Category Archives: Profession

The Absent-Minded Professor

You know the stereotype: the professor with crooked glasses, bumping into doors, unable to remember his own name? I actually taught for weeks with broken glasses one semester, because I didn’t have time to replace them until the break. And … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Research, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“Should I Go to Grad School?”

Wrong reasons: -You want to stay in school. -You’re afraid of the job market. -You don’t know what else to do. -You’re really smart and do well in school, so you should prove that by going as far as you … Continue reading

Posted in GradSchool, History, Profession | Tagged | Leave a comment

“My prof is so stupid”

I’ve heard this said on my campus. Often by a student who is also making fundamental factual and grammatical errors in the process of an extended whine that, I can only assume, was prompted by a lower-than-expected grade. I’ve also … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Grades are so subjective”

Actually, they’re probably less subjective than you think. And to the degree that there is still some subjectivity, it probably works in your favor, not against you. First, in many classes these days grades may be almost completely objective, as … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ASEEES and AHA

In the last few months I’ve enjoyed the rich alphabet soup of attending ASEEES and AHA in NOLA. Say what? I mean I attended the annual conference of Slavicists and Eastern Europeanists and that of the American Historical Association, which … Continue reading

Posted in GradSchool, History, Profession | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Russian archives

I first arrived in Ivanovo, Russia, in the fall of 2004 by overnight train from Moscow. We pulled into Ivanovo at seven in the morning, and I peeked out, still sleepy and disoriented. I asked the elderly gentlemen getting off … Continue reading

Posted in History, Profession, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dickens and Dostoevsky Just Got Real

Check out this nicely written and detailed summary of a recent dissertation that should be getting a lot of attention, in my totally-not-humble opinion (the author may just happen to also be my spouse). Which reminds me to mention that … Continue reading

Posted in History, Profession, Research, Russia | Tagged | Leave a comment

Obama the Professor

There have been a lot of profiles written about Barack Obama, and I have read many of them with interest. As usual, I tend to read them with half my mind thinking about the difference between these kinds of profiles … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Random | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What is a Ph.D., Really? And What Is It Good For?

I’ve gotten the impression that many people think a Ph.D. program is like a master’s program, but longer. That you just keep taking courses—like a million of them—and then eventually you write another really big paper, and you’re done. This … Continue reading

Posted in GradSchool, Profession | Tagged | Leave a comment

What is academic history?

History is unique in being counted (or confused) as falling under both the social sciences and the humanities. From its beginnings in oral storytelling, history was a partly literary exercise (and thus a part of the humanistic tradition) until it … Continue reading

Posted in History, Profession, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Money

I learned not long ago that as a tenure-track assistant professor* of history I was making the same salary as a deckhand on the Staten Island Ferry. I don’t begrudge the deckhand his salary one bit, because I know as … Continue reading

Posted in Profession | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Why Is Academic Writing So Unpleasant to Read?

I’ll be the first to admit that many academic books and articles just aren’t a good read. Sometimes they could be much better written. Sometimes they’re as well-written as they can be, but the subject matter and purposes of the … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Teaching | Tagged | Leave a comment

What is Tenure?

 Many people think tenure means job security. That it means that educators, unlike everyone else, can’t be fired. This is nonsense. Tenure does not equal job security. It does not exist in order to protect the jobs of teachers. I … Continue reading

Posted in History, Profession, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What is a Historian?

When I was in middle school, we had an assignment to research a profession we were interested in pursuing. In order to find such a profession, we were first asked what we were interested in, and what we were good … Continue reading

Posted in History, Profession, Research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Billable Hours

How does an academic spend her time? Mostly out of your sight, which is why so few people actually understand the nature of academic work. What people see is our classroom teaching, and maybe our “office hours,” designated times when … Continue reading

Posted in Profession, Research, Teaching | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment