their scholarship through either (i) teaching or (ii) publishing. To presume that a professor lacks merit for lack of scholarship denies the true value to any student in that professor's class -- the innate ability to teach. After all, that's why they are there in the first place."

That statement perfectly summarizes the tenure philosophy of an elite liberal arts institution like Williams (perhaps one reason why both Steve Horowitz and I have pointed out, several times, that students might very well get higher quality educations at such schools than at Tier I research institutions).

I don't believe, however, that it accurately summarizes the tenure philosophy at Duke--or at an Ivy League school, or Stanford. Someone who is a great teacher but who is unwilling or unable to "communicate such the fruits of their scholarship through . . .(ii) publishing" won't get tenure at most Tier I research institutions.

As to point two: "The presumption that a narrow focus compromises academic merit is similarly misplaced, even where such narrow focus is confined to the fringe of mainstream academia," I'd invite you to reread the post, which says, "It’s the nature of a quality liberal arts education to expose students to research interests that might be considered fringe."

Duke '92 Grad said...

A few responses:

1. Neither I nor my fellow Duke grads who have posted above support the Group of 88 or their position. We have collectively called for them to apologize for what was an unfortunate rush to judgment. To say otherwise is a a complete distortion of what we have said here.

2. KC's point about Williams is well-taken and, given my own mediocre experience at Duke, likely the case. However, the criteria I set forth regarding the definition of a great academic came from the mouth of a very senior Duke professor. I can further attest to the fact the many Duke professors do not publish, or do so infrequently. Indeed, many of my best professors at Duke were not prolific writers.

3. Fringe scholarship, as KC notes, is important. Moreover, the kind of passionate defense that Prof. Light no doubt engaged in when she confronted a conservative adversary should be encouraged. Knowing Caroline, I seriously doubt that she was booing from the back -- she was likely making a forceful argument in defense of her position. That is precisely the kind of free and open debate colleges should foster.

4. Where the Group of 88 erred was in their decision to hijack the criminal investigation to serve their own academic purposes. In doing so, they presumed that the lacrosse players were guilty of some crime. No doubt, their silence today in defense of what they did can be interpreted to mean that they still believe that the lacrosse players are guilty. And given the context in which this party took place from a racial, gender and class perspective, it's not difficult to understand why they continue to take this position. However, the Group's conduct had another, albeit unintended, effect. The Group's advertisement (perhaps unintentionally) clothed Nifong's investigation in academic respectability and, simultaneously, neutered Duke's Administration from taking a more nuanced stand. I believe that these actions helped prolong the Defendants' ordeal. Sometimes, we need to apologize for the unitended consequences of our actions, even if our hearts were in the right place.

Anonymous said...

From someone who claims to have been a Duke grad in '92, but who has since lost touch with reality:

"No doubt, their silence today in defense of what they did can be interpreted to mean that they STILL BELIEVE that the lacrosse players are guilty. And given the context in which this party took place from a racial, gender and class perspective, it's not difficult to understand why they CONTINUE TO TAKE THIS POSITION." (emphasis added) (insanity not).

Perhaps instead of looking at the party from the context of "racial, gender and class perspective," your chums should look at it from an EVIDENCE "perspective."

Or, they could look at it in a "not lynching their students" context, or, possibly, from an "innocent until proven guilty" perspective.

When you use the phrase "it's not difficult to understand why," then I lose patience with you. You obviously share with the Klan of 88 the same inability to avoid looking at evidence and/or reason.

Therefore, I guess you and your early-90s duke buddy and I will have to agree to disagree:

I think Light was a "greedy social opportunist." You think she was a backbone-less pawn intimidated by Lubiano into lynching students.
______________

"If K.C. Johnson didn't exist, we would have had to invent him." USDOJ Report (June 2007). MOO! Gregory

KC Johnson said...

To the 4.17:

I have no doubt that you're correct and many Group members continue to believe the lacrosse players guilty. That's frightening--given that one job of any professor is to dispassionately evaluate evidence.

