Thursday, August 15, 2013

Benny Blue, You're All Through

Yes, this is the thread where everyone comes to bitch, moan, and let off some steam.

695 comments:

1 – 200 of 695   Newer›   Newest»
Servius said...

New version of the wiki here:

http://classics.wikidot.com/1-2013-2014-classics-ancient-history-archaeology-job-market

Anonymous said...

Please, I am begging you all, do not apply or let anyone you know (even an enemy) apply for the advertised Vanderbilt job. The place is toxic, and the salary and experience you might gain there is not worth it.

Anonymous said...

At my first teaching position one colleague in a fit of extreme anger head-butted another. He was fired, of course, but I'm not surprised by much after something like that.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I saw Classics professors physically brawling (prompting campus police intervention and, predictably, a tazing) when I was an undergrad.

I just thought it came with the field. We're a bunch of crazy fucks, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

Fucking Harvard. No one wants to apply for your shitty fucking fake jobs.

Anonymous said...

Would a WWE-style thing help our field? I'd tune in for watching classicists who hate each other brawl and hit each other on the head with the OLD, LSJ, Ovid concordance, etc. Maybe have it be a reality show in which they're trained by an MMA expert before squaring off?

Anonymous said...

Y'all need to dial it down a few notches. It's only September. Make like the air and chill.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who have been to this rodeo many times now, it's yet ANOTHER September to spend applying for jobs we're never, ever going to get.

Anonymous said...

Have you guys seen the private tutor ad up on the APA site yet? It includes such gems as:

"University of Memphis professor seeks tutor of Ancient Greek to discuss Platonic texts during long walks in Chickasaw Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee."

"The tutor will have numerous advantages. (1) The compensation will completely suffice for the living expenses of one person in Memphis, where the cost of living is among the lowest in the United States. (2) If the tutor lives for free in my house, he or she can even add to a personal savings account while working only half-time. (3) The work on Plato is pleasant for a serious student of Ancient Greek. (4) The tutor will have many hours free each day, for example to write a doctoral dissertation or a book, for the tutoring lasts only three hours daily. (5) The tutor will get plenty of exercise while working, and while exercising earn enough money to live on."

How the hell did this get posted on the APA site?

Anonymous said...

Uh, the dude paid the APA good money to post it there.

I'm sorry, did you think the APA gave a shit about whether or not you felt patronized?

Anonymous said...

You make an extremely good point. For the record, his name is Harvey Lomax and here's his profile: http://www.memphis.edu/polisci/lomax_bio_new.htm

Everything about this ad makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

That's your problem, not his.

Anonymous said...

Plus his interests are Platonic.

Anonymous said...

FSU keeps dishing out jobs, what's going on in the panhandle?

Anonymous said...

Panhandling, presumably.

Anonymous said...

Let is be known that when Classics PHDs were struggling to get even part-time jobs; when Classics programs were folding; and when the place of the humanities in American culture was being undermined, the discipline's professional organization successfully took the singularly visionary initiative to change its name.

(Take that, Nero and fiddle.)

Anonymous said...

Next it will probably change its phone number and address so none of us can find it. Possibly it will take out a restraining order.

Anonymous said...

Sept 15, 11:59, re: Vanderbilt: What do you mean by "toxic"? Is it the usual clash of egos stuff? I'm not a job seeker, but I have a high school student interested in going there for undergrad (and wants to major in classics), so I'm curious on her behalf. Does the toxicity you refer to seep out to that layer?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the toxicity does and will affect undergrads as well as the MA students there. Her interest in Classics will be nurtured at a minimal level, and she will have a very limited selection of courses to take. I would advise her to look elsewhere or to go to Vandy but major in something besides Classics.

Anonymous said...

Instead of taking advice from an anonymous source on the internet, Anonymous Sept. 15 11:59, I suggest having your student visit the school. Tell her to meet some of the faculty who would be teaching her classes and let her decide if the school and program feel welcoming to her. I have a couple of students looking for MA programs and I have told them without equivocation to consider Vandy.

Not to rain on the bitterness parade here, Anonymous Vandy Hater, but that isn't fair. There are some very good people at Vandy--good people, teachers, and scholars. I know some of them and have for many years. Vandy has some problems currently, but they aren't long term and they certainly aren't any worse than what has happened in much bigger Classics programs before. I don't see student (or applicants) running from Ivies-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named in droves despite their far worse track records.



Commodorus said...

Vandy has lost/fired three excellent junior colleagues in two years, through incompetence and malice alike. Yes, there are some good people in the department, but anybody interested in joining, as student or faculty member, should come only with eyes wide open.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they have and people who come there should ask (especially prospective MA students) and maybe those who are a part of the problem might have to explain themselves and that might be a good thing. But speaking as someone who was in the same position as the 'fired' junior faculty once, it isn't all malice and incompetence of senior colleagues that leads to these things. The junior colleague has a role in it, too, even if it didn't feel like it while it was happening.

Anonymous said...

Also, let us remember that this is the 2013-14 Classics Job Market. If working at Vandy involved being raped and murdered daily, there would still be 200 applicants falling over each other for the chance.

Anonymous said...

Raped and murdered daily? Resurrection included? What a ride.

Anonymous said...

I have little inside info on that dept that is being attacked, but as a character in Aeschylus says,
"There are two sides to this story, and only one has been heard so far."

Paladin said...

(Another year, another F.V. name. This year I'll be Paladin, a name so cleverly appropriate that I almost give myself away because few, if any, would be clever enough to think of it.)

Regarding Vanderbilt, I'll wade in with some comments at the micro-level and macro-level.

Micro-level, anyone who thinks that what went down there is in the least bit acceptable is a fool or plain ignorant, or an ignorant fool. It is unfortunate that recent posts have made things specific enough that we now know who/what was being alluded to by the original poster, but now I might as well state I know one of the three well enough to have no doubt that what happened to him/her was a gross injustice, and speaks extremely poorly of Vanderbilt's department and administration. I don't know whether or not the problems there would impact an undergrad, but having been in a department in which faculty strife badly impacted undergrads in a variety of ways I certainly find that plausible. But I do not know enough to say with any confidence that this would be the case at Vanderbilt. But putting that aside, I do know that there is something rotten at Vanderbilt, and it impacts junior faculty.

My macro-comment is that I find it interesting and significant that F.V. can play a role to reveal to the field departments with problems that affect the rest of the field (as is most certainly the case at Vanderbilt). There is that old saying about sunlight being the best disinfectant -- well, such posts, so long as done for legitimate reasons and not out of malice, do indeed serve as rays of sunlight. Now, I do not doubt that there are still some good people at Vanderbilt, and I hope that they can use the way their department is now being exposed before the entire field as a place where no junior faculty should tread as a way to win whatever fight there is. These posts should galvanize the Forces of Light -- note the repeated use of light imagery in this post, which is further proof of my cleverness -- at Vanderbilt, and all those who caused the problem should know that only steps in the right direction can help restore their deservedly tarnished reputation.

Finally, on the meta-macro-level, I would suggest that if anyone knows people at the "Chronicle of Higher Education" you might wish to suggest that they do a story about how anonymous blogs can now serve somewhat as equalizers when relatively defenseless junior faculty are victimized by dysfunctional senior faculty and administrators. I might now be wearing a hat with a paper sign that says "Scoop" affixed to it, but I do know a good news story when I see one.

Paladin said...

Oops. Make that "I might not be wearing a hat..."

My fingers lack cleverness. What Mrs. Mellinger used to call "stupid fingers."

Anonymous said...

Really and truly, though, does anyone who is not junior faculty actually care about whatever exploitation junior faculty are going through somewhere else? I think not. Certainly not enough to achieve anything anywhere.

Anonymous said...

DC!

Anonymous said...

