Monday, January 14, 2008

And Theres a Little Yellow Man in My Head

I'm having a hard time staying sane right now. And by "having a hard time", I mean "failing." I am bat shit crazy.

It's the waiting. It's making me fucking neurotic. Or obsessive-compulsive, if that's something different. I check my e-mail every two minutes. I check it after every paragraph I read. I've already checked it twice since starting this post. If I wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes I can't get back to sleep without checking my e-mail, because, you know, some search committee member might have e-mailed after she closed down the bar.

Yes, I know, I should get away from my computer. I should go take up pottery or yoga or some shit like that. But I can't get away from my computer. I need it to write. And yes, I've already tried turning my wireless off. That worked for about fifteen minutes, before I freaked out and turned it back on again. Coffee shops won't work, either, because all the good ones have free wireless, so heading out into the world would just inflict my crazy on innocents.

Jesus, this isn't pretty.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been rejected from each and every place I applied to, including those I interviewed at.

I mention this only to say that it's not clear which was worse: getting all these rejections, or waiting to get them.

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of why I love you fuckers.

Anonymous said...

p.s I'm like you, except that in addition to checking my email, I check the Philosophy Job Market Blog.

Anonymous said...

After a certain point, waiting is worse -- I've got a few remaining possibilities, but they're distant and I have no reason to think they won't reject me like the rest have. At least once they're all done maybe I can regroup and figure out what the hell to do next.

I used to work in a different field. There's a prof who convinced me that I should come and work in philosophy. I'd like to throttle that guy right about now.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing reminds me of looking for an apartment in a big East Coast city. 2.5 years ago my roommate and I were *desperate* to find a place. One of the places we found had cut off the applicants at 10 - just the first 10 to email would be allowed to apply for the apartment. We literally jumped up and down for joy.

Until we realized our chances of getting the place were approximately 10%...

Diana said...

This blog is great--you make laugh and have given me some comic relief! I too am on the job market (too bad no fire in the hotel this year) and the waiting is driving me insane. Good luck and I hope you get a fly-out.

Sisyphus said...

Yeah, the only up side to being out of the running everywhere is that you're not waiting to hear if you're out of the running.

Can't you kick it old skool? You know, paper and a pen, somewhere where you can't get to a computer?

Or try to distract yourself with physical work that prevents you from being glued to the internet ... maybe clean the apt top to bottom? Go work out?

... there's always porn?...

Penguin Wacker said...

Oh yes, obsessively checking email, checking this blog, but aren't we forgetting something....masturbating. I don't know if I masturbated more while trying to finish my diss. or when I was really in the job market grind.

That is what I call thwacking the penguin (approx. 520 was my best thwack).

fellow grad student said...

Sounds like it may be time to kick it really old school.. pad of paper and a pen?

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Um, thanks for the, uh, creative suggestions, guys. . . .

Anonymous said...

I second anon 8:29. I'm checking email, wiki, and this blog. At least I get results in 1 out of 3 of these, except late at night when everyone stops posting comments. Wha'd'ya all do? Go to bed early?

no hed idn't said...

choke the chicken. It's the best relief. eat some greasy food. play scrabble online, and send a mother of three whimpering away from her computer with a triple letter score.

ABD said...

I'm curious about the success rate of people with PhD in hand vs. the rate of people who are ABD. I wonder if expecting to get a fly-out as an ABD is unrealistic (unless you are an ethnic minority).

Anonymous said...

Two words: intramural basketball. Go hack some undergrads.

Anonymous said...

Form of self-torture #280:

Incessant checking of homepage log for hits from job-wielding schools. No, wait--for hits from *states* from which job-wielding schools hail.

When I do get relevant hits, of course it does me absolutely no good. Not like I'm going to email school x and say, So, dja like whatcha saw? Huh?

Ethnic Minority said...

Anon 3:19,

Why the assumption that ethnic minorities are getting all the fly-outs? Is it because all the major programs (Leiter's top 10, for example) are like 30-50% black and Latino? (The bottom forty, I know this percentage drops to 25-40%.)

At the APA, I decided to count what I saw more of: black philosophers or people jogging in the freezing cold temperatures of Baltimore. The latter won, 21-15.

And that's of course including all those black job applicants who are picking up all of the 300 or so fly-outs....

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Anon. 7:46 --

You counted? Hilarious. As for me, I just had a few moments where I looked around the hotel and thought, "Damn, the APA is a snowy-white sausage party!"

tenured philosophy girl said...

What happened to PGOAT? I miss her! I hope she is too busy hopping from flyout to flyout to blog...

Anonymous said...

yeah, where the fuck is pgoat?

P.G.O.A.T. said...

Tenured Philosophy Girl:

Would it were so, but just I'm on a dissertation bender right now.

You know when you're writing really fast on a first draft, and you put in lots of "[argument needed here]"? It turns out you have to go back and fill those in, otherwise your department won't give you a PhD.

Dr. Killjoy said...

I happen to know that ALL of the interviewees for a certain top 20 Leiter school were ABD. Every last one of them. I also happen to know that ALL of the interviewees were from top 20 Leiter Schools, every last one of them.

tt assprof said...

Yeah, come to think of it, all of our flyouts are ABD. All six of them.

Two of them are ethnic minority and three of them are women. (Though the ethnic minority sort are not the "underrepresented" kind--I guess.) But none were chosen because of either of these criteria.

Jake said...

If you are an ethnic minority or a woman philosopher, you will get a flyout. This is not based on skill but color and sex. It's true. I'm not saying they are the majority, but they are favored.

abd said...

ethnic minority,

The assumption is based on comments I've seen here (I don't remember which post) and on comments made by faculty members in my own department. I have nothing harder on which to base it.

I think a faculty commenter here said that, sometimes, departments get money for interviewing ethnic minorities. I remember reading somewhere (here?) that at least one department has invited a candidate outside of the department's desired AOS simply based on the candidate's race and the money that department receives for this interview (which, in my mind, is kind of shitty if they don't intend to hire this candidate).

Perhaps, some faculty commenters might let us know if the assumptions hold in their searches.

The assumptions, then, are these:

1) Most universities want their departments to be more ethnically diverse.
2) Some universities offer departments incentives for interviewing and hiring ethnic minorities (or disincentives for not, at least, interviewing ethnic minorities).
3) Some philosophy departments in the universities that offer incentives (or disincentives) attempt to take advantage of these universities' incentives (or try to avoid the disincentives).
4) Because of the dearth of ethnic minorities in philosophy graduate programs and the desire of the programs described in #3, some philosophy search committees are willing to interview and make offers to ethnic minorities who may or may not have the exact AOS desired by their department (i.e. the value of the incentives (or of avoiding disincentives) outweighs the value of interviewing or hiring someone in the desired AOS).
5) Hence, ethnic minority philosophy students get more interviews and fly-outs from more departments across a spectrum of AOS's even when these ethnic minority candidates have less to commend them (e.g. less publications, ABD v. PhD-in-hand, etc.).

Are there any here who can support or refute these assumptions with her or his own experiences? Is there any reason to think that ethnic minorities are or are not getting more interviews and fly-outs based on their ethnicity?

[I should say that I think it is great that many philosophy departments are trying to be more diverse. As long as they are not dicking with ethnic minority candidates they don't intend to hire, I say, "Hooray, for the departments; hooray for affirmative action!"]

abd said...

dr. killjoy,

Well, that sucks! Not for these specific ABD's (good for them), but it would be nice to have an excuse.

Anonymous said...

PGOAT: I'm at exactly the same stage. Frustrating, isn't it? Some of those little areas I had forgotten about, and they keep rearing their ugly heads as soon as I think I'm "almost done."

BrownABD said...

I think being ABD with a defense date firmly in stone before June is is almost like having the PhD in hand.

Being ABD without the defense date set is probably puts one out of the running.

I am an ethnic minority that is ABD but no defense date set. I got some APA interviews but no flyouts.

My guess is that being an ethnic minority may have helped get me some of the APA interviews (I got 3 out of 14 applications). This is because some AA/EO offices will not certify an interview unless it is appropriately diverse.

That said, according to the wiki, I have no flyouts and I think I did well in the interviews.My hunch is that being ABD with no defense date set really hurt.

Once you get to the flyout stage what committees are looking for are qualifications, i.e, PhD, articles, teaching evals. Being brown or black is not a free pass to a flyout or a job!

Anonymous said...

Not sure the ABD vs. PhD theory holds much. The year I was on the market ABD I had seven fly-out offers (didn't take them all). The year I was on the market with PhD I had one fly-out. Asking my advisor about this phenomenon I was told that departments are all interested in scooping the folks filled with hope and promise. The next year you're old and crusty and everybody's wondering what sort of defect you have.

Not to be discouraging...

Anonymous said...

Its both a floor wax and a desert topping.

There are all sorts of hurdles and obstacles to succeeding if you are a woman or ethnic minority (probably more in the latter case). Hence there are far fewer PhDs in philosophy being granted to those people.

However, the few who do get that far benefit from the fact that there is pressure, at some schools, to redress the absense of women and minorities on faculties.

Hence, women and minories face both discriminations and benifits--at different stages of their careers.

Its both a floor wax and a desert topping.

Anonymous said...

I have campus interviews and I'm still chained to my email. Don't think it ends when you get those interviews: that phone call gives you about five minutes of euphoria and then there's the terror of the interview prep. And then, after the interview, the even worse waiting to see if you actually got the job.

Man, I hate this. But this is what I chose, so c'est la vie, right? :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I was hoping I'd be pretty exotic to some schools. I hail from Connecticut, but I applied to schools all the way out in California. I figured that they'd want some diversity. Oh, and I'm also Jewish - that's pretty exotic, right?... A Jewish epistemologist from Connecticut... Why isn't the phone ringing off the hook????

Anonymous said...

Just what are the obstacles for women obtaining a phd in philosophy versus males of same race and same economic background? I'm not saying that there aren't any, but it seems that many of the reasons I've heard trotted out were perhaps true 30ish years ago, but not today.

Anonymous said...

I've gone back and forth on the issue of whether minorities and women do, in fact, have an advantage on the market. I have sat on search committees where hiring a female candidate has been high on the list of priorities. However, it was not definitive and the decision ultimately came down to teaching experience, school, and research. Ultimately men were hired for these positions. When I was on the market I had fairly favorable results (about 2 or 3 interviews for an average of 12 applications in a very minority branch of philosophy in the United States... Continental). I do know of one university outside of philosophy that hired a couple with full tenure specifically because of ethnicity. However, both of these people had also done excellent research and were deserving of such a position. It is beyond doubt that ethnic minorities and women are highly desirable candidates in philosophy because they are so under-represented, but research and teaching count.

Depending on the institution where you got your PhD, I would emphasize that teaching experience is tremendously important to search committees. This is often discounted or under emphasized by candidates just going on the market. If you have a good deal of teaching experience, excellent course evaluations, and good class observation reports, this will be taken very seriously by search committees for four year programs and is often weighted higher than research. These programs want good educators that inspire students and fill them with enthusiasm. Many seem to expect that they'll jump right into a research program. However, you need to bust your chops first and earn a bit of a name before getting such a position (unless you're coming from an outstanding program and have published a fair amount already). In my experience, being ABD works against you, though others here seem to think otherwise. From a search committee's perspective, why hire someone who's ABD and might flakeout in completing or defending their dissertation when you can hire an accomplished PhD with teaching experience and a fair amount of research under their belt?

seeking said...

I think women and minorities simply have it easier. I think it's a fact they they receive fellowships and are chosen for jobs given their scarcity. That means that those of us of European descent get shafted because of multiculturalism. By the way, i am not racist or against multiculturalism.

seeking said...

Let's be serious how did Tommie Shelby get an offer from UC Berkeley and then kept his post at Harvard. Seriously, speaking he's published one book and edited a book in the philosophy and pop. culture series. You be the judge.

Nate said...

9:44,

Read this:
https://wikis.mit.edu/confluence/download/attachments/28375/HaslangerCSWpanel07.pdf

Anonymous said...

If you use Firefox you can install the LeechBlock plugin and set it to block your webmail at various times of the day. The neat thing about LeechBlock is that at those times you block out the various sites, you can also block out your settings, i.e. you can't just unblock a site because you want to procrastinate.