On scholarship and Duke profs: having looked through the CV's of all the Group members, only one in the Humanities or Social Sciences (Lubiano) received tenure without publishing a monograph. The issue here might be how "prolific writer" is defined. It's clear that all profs at Duke are expected to publish to receive tenure.

On Light's heckling: this is actually an interesting free speech/1st amendment issue. But in general, colleges and Universities have official policies forbidding heckling--Light's behavior almost certainly violated the (never-enforced) Fac. Handbook. For a good summary of the issue (outside of a Duke perspective), see here.

duke alum '91 said...

I am not sure how all of this morphed into whether or not Caroline is a good person or good professor from my original point that name calling and bashing of others is without merit regardless of who is doing it to whom. As Duke 92 stated, no one here has stated that what she did was correct. Further, I believe, and I have stated in the past that I thought she had a duty to publicly renounce the ad, even if it was done while simultaneously stating that Nifong's nefarious actions were did not change the fact that there are serious issues of sexism and racism that are still prevalent at Duke, in Durham and in the USA.

I, personally, fully support KC and thank the heavens for what he has done. One of his great gifts has been his ability to stick to the facts and to let others hang themselves with their own statements and actions. I applaud KC and am kissing up on purpose because I believe that he has done this country a great service. My "beef" was with posters who chose to wallow in the gutters of name calling for shock value and pithiness instead of having the courage to enter into a real discussion of meaning and substance.

Duke '92 Grad said...

Please leave the Klan out of it. I believe the English language is rich enough to disparage an adversary without reference to that noxious movement.

Besides, we're on the same side here. You want them to apologize and so do I. But instead of viewing the Group of 88 as a non-thinking hate group (which, btw, is the same thing many did in this case vis-a-vis the lacrosse team), you might just try to appreciate their side a bit. You might even learn something.

Let's say that no rape was ever alleged. Let's also say that no racist language was ever used. Let's even say that no underage drinking occurred and that an assault was never threatened. Let's just take the single fact that a group of Duke students hired two black strippers. Sure, that's not a crime, but the Group of 88 never said it was. Their point, I assume, is that this party contributed to the inequality in society between classes, races, and genders. Stripping is demeaning to women, particularly so where the women are black and the men are white.

Imagine for a minute how this story must have made black female students at Duke feel. The campus already has significant race and gender issues to deal with without a bunch of white guys paying a black girl to take her clothes off. Simply put, this is the kind of social behavior that should be, and rightly was, condemned. In this regard, the Group of 88's concerns were well-placed. By ignoring or trivializing this point, you weaken our common goal.

inman said...

6:03

What the students had agreed to pay --when they made their hire -- was two Caucasian strippers. The breach of contract by the escort service was the initial problem.

And if the behavior of other people is so easily transmitted and accepted as a part of a Duke student's identity, then those student's have more serious problems and psychiatric or identity issues.

"Imagine for a minute how this story must have made black female students at Duke feel. The campus already has significant race and gender issues to deal with without a bunch of white guys paying a black girl to take her clothes off."

The perceived relationship between the students and the strippers should be about the same as the strippers and me. Zero. The logical extension of your argument is that I should feel some connection between me and white evil ... such as Hitler, Escobar, Dahmer, etc. And yes, while I can think about their evil, I'm not sure I will ever understand it, and importantly, I in no way think it reflects on me solely because they were white and I am white. Further, the next logical step is that I should feel some connection with not just white evil, but also human evil, as a human. I am a human after all...surely the collective conscious extends to me and my identity. So are you suggesting that Dafur should in some way reflect on my id, my ego my super ego or whatever identity theory or politics du jour suggests. Am I also to feel some connection and responsibility for global warming (assuming it exists, in fact)?

Anonymous said...

We have no common goal.

I believe that Black female Duke students have enough backbone to withstand the fact that legal activities were occurring somewhere in Durham on March 13, 2007. Will they be able to get over you coddling them? Will they look back and appreciate your racist or misogynist belief that they are that delicate and frail? Good god, these are thinking and breathing people with will and backbone, not teacups. Give them some credit.