Hi, all. I'm a job market newbie, and I'm wondering: How does it look so far this year compared with last year? Is there any reason to hold out hope of (gulp) employment?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how well we can compare markets this early, but even if it's, say, 50% better than last year (which is, of course, an impossible improvement) your odds of a job are still next to zero.

Sorry.

Start working on Plan B now, if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

If you're a "job market newbie" you need to know that on this site there will be a lot of rage and bad math.

Anonymous said...

50% more than last year so far! And they said it was impossible....

Anonymous said...

No way there are 50 more jobs than last year!!

Anonymous said...

That's like, next to zero.

Anonymous said...

This blog sucks. All the other humanities job wikis I see (art history, for example) contain the job advertisements themselves. We Classicists have instead of list of jobs with a few descriptions. What a bunch of dinosaurs.

Anonymous said...

I am a T-Rex. Rawr!

Anonymous said...

Dibs on being the dromiceiomimus.

Anonymous said...

Are you...are you saying we should date?

Anonymous said...

Okay, since this blog has become even more dull than the midwestern college town I live in, I might as well post this excerpt from the U-New Hampshire job and ask what in the heck is going on. "Creation of sustainable institutions"?!?

"Duties will also include a role in the Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project (RGSCP), a newly established initiative at the University of New Hampshire to promote humanistic study of ethics, citizenship, principled leadership, responsible governance, and the creation of sustainable institutions."

Anonymous said...

Institutions that won't shut down, one would assume.

Anonymous said...

It's some administrator's pet project; to be a faculty member, you'll need to kiss the pinky ring.

Anonymous said...

It probably won't happen in our lifetime, but I envision that in the future some lucky generation of humans will be able to, for example, copy "Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project," paste it into a search bar, press "enter," and be presented with a bunch of documents relating to that subject.

Until then, if we have questions about the world, our only option is to pose them on Classics job blog comment threads and then remain forever in ignorance unless somebody who knows the answer comes along.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Anonymous 6:14, as the one who initially posted on this subject I've risen to your challenge, and done that belated Google search... and all it shows is that my instincts were spot-on.

Now, my use of the ?!? punctuation after "creation of sustainable institutions" only indicated that I found the concept somewhat questionable -- not that I was ignorant as to just what this "sustainability" business is. But, as it turns out, you were indeed right: I had not read up on the topic of Swedish-model (!?!) sustainable citizenship. Now I have. I defy anyone to do the same, and tell me in precise and practical terms just what "sustainability" in this context is supposed to mean. Here is some website that seems quite informative: http://www.sustainablecitizenship.com/about.html. Here is a webpage that is about what UNH Classics has to do with all this: http://cola.unh.edu/llc/program/classics-ba/rgscp-initiative. And here's something more general about sustainability at UNH: http://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/casrfp. How is "sustainability" anything but the latest buzzword? (Heck, those writing about it even refer to it as theoretical.)

I do, of course, understand what is meant when the term "sustainability" is used in terms of agriculture/environmentalism. But this "Sustainable Citizen" business is far more abstract, and the link to classics seems quite tenuous (but, a good chunk of money has just come the way of UNH Classics, which I guess makes that connection easier to see). I certainly applaud the aspect of this program that would use classical literature and philosophy to get students to engage with questions of ethics, democracy, citizenship, etc. -- that's partly what we classicists are all about, and what we're supposed to be doing. But by having this program seem so devoted to instilling in the students certain viewpoints regarding "sustainable citizenship" it seems there is a danger of the program doing a great disservice -- why not let students think openly, instead of steering them in a particular direction? The sustainability movement does not have a monopoly on ethics, after all.

I guess it is nothing new for the classics to be used in the service of particular dogmas -- anyone who knows even a tiny bit about classical reception is aware of this -- but I would like to think that at a public university there would be greater intellectual open-mindedness, and less pushing of a particular viewpoint. Unfortunately, my Google search suggests there may be some cause for concern.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm honestly considering not applying to UNH because my bullshit threshold has already been crossed for the week.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had trouble accessing the APA's placement service site?

Anonymous said...

Anyone having trouble logging into the job wiki? I've never had a problem before.

Anonymous said...

I was once on a search committee where the source of the funds for the position meant we had to put an odd thing or two in the ad; had little effect on the search, and zero on the successful candidate's fine career at that place

Anonymous said...

Anyone else unable to get any attachments to upload for St. Benedict's/St. John's?

Anonymous said...

2013: The year depression triumphed over rage, thus killing Famae Volent.

Anonymous said...

The secret is to lose every ounce of hope you ever had.

The rage feeds on the hope.

Anonymous said...

It's weird though. I poured so much of my life, of myself, into a career in Classics, and have so hopelessly failed, that I no longer have any fears or concerns in life. Death, for instance, seems trivial by comparison.

Pliny the Elder said...

The blog format makes this site moribund. We need to learn from our friends in Political Science:

http://www.poliscirumors.com

and Economics:

http://www.econjobrumors.com

These sites allow more interaction and a wide choice of topics.

If others agree then I will build a Classics version myself and we can all blow this pop stand.

Anonymous said...

@Pliny. This would make sense if Classics were as big a discipline as Political Science and Economics. But in the larger scheme of things we are just a pop stand, so a blog is good enough, I think.

Anonymous said...

But FV isn't for Classicists so much as wannabe Classicists, and there are a fuckton more of those.

Anonymous said...

oh, there are even more would-be econ and poli-sci profs than there are wannabe classicists. And the pol-sci and econ sites are fun, because so many profs with real inside knowledge are posting there - and are protected by the anonymity of the masses. In a Classics version of econ and poll-sci rumor mills it would soon be clear who is who, which is why people wouldn't post there and which is why such a site wouldn't be fun at all. Just saying, but knock yourselves out...

Paladin said...

Good Lord, no. We do not need an internet forum. This site works perfectly: when someone needs to say or ask something, it gets said or asked, and oftentimes even receives one or more responses. (Where is it written that there must be constant, or even regular, posts?)

I, for one, have no intention of participating in any internet forum like the one I just checked out. Yeesh.





Anonymous said...

I have a student who is interested in pursuing an M.A. in Classics. Any thoughts out there on the various options, including funding packages, for such a student?

Anonymous said...

An MA in Classics is useless. A BA is enough to teach Latin in high schools, and the PhD is the bare minimum for a career as an academic. Grad schools either hand out the MA on the way to the PhD, or only give them to students who have failed out of the program. Note, however, that a PhD in Classics is probably going to be a ticket to poverty, depression, and possibly suicide.

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the usefulness of an MA, which I don't think is what 2:28 PM was asking, it is true that US grad schools usually imbed the MA in the PhD. In any case, funding would be non-existent. Your student could look to Canada, where stand-alone MAs exist (1-year and 2-year programs) and some students have access to TAships. Teaching is not a given however, and would not cover the cost of international tuition. But if your student finds the idea of studying Classics abroad attractive, that’s the cheapest and sometimes best option. Some UK institutions have MA/MLitts programs with a little funding for the odd promising student, but s/he must first get accepted, then apply for funding.

Anonymost said...

Are you two Anonymoi high? There are lots of fully-funded Classics MA programs in the US. I teach at one of them right now, and we've got ca 25 grad students, all of whom receive funding and a tuition waiver.

Anonymos Prime said...

There are plenty of standalone MA programs in Classics in the US. They're just all scams designed to bolster the prestige of their departments without providing a useful degree.

Anonymous said...

It is realistic to skip the APA and still be on the job market? In other words, if interviews were to materialize can I avoid the flight and hotel and ask any committees to please Skype it?

Anonymous said...

"It is realistic to skip the APA and still be on the job market? In other words, if interviews were to materialize can I avoid the flight and hotel and ask any committees to please Skype it?"

SC member here. No, you can't do that. HR says we have to conduct all interviews the same way, using the same interviewers and questions.

