Friday, September 25, 2009

CFP: Jane Addams and Her Legacy

Call for Articles
Special Issue of Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research
Topic: The Legacy of Jane Addams

Peace & Change, the journal of the Peace History Society (PHS) and the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) is planning a special issue in early 2011 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jane Addams’s birth and the 10th anniversary of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, gender equality, and peace. We are interested in publishing pieces pertinent to Addams’s legacy of women’s rights, nonviolence, citizenship responsibility, human rights, and activism against the use of violence against women in militarized societies or during war. Articles which address the work of women’s organizations, human rights efforts, and individual people’s work on behalf of women are welcome. Also of interest are first-hand accounts from activists currently working on these issues. Acceptance for publication will be based on originality, scholarship, and attention to women’s issues. We particularly welcome materials addressing regional or global perspectives through a historical lens.

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2010. Contributors will be notified by late February of acceptance of papers. All revisons will be due back to the editors by June 15, 2010.

Guidelines for submission can be found here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The End (of Something) Is Nigh

Like many pragmatists, my philosophical and political temperament is unabashedly tilted toward meliorism. That is, I think that we humans have it within our power to make a better life for ourselves.

But there are days when holding this commitment is a struggle. The Onion reports it best:

"Nadir of Western Civilization to Be Reached This Friday at 3:32 pm"
Experts predict that the penultimate catastrophe will occur at approximately 7:15 p.m. Thursday night, when the social networking tool Twitter will be used to communicate a series of ideas so banal they will instantaneously negate the three centuries of the Renaissance.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Questions for Graduate Programs

A former undergraduate student of mine is interested in pursuing a career teaching philosophy. She's asked her former professors for advice about where to apply. Of course, no two people recommend the same schools to her.

There's a world of difference between picking a grad school now and in the pre-Internet age. She has the Gourmet report and The Philosophy Smoker to guide her.

But wait! The Gourmet Report will rank departments year after year. But does it answer the questions which really need answering for prospective students? Will it tell you:

1. which locations have affordable apartment rentals?
2. which graduate programs have the fattest stipends?
3. anything at all about attrition rates? (And isn't that, really, the bottom line?)
4. which departments have their misogynists (and misanthropists) under tight control?
5. which departments have teachers that can teach you to teach? and who won't judge you to be a lesser person should you announce that your career goal is to be a superior community college or liberal arts college professor?
6. which departments really do have good placement rates (as opposed to the embroidered facts they post on their websites)?
7. which placement officers can and will aggressively talk up all their department's job candidates?

What questions have I left off?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Women and academic careers

A post worth reading at BlogHer on "Women in academia (especially) can't have it all." The links are worth tracing, too. (Don't we all have time to lose in the labyrinth of the Internet during these first few weeks of class?)

I do believe that emphasizing the positive has much psychological utility--at the same time that keeping a real perspective on the bleak average outlook is necessary for political engagement. The number of women I know who have hit obstacles in balancing work/family/self/social engagement is a high one. Certainly it's something everyone struggles with. The struggle gets tiring.

But what deserves our attention is not the usual struggle but the degree and the injustice of failure to stay in the workstream. I have women colleagues, now approaching retirement age, who were able to have kids (before or after their graduate degree) and then later re-enter (or enter for the first time) academia. I suspect that in the last 20 years this route has become less possible. A short period of bad luck--washing out in the job market for a couple years in a row or a serious illness--combined with the demands of family can spell the end of a deserving and talented person's career.

I also know quite a few women with happy family lives, engaged with friends or politics, who are doing well enough in their careers. Only a handful of those have stellar academic careers with published books and prestigious academic appointments that come with lavish travel funds. The majority of women I know figured out early that what would be sacrificed was the (often illusory) hope of stardom. That illusion--inculcated in absolutely everyone in graduate school and maintained on a certain other blog--obscures the first-class value of teaching colleges.

But woe to those with partners in academia. That system certainly can be unfair.