P.S. I have more backbone than you attribute to Light, as I will continue to use the words "lynch" and "Klan" to describe how the Klan of 88 attempted to lynch the innocent Duke students. The evidence proves it. And the Gang of 88 continues to fail to disprove it.
____________

"The classic pincer movement that ended the Battle of the Bulge had the U.S. 7th Army on the left flank, K.C. Johnson on the right." I CAN'T EVEN SPELL RETREET, at p. 50 (G. Patton, 1946). MOO! Gregory

Mike Lee said...

Duke 92....OK OK, we get it, we get it, we get it. The 88 were trying to do something good. They were probably even right to do so, although the ad in the Chronicle certainly wasn't the best way to do it.

But the fact that they worded their ad so poorly is/was/and always will be pathetic and weak. The continued refusal to apologize for that is spineless and inexcusable.

Many people were surely outraged by the hiring of these women (even though the players did not request black women) and perhaps rightfully so. But these Professors screwed up. It's a fact and it's clear for all the world to see. Their unwillingness to admit it has cost them their reputations in my opinon. As a result they have brought shame to your alma mater.

While I am completely against any name calling and personal attacks of any sort, I can also understand why many people attack them. I personally won't do it and feel it demeans me, but the 88 deserve all the scorn they receive in my opinion.

Duke '92 Grad said...

Anonymous, you are so blinded by the self-perceived righteousness of your cause that your argument suffers as a result.

You argue that we should look only to facts. Well, let's see what the evidence proves here. The facts show that a large number of Duke students were greatly troubled by what happened at that lacrosse party -- many remain so today, despite the fact that we all now know that no rape occurred. By simply ignoring this fact (or, worse, arguing that those who feel troubled should "just get over it"), you help to perpetuate the many racist and sexist problems that exist in our society today.

Moreover, the fact that the team intended to hire white strippers doesn't excuse anything. First, the very act of hiring a stripper is arguably demeaning to women and runs a great risk of offending half of Duke's student population. Yes, it's legal, but that doesn't make it moral and certainly doesn't make anyone who hires a stripper immune from being called a sexist. Second, despite this so-called "breach of contract" (btw, is there any proof of this?), the students showed incredibly poor judgment in proceeding as planned. To his immense credit, Reade Seligmann appreciated this fact and left the party. He was uncomfortable with this situation. You should be too.

Mike Lee said...

I agree with much of what you say Duke 92. But what's the major difference here? The lacrosse team has acknowledged their behavior was out of line and they screwed up, which was plain to any objective observer.

The 88 on the other hand say nothing of the sort. In fact, they were right all along even though their "narrative" as it were was based on a lie. What's worse, they put out a second statement affirming their and now refuse to speak about their positions at all and claim victimhood.

While you;re right many Duke students may have been outraged at the lacrosse party. Let me ask you this...did 1,000 of them feel strongly enough to take out an ad demanding an apology?

The players apologized and asked forgiveness. The 88 thumbed their noses. Pretty sad for a group of distinguished professors if you ask me.

KC Johnson said...

To the 7.02:

As we know now, there were women's teams and sororities at Duke who hired male strippers. I suspect the Group of 88 has no problems with that behavior.

There were 21 other stripper parties at Duke in the 2005-6 academic year (before the lacrosse party). I was stunned when I found this out: it suggested, to me, a perfectly legitimate "campus culture" question worth exploring: how could otherwise smart college students even think hiring strippers was remotely acceptable behavior?

But that, of course, wasn't the way either the adm. or the Group of 88 framed the question--the decision to stack the CCI, for instance, with extremist critics of the team is a good example. So I agree with you that problems remain, but believe that it's not Duke's critics who are responsible for perpetuating those problems.

One other issue on the party. Each college, obviously, has different schedules. I didn't know Duke's schedule when this case emerged (we were in school at the time). So I initially assumed that this was a group of students who held a wild party on a schoolnight. My interpretation changed dramatically when I learned the party happened during spring break.

For better or worse (I would say worse, obviously), lots of college students engage in tasteless behavior over spring break. It's hard to imagine even extremists like the Group of 88 taking out a denunciatory ad against students engaged in underaged drinking or raunchy behavior in Cancun or Myrtle Beach.