Anonymous said...

You do realize, O SC member, that no HR drone is actually spying on you to see that you did not in fact conduct the interview at the APA, don't you? Or do you just like following rules even when you don't need to?

It depends on who wants to interview you. Several institutions have indicated in their ads that they're doing Skype interviews instead, and others have made noises about being undecided. I am holding off on buying a plane ticket until I see if I will need to go or not. Keep in mind that your chances of getting any APA interviews in the first place aren't that great. There are barely even any jobs this year.

Anonymous said...

I agree that some schools will be able to give you a Skype interview if you cannot go to the meeting, and some because of rules will not

Anonymous said...

Ok, so here's perhaps a more useful question: Is asking an institution whether or not they can do a Skype interview instead of an APA interview likely, in itself, to sink your candidacy for that job?

I would hope the answer is that SCs understand that candidates, even excellent candidates, are having to make decisions in this market about pursuing alternative careers, and not hold it against them if they just want to check if the one or two institutions interviewing them might want to spare them the expense of going to a conference that, unless they actually end up with a job someday, will have been a complete waste of their time and money.

But I think the answer is that a nonzero number of SC members think candidates should be going down blazing, like the charge of the light brigade, and that acknowledging odds is a sign of weakness.

Anonymous said...

"You do realize, O SC member, that no HR drone is actually spying on you to see that you did not in fact conduct the interview at the APA, don't you? Or do you just like following rules even when you don't need to?"

On the rare occasion we're given the opportunity to interview for a position, we do exactly as we're told. Your view is naive.

Anonymous said...

In case the above situation is unclear, I'm saying the candidate in question would do an APA interview if they had to--they wouldn't turn down an interview over it--but would want to ask about alternatives first. Is simply inquiring likely to sink the candidacy?

Anonymous said...

"Is simply inquiring likely to sink the candidacy?"

No.

The Lieberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If you are good at interviews, go to the APA. In my own experience, leaving a good personal impression has gotten candidates campus visits (and jobs), who were not necessarily on top of the SC's long list.

Bear in mind that this a buyer's market and that almost everyone on the long list will have Stirling credentials. If the SC doesn't know in advance whom they want to hire, getting a job is often a matter of personal performance.

Anonymous said...

Am I seriously the only one who can't attach anything to the frakking USB/SJU applicaton?

Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of standalone MA programs in Classics in the US. They're just all scams designed to bolster the prestige of their departments without providing a useful degree."

Are you that full of vitriol that shit comes out every orifice? First of all, there are not "plenty" of MA programs unattached to a PhD program. Some are less effective than others for various reasons (e.g. lack of regional classics culture, lack of university support), but they are not scams (though I don't doubt some are poorly run).

MA programs do not really bolster the prestige of a department either since administrators only recognize PhD departments for the most part. It's pretty obvious that you have no clue about the inner workings of universities.

In my neck of the woods, the majority of public schools teach Latin and are inclined to hire someone who can teach ancient history. There are numerous private/parochial/charter schools as well that are even more open to the classics. They will not hire someone with only a BA unless it's in education (even then it's tough) and are generally hesitant hiring PhDs (though a couple dozen elite ones will) knowing that K-12 was not their goal.

A third of our MA students enter without any desire to continue on to a PhD. They want to teach and they are highly successful after graduation due to the regional support of classics.

The remaining two-thirds enter thinking about a PhD and half of these actually apply after a couple semesters getting their feet wet. They are quite successful and have much less of a learning curve when they start the PhD. Our students who keep up their grades TA at least one semester, if not two. Many earned top grades as undergraduates but at universities without a formal classics program. Receiving a MA allows them to round out their foundation and get letters written by people who really know the discipline. A post-bac program can't really do this in one year and our program actually ends up being cheaper for two years even without a TA semester.

The third who decide not to apply to PhD programs end up doing all types of things. Many teach and most of the others get a job due to training/contacts they received while at our university and metro area.

It's not that the department and university get nothing out of it, but there would be little incentive to run a MA program unless you charge big dollars with no scholarships. Hopefully, most undergraduates can recognize these programs with the help of advisors. Running a MA program is just not worth it unless it makes sense on several fronts like it does in our particular situation.

Anonymous said...

"Are you that full of vitriol that shit comes out every orifice?"

Yes. Several years on the Classics job market have taken me from the wide-eyed innocence of youth to the Dark Lord Shai'tan himself. Bitter as fuck doesn't even begin to describe it.

But in the face of your post I retract my former vitriol, to the extent that such a thing can be retracted.

Anonymous said...

I guess Georgia is trying to become THE PLACE to study ancient epic. Not one, not two, but THREE jobs in the same small subfield! Awesome. Too bad I'm an archaeologist.

Anonymous said...

I know, being an archaeologist is so terrible, amirite? Only like half the jobs this year for the five of you to divy up.

Anonymous said...

As one with as much reason for bitterness as anyone out there, I should just point out that in recent years there has been a near-depression that has led the economy to be down for a very long time. So EVERYONE is suffering, not just junior classicists. Now, if the economy had not "cratered" back in 2008, causing a sea change in university hiring practices, and you STILL could not find a job, then you might have a right to be bitter. But that, to use a term I'll be teaching my Latin 101 students next semester, is a "contrafactual" (and a conditional).

But what sets mankind above the beasts is not the opposable thumb, which we share with certain other creatures, but our ability to consider contrafactuals. So perhaps you should free yourself of your near-beastial state, and recognize that if not for the bad economy you and I would both most likely have nice tenure-track jobs right now, and only be bitter about the hoops involved in putting together a tenure portfolio.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon. 10/28/1:48

I may be an archaeologist, but at least I can spell 'divvy' correctly. Good luck with your philological career!

Anonymous said...

@2:49pm:

How, exactly, is knowing that I might have had a job if not for the economic downturn supposed to make me *less* bitter?

Anonymous said...

@1:48pm

If competence had any relationship at all to career success, I'd totally be worried!

Anonymous said...

Let's be positive here, guys. This shit is just temporary; we get to die eventually!

Anonymous said...

How, exactly, is knowing that I might have had a job if not for the economic downturn supposed to make me *less* bitter?

My point is that you, and certainly some others around here, appear to lack perspective. There are MILLIONS of people suffering in this down economy, a good many of them, I'd bet, worse off than you. Now, if you want to be bitter about the bad economy, and rant about "banksters" or the Fed or whatever, go right ahead, though this isn't the right place for that. But you and others should stop making it seem as if your bad luck is wholly because you are a classicist: you could be in just as bad a situation if you had followed another career path. After all, even recent law school grads, including some from top schools, have really taken it on the chin in recent years, graduating from law school -- often with $100K or so in debt -- and not finding the jobs that law school grads used to find with relative ease. Or weren't you aware? At least you probably left grad school with little if any debt, compared to them.




Anonymous said...

Classics is not a career. It's a gamble. Bad economy or not, the chances of meaningful in employment in Classics will always be much lower than in most other fields which require a similar degree of education. Anyone who decides to give it a shot should be aware that he or she is taking a huge professional risk. That doesn't make it any less heartbreaking, but trying to be a Classics professor is just as hard as trying to make a living as a concert pianist.

Anonymous said...

Just throwing this out there, guys, but if you're adjuncting you might be eligible for food stamps. That hadn't really occurred to me until recently, and it can feel a little humbling, but it definitely helps to make ends meet.

Paladin said...

Or, if you don't like taking charity, you can always cook meth. The AMC network had a really good multi-part documentary on this, both the do's and don'ts.

Anonymous said...

Yes! By all means, let us trivialize (and stigmatize!) poverty.

Anonymous said...

Yes! By all means, let us trivialize (and stigmatize!) poverty.

