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Meanwhile, Stupidity Happens

Students are upset that English Professor Aimee Bahng has been denied tenure; meanwhile today’s lecture by New School Professor Nancy Fraser is part of her hiring review. Is Fraser the kind of person we want to have on the faculty?:

Nancy Fraser.jpg

Once you have read, possibly a couple of times, the description of Fraser’s lecture, ask yourself if Dartmouth needs yet another professor who is part of the academic jargonistic phase of post-capitalist social evolution. (My view is that anyone who talks such pap should be stricken from the rolls posthaste.)

Addendum: Kevin Bui ‘17 and 101 people concerned about Aimee Bahng’s tenure decision shared a thought in the peculiar vernacular of too many of today’s protesting undergraduates:

Aimee Bahng Facebook post.jpg

Addendum: A close follower of the College’s affairs writes in:

After perusing a few snippets from Professor Bahng’s English department webpage, Fraser and Bahng sound like a toss-up to me. I say posthaste to both of them. P.C. gibberish and trendy drivel.

Addendum: A thoughtful reader shares a comment on Aimee Bahng:

Regarding your piece on Aimee Bhang, it’s easy, unfortunate, and dismissive to label things “jargon.” When this happens in science, we assume the terminology to be necessary and helpful, even if we don’t understand it When it happens in American Studies or other fields,especially the much-maligned “studies” areas, we assume it’s b.s. Just for the hell of it, you might consider that these terms (like scientific ones) build on past knowledge, connect to past work, and generally are part of the field moving itself forward.

Not only is this a cheap shot, it ignores more obvious reasons for Bhang’s tenure denial. It appears from her cv she’s been at Dartmouth since 2009, which means her tenure review must already have been postponed once or even twice. Her cv list of presented papers shows a steady record of reading at ASA, a very competitive conference. But it also mixes panels on which she was a respondent with those in which she presented. Her publication list has a hole between 2008 and 2015, which looks like someone scrambling as they come up for tenure. There is a strong record of (internal) grants which one might hope would have resulted in more completed work. Bhang’s book, labeled “forthcoming,’ is also very late in the game (this might be ok at some places if there weren’t also the lack of articles in the same period) and can’t be found on the Duke Press website. I can think of some places where this cv could earn you tenure, but they are not in Dartmouth’s league.

Students might be less knee-jerk and angry themselves if, instead of attacking Bhang’s field from a cartoonish position, you situated her actual tenure case (admittedly, it can’t be known fully from this kind of poking around) within the world of academic tenure practices.

Addendum: A reader responds:

Your correspondent needs to read about the Sokal affair in which a scientist concocted an article of pure jargonized gibberish and had it published in an academic journal of “postmodern cultural studies.”


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