In the Yaeger/Pressler book, Ruth Sheehan rebuked the Duke officials for not "spinning" the players' side of the story in late March/early April. This was one fact that it was vital to have gotten out--in terms of popular image, a schoolnight party and a spring break party are very different.

inman said...

KC...

That is the first time I've heard that there were so many other parties at which strippers performed.

7:02

You have convinced me that your intellect is severely constrained -- by what, I'll leave to you or others. But let's anlayze your thoughts. To wit:

"You argue that we should look only to facts." In fact, I don't recall a reference to facts per se -- I was referring to perception of facts.

You assert: "The facts show that a large number of Duke students were greatly troubled by what happened at that lacrosse party..." Huh? But not at all the other parties? Where were the pot bangers when other parties took place? Nothing happened that had not happened at 10's of thousands of parties across the country. Moral: Don't blame Duke University and Duke lacrosse. Maybe your moral compass is askew with modern society. Or if not, your challenge is so much larger that Duke.

Then you assert that by ignoring the so-called "fact" that I "...perpetuate the many racist and sexist problems that exist in our society today." Please educate me. To what problems are you referring? Left unsaid, I can't help you in your quest.

You say: "Moreover, the fact that the team intended to hire white strippers doesn't excuse anything." I was simply trying to assert that the team had some sense of taste. Sorry. That's life.

"First, the very act of hiring a stripper is arguably demeaning to women and runs a great risk of offending half of Duke's student population. Yes, it's legal, but that doesn't make it moral and certainly doesn't make anyone who hires a stripper immune from being called a sexist." How is the act of hiring demeaning? That's a commercial transaction, no different than buying a ticket to see an Oscar winning film. If you,...you in particular....don't like the film...then, don't buy the ticket. It seems that about 75% of your argument depends upon injecting the notion of morality into situations that others see as neither moral nor immoral, but "amoral." Look it up. Good and evil are not absolutes. If you continue to invest the notion of your absolutes into your arguments, even subliminally, then you weaken your own position.

Finally, I acknowledge that ... Reade Seligmann ... was uncomfortable with... the strippers and left accordingly.

I probably would have left, too. But not because of a moral judgment. They were simply a bad act. Now if Sally Rand were performing ... Sally Rand was art.

Ralph Phelan said...

"I am not sure how all of this morphed into whether or not Caroline is a good person or good professor from my original point that name calling and bashing of others is without merit regardless of who is doing it to whom."

Then you're pretty dense. Whether or not Caroline is a good person is directly related to the following questions:

(1) Whether or not the names she is being called are accurate. If so, why shouldn't they be used?

(2) Why she joined a lynch mob.

(3) Whether she should be teaching.

And yes, I do make the default assumption that anyone who joins a lynch mob is probably a bad person, until demonstrated otherwise (in which case they're just weak.)

AMac said...

The discussion here after the blog-caravan moved on to newer posts (say, 8/13/07 at noon) is one of the better ones at DiW. Thanks for Duke's Nineties Grads for weighing in, as well as DiW regulars and various anonymouses.

As always, gratitude for good Anon comments is tempered by annoyance, since they've made it impossible to follow their thoughts from comment to comment and thread to thread.

One common aspect to prolonged and complex controversies is that the original deeds get buried and half-forgotten. Sometimes this is purposeful--it can be very helpful to wrong-doers. Fortunately, blogging and hyperlinks make it easy to recall how things started.

In light of Duke grads' comments, it may be worth re-reading the Listening Statement. Its thesis:

"we [the sponsoring professors] are turning up the volume in a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait." [Is this reconciliable with respect for Due Process? With the demands of Duke's Faculty Handbook?]

The Listening Statement's points include:

* thanking protesters "for shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman."

* mirroring concerns about keeping "the young woman herself central to this conversation"

* applauding the claim "that the disaster didn't begin on March 13th [the date of the alleged rape] and won't end with what the police say or the court decides".