Goddamn right. If anybody qualifies for SNAP or WIC, take it. The whole purpose of the programs is that eligible people should use them.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm this University of Pennsylvania T-T Roman History job? It's on the wiki, but I can't find any advertisement.

Anonymous said...

"Or, if you don't like taking charity, you can always cook meth. The AMC network had a really good multi-part documentary on this, both the do's and don'ts."

I actually know someone in classics who could probably do this. Bonus points if it stays in theme - wine-dark wonder.

Anonymous said...

1The UPenn job is a ghost job. Dreamt up by an administrator's caprice. Not real.

Anonymous said...

Figured that it was a ghost. Thanks for the confirmation.

Anonymous said...

I guess I really don't understand how universities work. Why would an administrator want to create a fake job?

Anonymous said...

On skipping the APA: I did ask SC to give me long-distance interviews one year. I got no on-campus invite. Are the two things related? I do not know.

Yes, it is a buyer's market and one would think all candidates are stellar. But I see jobs go to ABD from ivy-leagues yr after yr.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, here's another vote for an explanation of this so-called 'ghost job' phenomenon.

What's baffling me is that I can't even find the job on UPenn's own HR site.

Anonymous said...

Re: Penn job. I know nothing about the particular situation, but this kind of 'ghost' advertisement is occasionally required for immigration purposes when an existing foreign faculty member applies for permanent residency. As I said, I have no idea whether that's the case here but I've seen it a couple of times. Unfortunate, but blame USCIS or the INS or whomever.

Anonymous said...

I said that long listed candidates had stirling credentials, not that they were wonderful. Most classics profs in the US have graduated from the Ivies and a handful of other schools with historically strong classics programs. It should come as no surprise that SCs prefer candidates from these schools and that candidates from other programs are shortchanged. This is unfair, but the way American academia works - and not just in classics.

Anonymous said...

"Most classics profs in the US have graduated from the Ivies and a handful of other schools... SCs prefer candidates from these schools and that candidates from other programs are shortchanged."

This is partly true, but each year we see that the number of programs from which people get jobs is about 15, maybe 20.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know more about these "Stirling credentials." Do you mean that the most successful candidates are, like other types of external-combustion engine, able to transform heat from their environment into useful work? And if so, couldn't this criterion be more readily checked at the interview stage by holding the APA in warmer locales? Somebody should do something about this ASAP!

Anonymous said...

"each year we see that the number of programs from which people get jobs is about 15, maybe 20" = "Ivies and a handful of other schools with historically strong classics programs."

"stirling credentials" = PhD from a well-respected program, rave letters from well-respected colleagues, prestigious awards like the Rome Prize.

Anonymous said...

Griping! Griping! Griping!

C'mon, guys, where's the party this year?

Ok, here's an anti-gripe. The way Union laid out their timetable to all applicants this morning was fucking glorious. Would that all SCs could and would offer that kind of transparency.

Anonymous said...

The commenter clearly meant to write "starling credentials," by which is to be understood an established record of eating insects, screeching, traveling in huge flocks, nesting under eaves, pooping everywhere, and being eaten falcons.

Anonymous said...

Given the quality of your emendation, I'm sure you've got a great career ahead of you!

Anonymous said...

"The commenter clearly meant to write 'starling credentials,' by which is to be understood an established record of eating insects, screeching, traveling in huge flocks, nesting under eaves, pooping everywhere, and being eaten falcons."

Are we talking about European starlings or African starlings? Where are my damn coconuts?

Anonymous said...

What sorts of alternate careers are people out there finding employment in these days? Transition strategies?

Classics is still fun and interesting, but it's hardly viable as a career.

Anonymous said...

High school teaching. I'm three months in to my first year. The kids are as bad as anyone says (I more than one person had told me to treat them like four-year-olds), but it pays, and I think I'll be good at it next year.

Anonymous said...

9:27, are you at a public or private school? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

9:27 here agagin.

By the standards of the region of the country in which I find myself, I am at an elite prep school.

And I meant to say "(I wish more than one person had told me to treat them like four-year-olds)."

Fallen Classicist said...

Alternative careers and transition strategies.

Well, as noted, there are options. Some will require more education -- your classics PhD will not allow you to work as a dentist.


As noted, high school teaching, of course, is an option that comes to mind quickly. Also working for certain offices, centers, or the like at colleges or universities (e.g., advising, study abroad, admissions). Not-for-profit management seems to be a path somewhat receptive to humanities PhDs. And, although this may not be the best time for it, you could always go to law school.

Ideally, though, a choice to seek a career outside of classics should be one that is not a last resort. A good deal of thought and exploration should go into pursuit of these options. And, as I have noted before, that thought and consideration would take place ideally outside of the traditional classics hiring season.

It's worth being somewhat expansive in your thinking about other options. Why not explore not just jobs in publishing, for example, but jobs in marketing or as landmen for oil and gas companies?

But, right now, in November, I would think that one's job search efforts would be most productively and efficiently used if they are focused on the classics job market. The world outside the academy does not operate on the academy's annual job placement cycle.

Anonymous said...

Hi, all--
Look, from the other side of the desk, we're desperate to hire you. We need your help and your energy, we want your perspectives on the current state of the field and your suggestions as to how we can adapt to the changing conditions of academia, and we'd really like the company of more colleagues. Barring actual deficits in professional practice, the enemy isn't SCs, chairs, or the market in general. It's a complex puzzle of difficulties in higher ed and in the humanities in particular that currently tend to play against departmental requests to hire, despite obvious need. I think it's safe to say that almost all programs out there are doing their best to get searches approved, but in the meantime there's not much more we can do. I don't expect folks to take kindly to this, of course, but I just wanted to say I wish it were different.

Anonymous said...

@5:51

Thank you. It made my day to see someone on the other side expressing genuine sympathy and acknowledging that there is problem, and it isn't with candidates (or SCs, or anything other than a systemic issue).

Anonymous said...

I don't buy it. It's like the executives of AOL or payphone operators saying today that they would like to hire people but the current state of affairs won't let them. Yes, there are certain things beyond the control of a discipline like the pseudo-incorporation of universities and vetting of the humanities. Still, each generation is at least partially responsible for recognizing paradigm shifts and adapting the discipline for these changes. There certainly was (and still is) a time when classics was called upon to lead the way (digital humanities, cultural heritage, social policy, etc.) and we largely abdicated any position of authority - i.e. pushing dial-up and payphones when broadband and cell phones were obviously on the horizon. Sorry, but you boomers largely sucked for the discipline but I'm glad you enjoyed the ride prepared for you by your predecessors.

Anonymous said...

Most professors are much too young to be boomers, and there was never a time when every talented and highly qualified classicist got a permanent job. Sure, it used to be easier than it is today, but it was never easy.

Anonymous said...

Boomers? Seriously? Do you know what year it is? Most boomers are already dead.

Anonymous said...

"most boomers are already dead"?????????????????????????????????????????? I guess this is why we leave matters of chronology to those dirty archaeology types. But for those of you who are wondering, no, most people who are between the age of (roughly) 50 and 65 are NOT dead. And yes, definitively, people in that age category do, in fact, control most Classics departments. (Apologies if I've offended any digger types, that was intended as a backhanded compliment up above.)

Anonymous said...

So with so much scholarship by classicists highly theoretical and thus disconnected from the interests and needs of the general public, leading to an inability of so many classical scholars to engage with much of society (not to mention their students), which has to be at least part of the reason why enrollments are not what they could be, is anyone yet prepared to admit that perhaps "Who Killed Homer?" was on to something, and the field might be in a better position today had more taken it seriously, and kept a better balance between theoretical work and more traditional approaches to ancient literature?

Anonymous said...

Boomers are now in their late 50s to late 60s. I don't know whether there are any statistics about this, but I would reckon that there are now as many tenured professors in their mid-40s to mid-50s as there are boomers. In my experience, influence in a department is not necessarily acquired by seniority and I don't really think that there is a generation conflict in Classics. There are conflicts between literary critics, old-school philologists, and historical/archaeological types, but this is not a generational thing either.

Anonymous said...

"Boomers are now in their late 50s to late 60s." Yes, if we discount everyone in their early to mid 50s, then you're correct, there are probably as many tenured people between the ages of 40 and 58 as there are over the age of 58. But that would mean that "baby boomers" are only those people who were born in the decade following WWII. I don't think this is the definition used in most of the English-speaking world. But wikisomethingia might have a better idea about what constitutes a (The) baby boom.

Anonymous said...

So with so much scholarship by classicists not theoretically sophisticated enough and thus unable to meet the interests and needs of smart people today, leading to an inability of so many classical scholars to engage with much of society (not to mention their students), which has to be at least part of the reason why enrollments are not what they could be, is anyone yet prepared to admit that perhaps "Who Killed Homer?" was even more terrible a thing than most people say, and the field might be in a better position today had it been denounced even more roundly than it was, and kept a better balance between theoretical work and more traditional approaches to ancient literature? Plus, badly constructed sentences.

Anonymous said...

well, I think of baby boomers as the "Leading-Edge Baby Boomers" but you are right. The term is often more broadly defined. That doesn't change my general point though.

Anonymous said...

is anyone yet prepared to admit that perhaps "Who Killed Homer?" was on to something

It has been a while, but my impression was that if classical literature was actually as tedious and simple as their plodding, literal-minded attempts at interpretation made it out to be, Homer would have been dead a long time ago.

Now, maybe a really simple-minded way of dealing with literature would be popular. Oprah's book club was very popular! But I don't think that the kind of discussions it led to about its books was particularly illuminating. And I don't think that "readily understood but very superficial" is a good target for any kind of intellectual endeavor to aim for. I'm sure that astronomy would be more broadly accessible if we went back to a geocentric model of the universe, but that seems like (if I may) a pretty fucking stupid thing to do, and it's not going to satisfy anybody who's got half a brain in their head.

Anonymous said...

That's the point, dummy! Brains are outdated.

Anonymous said...

No, there are plenty of brilliant people in society today but they are pushing the envelope and crossing boundaries in other fields. I'm not just talking about biotech or whatever is the flavor of the day in that direction. Look up MacArthur fellows. There are plenty in the humanities, just not in the dusty,self-involved, and marginal nonsense that has passed as classics for the last fifty years.

As a Latinist, I also have to begrudgingly recognize that the closest are people who use classics but are primarily affiliated with a different discipline or they're scholars who are typically marginalized in most departments (Linear B, Roman East, Bronze Age, etc.). Folks, way too many of us research derivative, finish-filling-in-the-blanks-from-100-years-ago topics that have no chance of capturing the imagination of anyone, general public or brilliant outsiders alike. I don't see this changing anytime soon as our discipline still seems to marginalize those out-of-box thinkers who could make us more relevant in every sense of the term. I see them once in a while as undergrads, but they, smartly in my opinion, choose alternate disciplines more conducive to letting them reach their full potential. Judging by the bitterness on here, too many failed to recognize this ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"Most professors are much too young to be boomers, and there was never a time when every talented and highly qualified classicist got a permanent job. Sure, it used to be easier than it is today, but it was never easy."

Nope, your entire post is full of shit. Boomers are 50-67 or so right now, and more importantly, they've always had numbers compared to the "silent generations" that have preceded and succeeded them.

We know academia has never been easy, but today we have both the general fleecing/marginalizing of academia and the more specific assault on the humanities to navigate. I don't think a single full prof in my department, which is fairly large, went through a true search back in the 70s. Most were offered multiple jobs, which rarely happens today. Sorry, but your we-walked-ten-miles-to-school-barefoot-on-glass story does not work here.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with 1:57. I went to grad school with a brilliant individual who's innovative just as you described. He was brave (stupid?) enough to pursue research radically different from what you would expect from a classicist. He thankfully is in a good place now but he needed a number of largely wasted years to finally find his place. He's a brilliant enough philologist to have received campus visits as a generalist, but he was always told that due to curricular needs and how he was branded, he wasn't the best fit.

In retrospect, did these departments really need to hire that third Hellenist or fifth Latinist? God forbid if the Vergil scholar has to teach comedy or even Homer. Look at other disciplines. They assign fundamental classes (our first several years of languages) to maybe a couple TT faculty, but otherwise hire adjuncts or lecturers. We do it backwards and have too few scholars truly doing original work, which SHOULD be a moving target but has never been for us in a meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

Well, curricular needs once again. In our defense, we're beholden to the courses on the books. Yes, they've changed little in generations, and that's our fault, but it's what it is.

In retrospect, it was stupid since we're now being forced to scale down and sometimes shut down against our will; we've lost the initiative. I still think we need at least 3-4 advanced Latin and Greek, but this begs the question how large departments with over a dozen faculty, largely philologists researching the same fundamental thing, are dispersing classes. No matter, they'll eventually be forced to downsize when the right dean comes along and sees all these faculty teaching courses with 4-5 students in them. Been there, done that.

Anonymous said...

Well, curricular needs once again. In our defense, we're beholden to the courses on the books.

I'm under the impression (from my previous and current positions) that departments have a relatively easy time creating new courses and getting rid of courses that are no longer meeting the needs of students and/or faculty. The two institutions I've been at in recent years are more interested in asses (both kinds, perhaps) in seats than they are in the actual material we cover in the classroom. Sure, there are major/minor/grad degree requirements that have to be met, but even those are established at the departmental level. If the requirements and the course offerings in a department haven't changed in the past 30 years or so (or maybe 5 years, even), I'd question whether that department has any interest in the educational process at all.

Aristotle said...

this begs the question

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

Ubinam gentium sumus?

Anonymous said...

Handy guide: Boomer range in age from Bill Clinton to Michele Obama.

Happy Gilmore said...

Gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shit?

Kleon said...

School A moves to interview before the APA and offers job in December.

If you accept this job do you have to cancel whatever APA interviews you have? If so, why? Why not keep interviewing and see if anything better comes along?

Hasn't School A violated the norms of the profession by interviewing, and making an offer, too early? In doing so don't they incur any risk?

Anonymous said...

Trust me, you aren't going to be offered more than one job.

Anonymous said...

"Hasn't School A violated the norms of the profession by interviewing, and making an offer, too early?"

No. Absolutely not.

Anonymous said...

"Hasn't School A violated the norms of the profession by interviewing, and making an offer, too early?"

Yes, they have.

If this happens to you, and every year it happens to someone, then keep your options open. Until a school has granted you tenure you have no loyalty to them. So pursue other positions, keep interviewing, and if you get a better offer, take it.

Anonymous said...

Did School A say in their job ad that they would interview at the APA? If yes, they are doing a Bad Thing but won't suffer any consequences. If not, all's fine. With phone and video interviews, there's no reason why departments can't interview at any time of the year money for a tenure-track line gets approved.

Anonymous said...

"I'm under the impression (from my previous and current positions) that departments have a relatively easy time creating new courses and getting rid of courses that are no longer meeting the needs of students and/or faculty. The two institutions I've been at in recent years are more interested in asses (both kinds, perhaps) in seats than they are in the actual material we cover in the classroom."

I wouldn't call it easy, but it's doable. In reality, I think your two departments are fairly rare or we have different perspectives (though I truly hope you are correct and I'm wrong). Sure, there are changes made around the fringes, the so-called "civ" or ass-in-seats classes you mentioned. These are often taught by adjuncts and junior faculty so they evolve based on abilities.

