La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Online publishing

Inside Higher Ed reports on a plans at Rice to start an online UP. The lead paragraph explains:
It’s hard to attend scholarly meetings these days without someone talking about the “crisis of scholarly publishing,” which goes something like this: Libraries can’t afford to buy new scholarly books; in turn, university presses can’t afford to publish books no one can buy and so cut back on their sales of monographs; in turn, junior professors can’t get their first books published and have a tough time getting tenure.

In a discipline as conservative (read: risk averse and incredibly status conscious) as political science, I can't imagine tenure committees buying into online publications for junior faculty members' tenure cases. And even Munger admits that books are harder to publish now.

posted by Michelle @ 2:22 PM,


At 7/16/2006 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Michell, seems like a built-in dynamic that will insure that the number of tenured vrs. adjunct professors will remain disproportionate, with the number of un-tenured adjucts continuing to increase. Great way to hold down salaries and insure that the discourse in the discipline remains skewed to the rightwing.

Great 'market' mechanism. Seems that despite the popular propaganda perpetuated by the corporate media that the academy is a bastion for 'tenured radicals' is nowhere near the reality. While there are notable examples of radical professors--these folk are weeded out before they attain tenure--or, in the case of Ward Chruchill, are weeded out after tenure by selecting a hack-committe of non-peers to develop the pretextual evidence of scholarly malfeasance.

Chomsky, by the way, gained his stature as a revolutionary in the feild of linguistics--not political science, media studies, etc., fields where much of his very pertinent scholarship has been established. Try doing a dissertation on Chomsky's work from an anti-imperialist, left-perspective and see the chance of obtaining tenure.

Really, it is very useful to read the work of liberal social science scholars in pre-WWll era Germany. The level of self-delusion is quite chilling.

We, of course, are not the 'same' as that government, and the social dynamics are different. But imperialism a discernable pattern of logic. This is not Europe, and I find it difficult to read most of the discourse by so-called 'intellectuals' when it becomes apologetics for a US program of policy that is so clearly at odds with established international law, The Geneva Conventions, etc.

But, hey, that is why I would never be a 'successful' academic. Just too darned much a stickler for ideas like international law and too adverse to insidious forms of anti-democratic propaganda.

Like a chump--I am naive enough to expect that my nation lives the noble ideals upon which it was founded.

But, again, Michelle, the over-all dynamics in the academy make it very diffult for a person to have much faith in that arena as a place for a career. The contradictions are pretty onimous.

Much easier to be a professor in the 'hard' sciences were discussions that gravitate around notions of the 'good' society, and justice are moot. There you are encouraged to be revolutionary--as long as your research yeilds results that can be applied to making money or something 'useful'.

At 7/16/2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

Michelle, if you're not careful you'll join me in the world of the academic blogger pariah. And that's my schtick, dammit.

I'm just happy that in my subfield, we don't have to write books. Not that getting articles out is any fun either...

At 7/16/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Sorry, Chris, didn't mean to steal your material. Writing a book just makes me cranky. :)


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