The statement ends with

"To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard." [This refers to the potbanging demonstrations where protesters carried posters saying such things as "CASTRATE" and "GET A CONSCIENCE NOT A LAWYER"].

Thus, the revisionist notion that the Listening Statement was not about the Lacrosse Rape Case is patently insupportable.

Caroline Light--to take one of the 88--signed this statement. Was that reprehensible? If so, may that be pointed out in polite company?

When we make mistakes (since we all do), what responsibilities must we shoulder to acknowlege them? To mitigate the harm done? To apologize?

Does Light have a pattern of engaging in intellectual bullying? This account of her disruption of David Horowitz's scheduled speech at Duke says 'yes'.

Light may cuddle with puppies, pick up litter in her neighborhood, be kind to some students. Are such good points a shield from criticism? If some of her opponents throw rude, angry, even vile words at her: does this immunize Light from thoughtful and fact-based reproofs?

Over-the-top critics are their own worst enemies (Godwin's Law). In the eyes of many, they justify the Group of 88's tactic of playing the Victim Card.

Instead of enabling this conduct, Light's suppporters should counsel her to rise above the invective, and begin her own version of a Twelve Step Program.

Ralph Phelan said...

Duke '92 grad said:
"Moreover, the kind of passionate defense that Prof. Light no doubt engaged in when she confronted a conservative adversary should be encouraged. Knowing Caroline, I seriously doubt that she was booing from the back -- she was likely making a forceful argument in defense of her position. That is precisely the kind of free and open debate colleges should foster."

See the link above (11:09 am)

"On cue, the group of T-shirted protesters burst into loud orchestrated giggles. These continued at pointed moments throughout the speech..."

"When their bouts of artificial derisory giddiness failed to have their desired effect, The Feminist Collective became more vocal, yelling rebukes at him. In a perfect Judo pivot, Horowitz turned the tables on his tenured hecklers and their obedient puppets: “Didn’t your mother teach you manners?” According to one of two front page stories about the speech in the campus newspaper, The Chronicle, “This drew an ovation from the rest of the audience."

And yes, she is listed as one of the organizers. Either she has changed since you knew her, or your idea of what constitutes proper academic debate is very different from mine.

Duke '92 Grad said...

AMac raises some very good points in his 8:59 post, and identifies the reason why many of my fellow alumni have called upon the Group of 88 to apologize for their conduct. Let me take them one at a time.

1. You highlight some of the more egregious quotes from the advert, and rightly so. Comments such as "what happened to this young woman" clearly presume guilt. While private citizens have no legal obligation to respect due process (just look at the popular opinion of OJ Simpson, and he was acquitted!), it is troubling that a significant percentage of Duke's faculty refused to give their own students the benefit of doubt at this early stage. While this is fodder for another conversation, it is more troubling to me that the Administration, which had been told on Day 1 of Magnum's conflicting stories as well as Durham PD's initial take that the complaint was not credible, chose to remain silent at first and enable to wrongful prosecution later. But as the Group of 88 no doubt teaches in their classes on racism and sexism, just because people in power (Nifong, Broadhead etc) have taken the wrong path, that does not excuse your complicit conduct. I believe that the Group of 88 prolonged the students' ordeal by lending academic credibility to Nifong's crusade. Whether or not that was intentional, certainly it deserves an apology.

2. I am troubled by the account of the protest to Horowitz's speech. However, it appears that Prof. Light was not in attendance it is unclear what degree of prior information she had, if any, about the nature of the protest. But, assuming that she condoned this kind of behavior, it does tend to confirm the worst suspicions about the level of academic integrity at Duke.

A few other comments about what was noted above:

1. The fact that other groups have hired strippers does not excuse the actions of the lacrosse team. Although the Group of 88 many not condemn the hiring of male strippers by women, they should. Although the same issue of power are not directly implicated by such conduct, the act (as amply demonstrated on this thread) lends credibility to the hiring of female strippers by men.

2. I am continually amazed that some of my fellow Americans do not agree that a group of mostly privileged white teenagers should not pay a poor black girl to take her clothes off for them. And that conclusion should not change, even if the girl were white and sober. That anyone would disagree with this point demonstrates, unfortuantely, why the kind of scholarship some of the Group of 88 engage in is still important.

