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ComeBackZinc last won the day on May 13 2015

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    Purdue Rhetoric and Comp

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  1. But see, here's the problem, for someone like me who's been engaging on this for years: there have already been a ton of essays published in exactly the same vein as that of VirtualMessage. Complaints like those aren't rare in the adjunct crisis/grad student crisis/academic labor crisis/etc narrative. They're the dominant form! They're ubiquitous! And I've been reading them for ten years. So my question is, how often can we write the same essays that get the same agreement from the same people and expect things to change? Part of what frustrates me is that VirtualMessage's complaints are so often treated as novel, around here, when in fact they're just par for the course. Anyone who engages on this issue has heard them many times. Sure: it's important to inspire people to feel particular things. But at what point does that duty to inspire a particular feeling end and a duty to actually articulate an actionable approach to achieving a better system begin?
  2. I am once again unclear, VirtualMessage, about what you want people on this board, or in the academy, to actually do. And once again, it seems clear to me that you are less interested in having some sort of constructive change than you are in getting people here to embrace a certain kind of affective or emotional attitude towards the academy. Suppose we all did: so what? If we all started beating our breast and emoting the way that you do, what would materially change? If you want to be useful, you have to learn to separate your own bitterness and anger over how you were exploited from the material and economic realities of the exploitation that I, and many others, have agreed exists. And yet every time you come around here -- every single time -- you inevitably focus on the least material, most emotional, most affective, most personal aspect of this debate. Every time. And you never, ever listen to any criticism or feedback that people level at you. So why do you persist? Is this therapy for you? Is that it?
  3. My advice: 1. Use this summer to explore your creative writing work (which, FWIW, many people in rhet/comp are into), because you won't have much time at all to do such things once you've started and you want to give yourself mental space to rest and do your own stuff for now. Nobody expects an MA student to be getting published, let alone someone who's not yet started their MA. Of course publication is important, but if your work is good it will be good in the summer after your first MA year, which is a fine time to start drafting articles. 2. I would not try to rework a lit paper into a rhet/comp article; papers like that tend to read like, well, lit papers reworked into rhet/comp articles, which rhet/comp journals get a lot of and tend not to be very enthusiastic about. If these papers are worth publishing, try publishing them in lit journals. No, a lit article won't be as valuable on the job market as a rhet/comp article, but a pub's a pub, and it's a more fruitful use of your time to tighten up a paper into its best form than to try and Frankenstein it into something it wasn't intended to be. Just my 2 cents.
  4. I recognize the legitimacy of your anger and I appreciate your overall political project. I agree about the need for solidarity and taking concrete steps to reduce the demise of TT positions. I do think you have more friends than you realize, if you would care to look for them a little more fairly.
  5. I know all about it, because she first announced it on the WPA listserv-- that's right, she was a WPA, the very type of faculty member that you have derided in this space again and again. And she received great support and advice from the other WPAs. So maybe you should reconsider whether WPAs are the devil. And, yes, I want the same things. I just want you to understand that your tone is not always conducive to convincing the people who we both need to convince.
  6. I know for some people on this thread it's the adjunct's own fault-- how dare they let themselves be exploited! Who? Based on what statement? Quotes, please.
  7. As I said, the Atlantic article is just a quick hitter. Again: I've been studying this issue almost nonstop for two years, mostly with NCES and BLS data. If you think that their data is substandard.... that's interesting. Its first argument is that humanities majors have about the same unemployment rate as everyone else. Dude, no shit. In other words, you made an inflammatory and incorrect statement, got called out on it, and are now making a vastly different statement. On the other hand, take a slice from, say, the PhD labor market: science PhDs are tens of percent less unemployed than humanities PhDs. You didn't say PhDs. You said majors. If you don't want to be criticized, speak with care. There's probably as good a distance between an English major and food stamps as between an engineer and the same. This is a quantitative claim that is easily rebutted, if you actually care to look at the BLS data instead of once again pulling stuff out of your butt. whereas English majors may do quite well on the market, they're not doing quite well in jobs that specifically look for English majors A significant majority of all college graduates get jobs in fields that are not related to their major, including in most STEM fields. Saying that English majors can get jobs or that some English majors sometimes get excellent jobs is boring and stupid And yet it was exactly that claim that you initially showed up to complain about. throwing around your wonderfully old and opaque statistics is only exacerbating it. Those stats aren't that old, and anyway, the employment prospects of humanities majors have improved in the last two years, not worsened, as they have for almost all sectors of the current economy, so newer stats would only hurt your argument more. And there's nothing opaque about those stats at all. If you'd actually care to look, you'd see that in fact the worst outcomes are typically found for majors in Education, Psychology, and Business. But you don't actually care to look, because you've got a false impression you'd like to preserve.
  8. In fact engineering is undergoing a marketed labor slowdown in some subfields, and the general notion of a STEM shortage is unfounded: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/the-myth-of-the-science-and-engineering-shortage/284359/
  9. The supposed poor employment condition of liberal arts majors and English majors in general has been the subject of several years of research of mine. In fact, humanities majors do not suffer on the job market. Though the notion that they do is commonplace, it lacks evidentiary basis. Indeed, English majors themselves do quite well on the job market. What you're saying is factually inaccurate. I'm sorry to blow up your spot, but thems the facts. Here's a quickie, for example: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/the-best-argument-for-studying-english-the-employment-numbers/277162/
  10. Yeah one point that I try to be very nuanced on is that a) the academic job market is very very bad, but all for all recent humanities PhDs aren't doing as terribly as we've been told.
  11. Here's a cool, worthwhile initiative from MLA along these lines. https://connect.commons.mla.org/
  12. You ignored the question, of course. By the way: I neither mentioned my job nor said that NTT is the best we can do.
  13. If in any given employment situation the choice is between an adjunct making $3K a class with no contract, no benefits, no respect for research at all, no room for advancement and no hope, or a full-time, long-term, contracted lecturer making a living wage, earning benefits, and having the opportunity for promotion, which do you think is better? Making the perfect the enemy of the good does nobody any favors. And I condescend to you because you have single-handedly hijacked this forum again and again, in a way that doesn't make it any easier for people like me to counsel others to consider a different path that grad school. I have been urging people here to consider forgoing grad school for years. I have been speaking out about the awful job market here for years. In my AFK life, I have been organizing and raising consciousness and fighting for better conditions with my fellow grad students for years. People like you do not help the situation at all. In fact, most people who hear your type of rhetoric become more emboldened to go to grad school and pursue their TT dreams, because you're so one-note, so didactic and patronizing, and so resistant to alternative opinions. You actually make the side minimizing the labor crisis appear more reasonable. Have you considered that?
  14. I applied for several NTT jobs in my job hunt this past year. All of the ones I applied to had the following characteristics: they provided a living wage that would enable me to live modestly but comfortably; that they had multi-year contracts; that the teaching load was no higher than a 3/3; that people currently in those positions reported privately to me that their work was respected and valued and that their research was taken seriously. A nice bonus was jobs where research funding was possible or jobs where NTT faculty had a voice in the faculty senate. Some of these jobs were quite well paying in great cities on great campuses, featuring summers off if you wanted them or some availability for summer teaching if you needed the money. If you think those jobs are inherently beneath you, you're nothing but a snob.
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