The first several years of languages are sacred cows. I almost always hear, "we're not a classics department unless we teach these dozen or so courses." I can go along with this, BUT the unsaid corollary is that civ classes can be taught by pretty much anyone as long as they get ass in seats, nothing idealogical about it. The sacred cows? Must be filled by TT faculty. The problem is that many (most?) of the brilliant philologists don't teach these courses all that well, especially when compared to lecturers who can devote their full attention to them.

This sounds harmless, but the bigger problem is that every TT faculty hired in this paradigm makes it less likely that the department is looking, or will get permission, to hire the type of person who will push the boundaries of the discipline and cross-pollinate in a fashion that people care about in the present.

Another inefficient allocation, especially in larger departments, is the upper-level boutique classes that are almost always philological in nature and taught by tenured faculty. This model is obviously unsustainable in the long run but I see little evidence that an significant number of departments have radically altered this paradigm, not when those in charge are the ones directly benefiting from it! Some of the young pups out there bellyaching in light of the admittedly horrendous market will land a R1 job, as unlikely as it seems now, work your way up and happily continue this paradigm once your teaching your boutique courses. Don't think that we weren't talking about this same issue in grad school 20 years ago yet I sit here seeing my friends all ruling their departments like their forebearers.

Full disclosure: I am primarily appointed in a history department, but I have a front row seat to a classics department that you would all consider elite (and maybe even your alma mater).

Anonymous said...

has anyone who applied to Union received neither a phone interview request nor a rejection? what's that mean?

Anonymous said...

November 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM
The first several years of languages are sacred cows. I almost always hear, "we're not a classics department unless we teach these dozen or so courses." I can go along with this, BUT the unsaid corollary is that civ classes can be taught by pretty much anyone as long as they get ass in seats, nothing idealogical about it. The sacred cows? Must be filled by TT faculty. The problem is that many (most?) of the brilliant philologists don't teach these courses all that well, especially when compared to lecturers who can devote their full attention to them.
...
Full disclosure: I am primarily appointed in a history department, but I have a front row seat to a classics department that you would all consider elite (and maybe even your alma mater).


This is a reasonable response to (my) comment above about how easy it is to change courses and requirements at some departments. Your observation that there are "sacred cows" doesn't change my perspective, and I'm not even sure you disagree with my observation - except at the departmental level, perhaps. The person I was responding to, above (November 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM), implies that there is some large-scale phenomenon at work that prevents our departments from moving forward (while acknowledging that it's really our fault), suggesting that we're/they're powerless to change the situation. The reality is that those in power in our departments are the ones responsible for making such changes. Any "sacred cows" are sacred in the eyes of those baby boomer types (yes, I'm also one of those boomer blamers). [total aside, age has NOTHING to do with any of this - I was at a talk very recently where a scholar in his late 60s discussed his use of cutting edge computer technologies in analyzing ancient texts and their manuscripts, for example] A major problem, as I see it, is that those in power in our departments rue the unwillingness of the administration to allow us to move forward, or even maintain the deteriorating status quo, while at the same time doing everything in their power to prevent any change from the inside. I'm sure that many of us will land a TT job someday, but I know A LOT of people in my age bracket who have turned to high school teaching and other careers rather than continue the search for a higher ed position than I do from any other age bracket. These are not just people from random craphole programs, either, they're people from the so-called elite programs, in many cases. I don't think anybody honestly believes things were as bad 20 years ago as they are today, and, as you've observed above, people finishing their degree 20 years ago were discussing these same issues and making decisions that would perpetuate or exacerbate the problems with which we now are faced. None of this makes me any more optimistic about the field, but I'm not going to point the finger at anyone outside our departments until we've sought to fix the problems from the inside. And, frankly, I think that's going to require a generational transition before it gets us anywhere. Because we need people who acknowledge the new paradigm to be involved directly with the creation of new phds, and that's only been going on for the past decade, at most.
Wow. That's a long post. Obviously, I have nothing useful to do with my time.

Anonymous said...

"I don't really think that there is a generation conflict in Classics. There are conflicts between literary critics, old-school philologists, and historical/archaeological types, but this is not a generational thing either."

I disagree though I wouldn't really call it generational conflict as much as differences in worldview. Yes, there are some of us millennials who will grow up to be just like our conservative predecessors. A discipline predicated on the study of the past will naturally attract some with conservative proclivities.

I also would like to believe that the disciplinary conflicts you mentioned are greatly diminished and even obsolete with my generation. Many of us came out of programs that intermixed these groups. This is why I'm a fan of programs these groups are under the same roof. For us it's "normal" and don't think this is nearly as true for previous generations. This understanding breeds more cooperation and less mistrust.

Anonymous said...

"Now, maybe a really simple-minded way of dealing with literature would be popular. Oprah's book club was very popular! But I don't think that the kind of discussions it led to about its books was particularly illuminating. And I don't think that "readily understood but very superficial" is a good target for any kind of intellectual endeavor to aim for. I'm sure that astronomy would be more broadly accessible if we went back to a geocentric model of the universe, but that seems like (if I may) a pretty fucking stupid thing to do, and it's not going to satisfy anybody who's got half a brain in their head.

C'mon, you can't be for real. I'm an X-er and I can't believe someone in this day and age really comes off this stereotypically elitist. Let me guess, unless we hire that one-trick pony who wrote that diss on a book of Vergil, we're superficial and anti-intellectual? Updating programs to be less philologically centered is dumbing things down? A return to geocentrism? I think much of the world, and not just buffoons and ruthless corporate trustees, would beg to differ and, in fact, characterize the current classics paradigm as geocentric.

Anonymous said...

"I think much of the world, and not just buffoons and ruthless corporate trustees, would beg to differ and, in fact, characterize the current classics paradigm as geocentric."

True. There were some quite sophisticated geocentric models, just as classics research today can be incredibly sophisticated. It doesn't change the fact that they're all barking up the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

Youngish literary and art critics often don't mix well with youngish historians and archaeologists.

We all talk about interdisciplinary. Yet, the moment someone suggests that a retiring Vergil scholar should be replaced with someone who doesn't work on Augustan poetry, the sh*t will hit the fan.

In my experience, there are very few departments where faculty working from radically different perspectives are getting along. The graduate students may not notice this, but the tensions are there.

Anonymous said...

"C'mon, you can't be for real. I'm an X-er and I can't believe someone in this day and age really comes off this stereotypically elitist."

That's what I was thinking. I don't know what scares me more - an outsider trolling around as a classicist or this person being real.

Anonymous said...

Whatever is going on in academia and the economy, I'm in the camp that puts much of the blame on the boomers. They fell asleep at the wheel and veered the discipline into la la land and increased irrelevance. Yeah, it was a tall order to retool and have prescient foresight, even unfair. It required courage, tact, vigilance, and diplomacy to counter all the shit that was and continues to be thrown at us. Still, I can't help but feel that the their forebearers, the so-called greatest generation, would have handled it better.

For the last 50 years, the discipline has nurtured (and still continues to nurture) esoteric and uninteresting research with little originality. We're open for business because we've always been there and no one has told us to stop. Well, they're telling us to stop now. I used to think that we were largely victims of obtuse witch hunts fueled by a vendetta against the humanities - the poster child being classics. While this is true to a certain extent, my eyes have been opened over the last ten years as I gained tenure and navigate through the halls of academia. I realize how irrelevant and woefully overmatched we really are for the 21st century. It's like being a WW II Japanese vet coming out of the jungle in a new millennium. As I observe and interact with my peers through committees, I often catch myself asking WTF we're doing and how we got here.