3. There is a common misperception about the lacrosse team's apology. One would have thought that in the harsh cold light of morning, the team would have seen fit to apologize, if not act just a bit contrite for the disaster of the prior evening. They did not. Instead, the team gathered at a local bar to drink and chant "Duke Lacrosse". Only after parents and lawyers became deeply involved did the team apologize. Few here would forgive Nifong, despite his eventual and belated apology (again, once lawyers were engaged). I, and many other alumni, refuse to forgive the team for engaging in behavior that brought great shame to Duke.

My sincerest hope is that the University takes this opportunity to examine closely every aspect of its business. It is clear that the current Administration has failed Duke at its most critical moment. The reasons for that failure should be examined, and changes instituted so that in a future crisis, the Administration can respond more efficiently and effectively. So too should the University examine its academic faculty. For all of Duke's academic reputation, few Duke professors could be said to be "thought leaders" in their fields. Even the once great English department has been stripped bare by schools with lesser reputations, but perhaps a stronger commitment to academic excellence. Duke may consider itself the equal of the Ivies, but even the most cursory review of its faculty reveals itself to be a poor cousin (at best). Finally, Duke (and other schools) need to reconsider the decision to hide their social problems off campus. The fateful decision to ban alcohol at campus parties (where student parties took place under the watchful eye of the University) has led (as we predicted at the time) to the abandonment of low alcohol beer for high alcohol spirits and drugs. Duke can no longer afford to hide its rowdy culture in back street basements. Its social disaster -- as the Group of 88 said -- must be brought into the light of day and dealt with constructively if Duke is to survive as an elite institution in the coming years.

KC Johnson said...

To the 11.39:

A few quick replies:

I agree with most of what you say. On Light's attendance at the Horowitz talk--the Chronicle article suggested she was there, and part of the hecklers. (She never responded to requests from me for clarification.) In an interview with the Daily Tar Heel after the talk, she praised the hecklers.

This isn't unprecedented behavior--a group of students at Columbia did a similar thing when an anti-immigrant speaker gave a talk on campus earlier this year. But it's juvenile behavior--we should expect more from faculty.

This point: "There is a common misperception about the lacrosse team's apology. One would have thought that in the harsh cold light of morning, the team would have seen fit to apologize, if not act just a bit contrite for the disaster of the prior evening. They did not. Instead, the team gathered at a local bar to drink and chant "Duke Lacrosse". Only after parents and lawyers became deeply involved did the team apologize. Few here would forgive Nifong, despite his eventual and belated apology (again, once lawyers were engaged). I, and many other alumni, refuse to forgive the team for engaging in behavior that brought great shame to Duke."

I don't believe this statement is accurate. The captains apologized immediately--to Coach Pressler on March 15, to their parents on March 17, to senior administrators on March 24, and then in their public statement on March 28. The March 28 apology was not initiated by the attorneys. In fact, the Evanses were just in the process of hiring Joe Cheshire on the 28th.

It's also worth remembering that the non-captains had no role in organizing the party, so a "team" apology would have been inappropriate. [Why for instance, should Brad Ross--who was never there--have apologized? or Bo Carrington, who left early? Or Reade Seligmann, who came, didn't like what he saw, and left?]

The night after the party, the team did not gather "at a local bar to drink and chant "Duke Lacrosse"." The night after the party, there was a team event (with Pressler in attendance) at a local bowling alley.

The "Duke lacrosse" chant story, which allegedly occurred on the 25th or 26th, is vehemently disputed. The person who made the claim, Jill Hopman, stood by her story to me and seemed credible; an equally credible (non-lacrosse player) source who was in the bar that night strongly denied it. I wasn't there, so I've never either used the story or challenged Hopman.

But even assuming Hopman's story to be true, this wasn't a "team" event. There were only three Duke lacrosse players (all 21 or over) at the bar that night.

One final point: I hope that nothing in my comments earlier suggested I condoned the behavior. I didn't and don't.

