Things that happen in the Margins of Academic CV’s (aka “Life”)

I haven’t written anything here in a long time. Over a year, to be precise, and while I have been online a lot (a LOT) during that year, I have spent most energy offline: life happened. And it is precisely here where where life happens: in the spaces for productivity that remain temporarily empty.

The section on the academic CV that says “Things that happened while I was not publishing,” or “Fellowships I couldn’t apply to because…. LIFE” does not exist. The complete separation of the scholar from the physical, physiological, mental, emotional person is at the heart of academia. And while I am not favoring a communal “let’s share everything” approach, and while I do appreciate talking about work and work only with my colleagues and friends to remember that I am a thinking being, as well, I think this segregation of thought and life sometimes produces expectations that are, pun intended, bigger than life.

This, in turn, might contribute to conditions of labor at universities (yes, it is, indeed, labor) where more than 75% of faculty are working as adjunct professors. Not only underpaid with no benefits, but lifting the heavy weight of entire institutions on their shoulders, representing those institutions to their students, while having no job security whatsoever. And quoting a recent article in the New York Times, maintenance is hard, and it is so much less glamorous than production. So it seems that if/when you want brilliant scholarship, setting up a life for scholars with as little maintaining of essential needs should be in one’s interest.

So here is to hope come fall’s application season: hoping for positions for all my brilliant colleagues and friends that let’s them produce amazing scholarship precisely because they allow life to happen.

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