Now, this won't help much if you have an email program like Mail or whatever (unless there is a LeechBlock equivalent for those). But if you only use webmail, it should work.

I use it so that I can concentrate on work without wondering how Obama is doing in the polls or whether people are still not Leaving Britney Alone. It works quite well for that. The first day or two is like nicotine withdrawal though.

And, you might ask, if I am not procrastinating online these days, why am I writing a comment on a blog? Good question. But I don't want to be completely merciless in my LeechBlock settings.

Also, it won't help with your telephone either. That unringing, deafening Being-in-the-World-Silently of the telephone still sucks.

Anonymous said...

A couple of notes about fly-out selection. (N.B. I have served on SCs for ~7 positions over 10 yrs at 2 different schools)

In my experience the fly-outs almost always went to people who were in the top-5 BEFORE the face-to-face at APA. This is intrinsically pretty color-blind (...tho not gender blind). The selection of the two-or-three who would visit was governed by ruling people out of the early top-5 more often than by adding people in. Being in the early top-5 AND having a great interview is the magic formula for a fly-out. No surprise, but its worth saying.

[In one notable exception to this pattern we posted our ad on the board at APA-East, took 2 interviews on-site and flew in 1 of those...]

Regarding the in-hand/ABD distinction. Letters from advisors with SPECIFIC (and not far off) defense dates were almost always as good as a PHD in hand. Often (since I am not at a Leiter-iffic school) we would try to poach a really good ABD before top schools could get them next year. Candidate desperation works for hiring departments in a big way (and administrators know it).

Also, just so you know--at least here--we can't send a rejection letter (and end your suffering) until the hire is basically a done deal. I usually think about this as a January 15 or bust process. If you don't get a call by Jan 15, you probably won't.

Best of luck to all!

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Someone wanted to know what women and minorties face getting through grad school and the job market that white guys don't. Just watch this thread, and the one above it: the gendered and racial resentment is already rearing it's head.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Seeker --

A quick google scholar search shows Shelby's publication record in jounral's like Phil. Review and PPA. But that's not even the real point here.

The point is, how exaustive a survey did you do comparing Shelby's publication record to all the white guys in top-tier departments? No, you didn't actually do an exhaustive search of 100 different faculty members' CVs? Huh. So, why'd you jump to the conclusion you did?

That, ladies and gents, is why philosophy remains as white as it does.

wikimonger said...

9:58,

I was going to write a post defending Tommie Shelby. But I decided that anon. 9:58 was not interested in a real discussion.

Mr. Zero said...

Tip: if you say something, and then you have to also say, "I'm not a racist," then (a) don't say what you were going to say, and (b) you are a racist.

tenured philosophy girl said...

PGS at 10:39 -

Thanks for being so eloquent in response to 'Seeking' and others, and for not playing so dirty as to point out that at least Shelby's grammar is better than Seeking's.

This thread now makes me sad. It reeks of sexism and racism, and adding 'I'm not racist by the way' at the end of your post doesn't make it so.

There are tenured white guys at Pitt (where Shelby went, and presumbably where he soaked in a particular culture of research) with 1/3 his publication record. Have you READ his stuff? It's wicked-smart. People with jobs at Harvard and Berkeley tend to be wicked-smart, just as he is. Really good places are not as focused on counting up publications as are wanna-be second-tier places.

PGOAT: Good luck with your ellipses!

Anonymous said...

The Jan.15 deadline, does this apply to all schools or only those whose terms start before Jan.15? I am just wondering because some of the schools I interviewed with have terms that start later than Jan.15. Should I assume that they are not going to call?

seeker said...

PGS:

You are correct. I did not do an exhaustive search of other faculty members. However, i did look at other faculty members at Harvard. None of them have received tenure on a few articles (esp. one on "Hip Hop and Philosophy" of all things). I'm not trying to be difficult but Cornel West and people like Shelby do not belong in academia. Do you really think the latter deserves tenure at Harvard? Do you really think that if he was white and had written the same book, they would have given him tenure? Again, i'm not trying to be combative, but your sex and race do make a difference.

veteran said...

seeker, Warren Goldfarb was tenured in philosophy at harvard with just a few articles. Stop embarassing yourself.

tenured philosophy girl said...