My points on this issue have been two-fold:
(1) Ideologically, the fact that the Group of 88 never (to my knowledge) condemned spring break partying for other students, never said anything about other stripper parties, remained silent about the party last spring that resulted in a rape allegation, etc., calls into grave doubts their intentions in criticizing this and only this party.

(2) From a pragmatic angle: here I might be too pessimistic, but I think a college's power to control partying is limited, unless we're talking about religious-right schools, where those who don't conform to the religion can be expelled.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the posters of the last 20 or so messages; this has been one of the more insightful and critically reflective angles of the entire incident.

One comment KC mentioned earlier that bears repeating is that this was a party during Spring Break. I think that cuts both ways, though. While behavior that's completely out-of-bounds on a college campus is "condoned" (or ignored) during SB, part of this bargain is that it happens miles away from campus. For better or for worse, it's a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"/"Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" policy.

Bringing Cancun-style debauchery openly to the Duke campus would never be tolerated, though. This policy isn't open and honest, but it's an unstated trust between the students and administration. And one I expect the administration feels was violated by having this event take place so close to campus. The school really can't be seen as allowing Spring Break in Durham.

So while I can understand party defenders say "Hey, it's Spring Break. WTF?", I can also appreciate people wondering just what the hell these guys were thinking.

(That all said, none of the behavior justified the retaliation for it. Obviously.)

At any rate, I hope this latest discussion continues. It's been edifying.

- Duke '94

AMac said...

Duke '92 Grad 8/16/07 11:39am --

You make sensible points. Some I agree with, others not. For background, here are some comments I made in December 2006 that address some of the (mistaken, IMO) perspectives you appear to offer.

The meta-narrative I offer below has held up well in the ensuing eight months, I think. In contrast, the meta-narrative that Lubiano and her 87 co-singers subscribed to had already shattered when these remarks were penned--and has collapsed further since then (if such is possible). Yet logic and facts hold no sway against the powers of pride, the Gramscian Long March, and now, presumably, the fear of legal exposure. The Group of 88 and their enablers continue on, as if the Something That Happened was other than the Social Disaster that they helped to midwife.

From December:

Comment #12: The behavior of some Duke students, some Duke lacrosse players, and at least one of the three indicted players was ungentlemanly. But that phrase is not a euphemism for illegal. There’s no credible evidence that the lacrosse team’s party resulted in any criminal conduct other than underage drinking.

88 of Duke’s hard-left faculty paid to have a “Listening Statement” published that implicitly declared their indifference to evidence in a high-spririted rush to condemn the lacrosse team, and urge the harshest of punishments be bestowed on them. In the ensuing nine months, these faculty members and the prosecution’s other enablers have been just as indifferent to the massive and continuing violations of Due Process by D.A. Nifong and the Durham Police Department that are at the heart of this hoax.


Comment #83: As the father of a son at college, integrity rather than non-illegality is the standard of conduct I hope he aspires to (and he does).

If he should receive a summons for public urination, drunkenness, violating noise ordinances, or behaving obnoxiously towards neighbors–the accusations that have been leveled against lacrosse team members and Duke athletes generally–there would be a major reckoning to take place around the kitchen table.

If he were to do all that, and then throw a stripper party, and face 30 years in jail for a felony rape that obviously did not happen and that he clearly could not have committed, would I say, “payback’s a bitch!”? No. I’d do what the families of these students have done, and remortgage, and empty my retirement account.

The proper role of the criminal justice system is not to translate disdain into some variation of collective punishment. This is what D.A. Nifong has done, with the connivance of the Durham Police Department, the Duke Faculty Group of 88, the Durham branch of the NAACP, and others. I don’t think the other two accused men have the choir-boy attributes of Reade Seligmann, but the same principle applies.

It is quite wrong to suppose that there is some decent motive behind Nifong’s actions. A timeline of the case does not support that idea. Nifong decided that he needed certain things, among them victories in hotly contested primary and general elections, and he handled this case in such a way as to get them. What Nifong Wants For Himself continues to drive the proceedings.