I still hold out hope. I know we can't change overnight, but I think we are slowly getting dragged into relevance with the specter of downsizing looming. I know there are the right types of research happening here and there, flickers of hope. I hear their incubating papers in January, but hear nothing again making me wonder what happened. Will change happen in time or will we just fade away? I don't think we can know at this juncture but I just hope I'm not there at the end turning off the lights, the academic version of Loch Ness monster roaming the halls while people whisper and point. Yeah, I have a job and tenure, but to what end? Are we still getting bright people or have we jumped the shark? Is there a tipping point and are we close to it if it exists? I don't know but I hope some more senior than me have been pondering these issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't know but I hope some more senior than me have been pondering these issues.

Yeah, I think they know. It's why they're totally drunk on their ass at the APA.

Anonymous said...

I have a book out this year and a whole lot of papers either out or forthcoming. Will that make a difference? Anybody knows? Or should I just lose any hope?

Anonymous said...

Depends. If you're writing something that could have (should have?) been done 100 years ago, writing something too different/advanced, or can't teach, your goose is cooked. Now if you're doing something pseudo progressive from the last 20 years that the currently tenured folks can understand and dig, you have a chance, especially if you can teach.

Anonymous said...

It depends where you are applying to. Research universities want to see publications with good presses and in good peer-reviewed journals. If you have already published more than most tenured folk at a small teaching college that will blow your chances there.

As for content, you shouldn't expect SCs reading a whole manuscript or book at this stage. If your book is with a good press and some of your big name letter writers say that it's great, most people will be impressed - for the time being.

In the end, people will make up their own minds about your work and that is completely beyond your control.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Nov. 16, 2:44 a.m., I like what you wrote, and hope that I know you, even though I don't know who you are. (If this were Facebook I'd be clicking the "Like" button -- but then, if this were Facebook you would not dare to post that and I would not dare to "Like" it.)

On a semi-related note, I thought I would share a line from an e-mail I received yesterday from a super-distinguished emeritus, whose philological work takes a backseat to no one's, and who is thoroughly dismayed by the rise to power of the lit-crit people. As he succinctly says of them, "Sadly, so-called students of literature do not care for philology. It is always me, and my ideology, and an ancient author as a sounding board." (My guess is that there are two kinds of people reading my post: those who immediately see that this observation is at least somewhat true, and those who do not and thus need to do some introspection.)

Anonymous said...

what is like to deal with CUP for a book contract? how hard is it?

Anonymous said...

CUP-USA, or CUP-UK?

Advanced contract or full contract?

Anonymous said...

Cambridge has become the biggest publisher for Classicists lately. This is both a good thing, and a bad thing. I've heard mixed reviews from friends. Some were treated well, and the manuscript was reviewed quickly. Others languished, ended up pulling the manuscript, and going elsewhere. It seems much depends on which readers you draw.

Anonymous said...

An advance book contract is better than nothing, but not a big deal, esp. not from CUP which is giving them out like candy.

Final acceptance of the manuscript is always contingent on review and authors do get turned down if the readers' reports are bad, in particular at a big press which has dozens of classics books under contract.

Things are a little different with second books, but I guess you are talking about a first book, no?

Anonymous said...

CUP is a mixed bag. Michael Sharp has so many authors and manuscripts to manage that things sometimes fall through the cracks. You should also be careful not to argue against Cambridge big-wigs, who will turn down your ms if it just isn't their style.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I am not the only one who has been struck by just how shoddy some of the more recent CUP publications are! I wonder if they've fired all of their copy-editors, or if they assume that half-baked-again, scarcely-revised dissertations really are "books" worth $75 each.

After all, if most every library has CUP on auto-order, the more things you pump out the more money you make, regardless of the quality of the product. A sort of last hurrah for squeezing profits out of actual book publishing, before the lights are turned out by institutional libraries.

Or, are we seeing all of this now because of the pressures imposed by the REF? What is going on with CUP?

Enquiring minds want to know!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of REF, one good piece of advice I got was that when the review year is coming up CUP and OUP will prioritize books by natives over foreigners. So if you submit a draft to CUP at the wrong time it might be delayed by a year simply because you are not at a British university and thus (to them) do not have as urgent a need to have the book published.

Anonymous said...

Under the REF rules, a British scholar must produce four significant "outputs" during an assessment period. A new book normally counts as only two outputs, just as much as two research articles or book chapters. This creates many bad incentives like rushing books and collected volumes into print, focussing on a very narrow area of research, and creating citation syndicates to drive up "impact" (which can lead to the double-weighting of "outputs").

If you ever plan to apply for a job in the UK, brace yourself for questions about your "research strategy" which is not about the content of your work but about who you intend to produce outputs.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:26 PM That's true, but a sympathetic editor will also prioritize tenure books.

Anonymous said...

Fergus Millar on the REF

http://cdbu.org.uk/university-research-being-stifled-by-red-tape-letters-to-the-editor/

Anonymous said...

Since we're discussing UK matters and some jobs are starting to roll out over there, how open is that job market to non-EU candidates?

Anonymous said...

I was asking about CUP UK, thanks. My understanding is that CUP USA, just like OUP USA, is not as good. So, getting a first contract is easy as getting candies, then passing the whole book may not be. I agree, though, that the quality of CUP books is uneven. Some excellent, others very poor and too dissertation-like.

Anonymous said...

Uk market is as friendly to non EU citizens as US market to non Americans. You do the math.

Anonymous said...

Uk market is as friendly to non EU citizens as US market to non Americans. You do the math.

Anonymous said...

The British government has made it clear that they want to limit the hiring of non-EU academics. A number of institutions have recently offered jobs (not in Classics) to people whose entry visas were then denied by the Home Office. Some HR departments have gotten the message and have started sidelining applications from outside the EU.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, one of the many joys of academic employment. Trying to be a part of a worldwide academic community while trembling beneath the authority of insular cocksuckers.

Anonymous said...

November 20, 2013 at 6:09 AM Anonymous said...
Uk market is as friendly to non EU citizens as US market to non Americans. You do the math.

If this were the case, and I don't think it is, then I would expect between 1 in 2 and 1 in 5 academics to be from the US. In my experience, this is not the case. Classics does tend to be more insular than most other fields (does anyone even know a US citizen who works in an Engineering program?), but any visit to the APA will give the firm impression that US Classics is quite enamoured of UK products (and accents).

The big advantage I see in applying for positions in the UK is that you'll definitely get some sort of a speedy response - for me, it was always a rejection within a few days of the application deadline. Sadly, I'm still waiting to find out if I was rejected for quite a number of US positions for which I was "considered" over the past several seasons...

Anonymous said...

oops, "academics in the UK to be from the US" - no wonder I couldn't get an Oxbridge position.

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard anything about the Vanderbilt job, or has their psychotic and incompetent chair dropped the ball on this too?

Anonymous said...

The problem with applying to the UK is that the standards are different. Young assistant professors in the US are expected to produce a carefully researched and well-written book within six years or so. Yes, there have to be articles too, but the tenure book is the most important thing.

In the UK, the British government expects quantity. High-ranking administrators (who are typically not Classicists) won't be happy to approve a hire unless the candidate produces two peer-reviewed articles a year. Books are far less important, because they don't count for much and assessment periods are only four years long. So if you write a book and a couple of long essays every four years, you will be deemed relatively unproductive. If you, however, publish three articles every year - no matter how narrow your field of research - you will do rather well.

That said, your future departmental colleagues will typically expect you to have published a book (or to have one in press) before they make you a "permanent" lecturer. This system works well for continental Europeans (esp. for the Dutch and the Germans) but not really for recent American grads.

Anonymous said...

Agree in the basics with the previous poster, but it must be said that not all institutions will consider 'a book and a couple of long essays' insufficient for REF purposes; as long as there are four outputs, and all four are excellent, you can pretty well expect to be considered productive. Still, it is true that this system doesn't necessarily work for ABDs or recent grads from the US. But that doesn't mean it is any easier for UK doctorates either - my sense is that most doctorates from the UK need to obtain a JRF or multiple 1-year contracts before they will be taken seriously for 'permanent' lectureships. I'm sure the market is just as bad - if not worse - for UK doctorates in Classics.