The “perfect storm” was not about stripper parties. The baseball team had them (confirmed, newspaper account). The basketball team, too (personal communication to blogger Bill Anderson). Other campus organizations, including sororities, have been credibly suggested to have done the same.

Instead, it was about the Elephant In The Room of America Today: race relations. 46 of 47 lacrosse players were white out-of-towners, and the false accuser was a local black woman. D.A. Nifong calculated he could build on pre-existing resentments in majority-black [sic--actually ~40%] Durham (surely exacerbated by the off-campus behavior of some Duke athletes). He calculated that he could so inflame local opinion that he could ride its wave to victory. He was right.

Shelby Steele’s outline of the country’s racial challenge provides the proper context to the rape hoax case, I think:

"… a belief in the ongoing power of [white] racism is, today, an article of faith for “good” whites and “truth-telling” blacks. It is heresy for any white or black to say openly that, today, underdevelopment and broken families are vastly greater problems for blacks than racism, even though this is obviously true…

… [Belief in the continued potency of white supremacy is] a source of power because it portrays blacks as victims. And wherever there are victims, there is justification for seeking power in their name. Thus the specter of black difficulty has been an enormous source of power for the left since the 1960s. To say racism is not the first cause of black problems is to put yourself at odds with the post-’60s left’s most enduring fount of power.

This of course means that racism in the United States has parallel lives. In one life, it is the actual instances of racism on the ground. But, in its parallel life, it is a time-honored currency of power that still trades well in the United States. Here, racism lives as faith rather than fact."


My nomination for the most important “perfect storm” ingredient was Michael Nifong’s correct perception that he had the opportunity to promote a black accuser’s false charges against white customers. That was the element that energized the rogue prosecuter’s enablers among the radical faculty and students at Duke and NCCU, black and white. That is why this stripper party rather than those of the baseball team or basketball team has been in the news for the past nine months.

Anonymous said...

There are whackos in every group and I am ashamed about our education system. There are folks that study the details that only the very few care about, while missing the whole forest of other issues our country's academics need to study, (and I am not taking sides on these) such as why immigration was OK in the early 20th century, but not now. Or in-depth analysis of the MIddle East's problems versus Western views and how humans make the same mistakes over and over.

They should have no time left to sign petitions that float through their departments!

Ralph Phelan said...

"1. The fact that other groups have hired strippers does not excuse the actions of the lacrosse team."
But it does make it unfair to complain about them while ignoring all the others who were lucky enough not to have the agancy send them CGM. They've learned their lesson by now. Anyone who wants to do something about the problem of campus parties hiring strippers should start naming all the other groups who do it.

AMac said...

Ralph Phelan 10:14am --

Bingo.

Complaining about students' tawdry entertainment makes you a fuddy-duddy.

Some of the far-left Duke faculty have even written paens to the liberating aspects of transgressing the bounds of bourgeois sexual codes in this way (sorry, no link).

But complaining about privileged white males exploiting a poor black mother--ah! As Steve Sailer wrote,

"Once again we see from the media’s frenzied hunt for the Great White Defendant… that what white Americans really like is sticking it to other white Americans... White Americans find the transgressions of African Americans and Hispanics to be depressing and boring, in large part because whites see themselves (condescendingly) not as being in status competition with minorities, just with other whites. This is not because white people hate white people as a whole, just other white people they are competing with for status. The Duke lacrosse team, a bunch of rich preppie jerks, makes a wonderful target for other whites wishing to parade their moral superiority."

The Dog That Didn't Bark: For all the folks for whom "something happened" has now come to mean "a raunchy stripper party with underage drinking," where's the outrage about the other stripper parties, with white and black and male and female patrons, and with white as well as black entertainers? Why the absence of potbanging at the Gentlemen's Clubs in Durham's outskirts?

That hypothetically outraged Left would find plenty of supporters among the prudish, the old-fashioned, and the churchgoing. Maybe it's the thought of these Unlikely Allies that has kept the Group of 88 so keenly focused on 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., and so uninterested in the issue of the campus 'party scene' as a whole.