Anonymous said...

yes, freshly minted PhDs in England are expected to do a post-doc until they have their first book out. The difference with the US is that holding a JRF at Oxbridge is very prestigious, whereas a post-doc in the US is, with a few exceptions, always second best.

If you manage to produce four excellent outputs during an assessment period you are fine. The trouble is that not all outputs may be weighted that way. And writing, never mind publishing, a book every four years is not very efficient if you get credited with just as many outputs by writing two articles.

If you are not an Oxbridge grad, the UK job market is also pretty bad. But if you are there is much more room for sponsored mobility (a.k.a. patronage) than in the US.

Anonymous said...

The idea that recent US grads would apply to actual permanent lectureships in the UK is pretty ludicrous. We aren't even eligible for most JRFs, since our PhDs take so much longer to complete.

I went to one of the top US PhD programs, and spent most of my time rehashing a bunch of stuff I already knew from undergraduate studies. It seems to be assumed that no one actually knows Latin or Greek when they enter grad school. The very idea of "reading lists" and such is absurd. If you can read your languages, it won't matter if you've ever seen that text before.

Anonymous said...

And I'll just make the point of the above explicit: if you can't read any Latin or Greek text that exists with few to no mistakes, you shouldn't have been admitted to graduate school in the first place.

Anonymous said...

as a matter of fact, most beginning grad students don't know much Greek or Latin when they start grad school. If you had ever graded a diagnostic exam for incoming grad students of a leading US program, you would know that.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. And those people should never have been admitted. Had they not, maybe the unemployment problem in Classics wouldn't be so dire.

Anonymous said...

But of course, those top programs need these incompetent new students to teach their undergrads how to be incompetent, too.

Anonymous said...

All top US programs compete for the same 10-20 students every year. In the end, they have to admit ill-prepared students to keep their programs going. The problem is that language instruction in the US is awful (only the UK may be worse) and that it is considered a feat for an undergraduate to effortlessly read even easy authors like Xenophon or Caesar. Making college-level language instruction harder is not the answer, because it would further depress enrollment. We have to work with what we got.

Anonymous said...

"if you can't read any Latin or Greek text that exists with few to no mistakes, you shouldn't have been admitted to graduate school in the first place"

Wow. So troll. Many faux-elite. Such naive. Wow!

Anonymous said...

"We have to work with what we got."

If that's what we've got, better to shut down the whole discipline than sully Greek and Roman literature with the attentions of unworthy students.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:10 is wildly overestimating his/her knowledge of Greek and Latin. I thought I knew Greek and Latin well a long time ago--and people told me I did. Years of study have shown me that I did not, and that I was really just accepting a lot of poorly thought out and flattened interpretations of texts. My Greek and Latin is better now, but not very good, but even so I am able to publish arguments showing that much-studied texts have been misunderstood. I look forward to refereeing Anonymous 4:10's articles.

Anonymous said...

those who think that getting a contract with CUP at any stage is easy should try to do it themselves. It takes years of reports, revisions and re-writing. You do not get your name out with them very easily. It is easy only if you are a Cambridge grad and get your thesis in their thesis series (and you advisor will be your referee!). And those are the worst CUP books.

Anonymous said...

Look, getting a contract with CUP may be hard, but getting a job is WAY fucking harder.

Our field has reached a point where employment, rather than any specific achievement in research or teaching, is the holy grail.

Anonymous said...

and that is because you have no control on hiring decisions. But you do have control over the quality of what you write.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, you have to be the right person at the right time at the right place. Some places want someone fresh out of graduate school and others a more seasoned scholars with lots of publications. Relax. At this stage, the job market is completely beyond your control.

Anonymous said...

Search committee members:
We who are about to die salute you.

Anonymous said...

Query to Nov. 19 at 12:16 pm: what's the basis for your claim that an advance book contract "is better than nothing but not a big deal"?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

The basis for the claim is my experience with the hiring and the tenure and promotion process.

An advance book contract only means that the press is committed to sending out the finished manuscript for review. That's not nothing, but no guarantee that the book will actually come out with the press - or at all.

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts other than those of Nov 7 and Nov 10 on alternatives to academic jobs for people with Classics degrees? Or even ideas on where one could start to look?

Anonymous said...

Well, keep in mind that you can do something completely different if you want. Me, I'm looking into careers that are in ridiculously high demand: nursing is one, computer programming another. Both can be achieved in only a few years of study, allow you to live pretty much anywhere, and pay better on average than being a Classics prof.

If you stick to things which will allow you to directly apply your Classics skills, you are for the most part sticking to things that will suffer from the same dearth of jobs and surplus of labor.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking more in terms of careers that won't necessarily entail yet more training/schooling. Income would be nice at this point in my life. :)

Anonymous said...

I've known a few people to try their hand at teaching EFL/ESL abroad. Speaking of teaching abroad, has anyone seen anything on the AUC Cairo job? I noticed that it wasn't listed on the wiki. Anyway, the conditions vary (drastically) but if you've got nothing else...

Anonymous said...

You don't really need to go back to school for computer programming. Self-teaching works very well if you have the aptitude, and coding is a lot like playing with an inflected language.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated note: Does anyone know whether these Skype interviews for the Amherst College job are an additional hurdle to be passed to reach the APA interview stage, or are they happening instead of APA interviews?

Anonymous said...

Can we please rid the Wiki of the Cheers and Jeers section? The random subjective comments belong here, not cluttering an actually useful resource. (I'm kidding about that last bit, but I'm serious that the section doesn't belong.)

Anonymous said...

"But academia in 2013 isn’t the career I went to school for. It’s not the career I fell in love with. And it’s not the career I want to be in. However many good people there are in it - and there are lots, including dear friends - it is a corrupt and abusive snake pit, and I don’t want to play anymore."

This is a must-read:

http://www.philipsandifer.com/2013/05/farewell-to-academia.html

Anonymous said...

Well, someone really did out themselves on the Wiki this time. Nice to be able to read the CV of someone who got seven interviews, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Question: If your Plan B suddenly opens up and you find that you are *almost* certainly going to be leaving the field in the immediate future, should you still take conference interviews, or is it better to cancel them?

In this case I've I already shelled out the money for the APA, so that isn't an issue; I'm just concerned about the ethical ramifications of taking a conference interview if I might not actually take the job if offered.

Anonymous said...

Re 12:51. Go to the APA. Your Plan B isn't certain, from what you say, and you shouldn't rely on it. You will be one of at least a dozen and possibly up to twenty longlisted candidates (unless the position is the TLL or something similar which is decided on the basis of an APA interview) so you shouldn't feel any guilt about wasting anyone's time (in fact, you should never feel this way unless you're absolutely 100% sure you wouldn't take the job if offered, which you aren't, and if that were the case, why did you apply in the first place?)
For what it's worth, I've declined jobs in the past (though only VAPs or post-docs), and only one SC was ever dickish in any way about it. People understand that you are applying for many things, and they expect their chosen candidate to have other offers. And people who are difficult about it are probably not people you want as colleagues, anyway.

Anonymous said...

To follow up after a very useful comment (from someone else, of course), I'll also observe that if SC members had any right to feel annoyed at us for "wasting" their time by participating in an interview, imagine how annoyed we'd be allowed to feel when we're offered those pretend sham interviews that are only there to fill out the mandatory list of 10 or 15 interviewees required by the institution, even though the committee has no intention whatsoever of even considering us for the position. And yes, this does happen. And no, we shouldn't feel particularly annoyed (maybe). By all means, go rock those interviews and see where the cards all fall!

Anonymous said...

So, uh, are we going to boycott Israel too? http://chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Debate-Significance/143645/

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