Seeker:

"People like Shelby do not belong in academia"??? What sort of people would that be?? Can you even hear/see yourself?

I feel on the verge of sputtering with rage rather than responding rationally. I repeat, have you read a f*cking word he's written? At least as relevantly, have you read much of the crap that keeps the overwhelming majority of white male philosophers in academia?

Please do post the citation for your most recent Phil Review and PPR articles so I can read them and figure out if you 'belong in academia'.

wikimonger said...

Okay I'll bite.

Anon. 11:35,

Tommie is one of the best, if not the best, young scholars in the field of African American Philosophy. A field which has a long tradition in the U.S. and at Harvard. Do you know who Dubois is?

Harvard wants the best in the field so they gave Tommie Tenure. Berkeley wants the best too, so they offered him a job.

Once you become the best in your field perhaps Harvard will want you. The fact that one must explain this to you makes one think that something else is motivating your criticism of Tommie's work. Racism?

By the way Colin McGinn edited a book on the Matrix and Philosophy, does this make him a bad philosopher? Obviously not.

recent hire said...

i did look at other faculty members at Harvard. None of them have received tenure on a few articles

This is demonstrably false. There are other tenured philosophers at Harvard with fewer pre-tenure publications listed than Shelby has.

And, in line with what Tenured Philosophy Gal said about Pitt, Harvard was Burton Dreben's department. They may not be too hung up on publication.

I think it's especially regrettable that someone has decided to use this thread to attack a particular philosopher, and it demonstrates the problems that black philosophers (and women philosophers) can face; there'll be people out there who want to knock you down based on your race or status.

recent hire said...

race or gender, I meant.

Anonymous said...

Cornell West shouldn't be in academia? I guess philosopher's shouldn't bother working on things that really matter and should focus on the really important things like the intricacies of belief de re and belief de dicto.

Anonymous said...

"people like Shelby do not belong in academia."

Ha... If only you'd stuck to your "no-tenure-in-Harvard" schtick there would've remained some (admittedly miniscule) room for doubt about your racism.

But "doesn't belong in academia" -- do you really stand behind that?

What a bonehead...

p.s. For what it's worth (not much when it comes to boneheads), my own department (more or less Leitertied with Harvard) has a number of 40yo-ish tenured faculty members with no more than one book in a top press and 3-4 papers in top journals. (Oh yeah, and they're all, yknow, Aryans -- gosh dang, about half of them are even men!)

Anonymous said...

Seeker, your underhanded racism is mortifying. The fact that you seem to think that work on, e.g., philosophy and hip hop, can be known in advance, without reading it, to not be worthwhile betrays not only that you're racist, but also that you're a narrow minded snob. Alexander Nehamas has written philosophical papers about soap operas and the TV show "Frasier." Does he not belong in academia? Lets stop reading Stanley Cavell too. He wrote about romantic comedies.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Veteren --

FWIW, I don'r care that much when people like seeker embarrass themselves. But it is disheartening when they're embarrassments to the discipline I love. . . .

James said...

Although I agree with the necessity of bashing seeker and all, I don't want 11:20's question to be ignored.

If a school doesn't start the semester before January 15th, there's no reason for us to think they would be on the schedule of other schools. Some SC's will meet early, but others have vacations.

I know some schools I interviewed with made a point of saying they wouldn't make any decisions until at least a week after they got back to school.

seeker said...

People,

I'm only saying what many people in our field think to themselves, or express in an subtle or indirect manner. A lot of people in our field talk about these things all the time. I'm in the 30ish range in the Leiterreport and my colleagues say race and sex makes a differnce sometimes in a positive way and other times in a negative way. Is no one willing to admit that many people in our field have heard their colleagues saying such things. For instance, have you never heard:"She'll definitely get a job, because schools want to hire women." Is that not sexist? Don't make it seem like i'm the only one here.

Bobcat said...

Re: ABDs and Ph.D.s: Having a Ph.D. helps, a lot. I've been told by someone who knows that having a Ph.D. is about three to four times better for your chances of getting an interview than having an ABD.

Don't fret, though! If you have an ABD and go on the market and get rejected by everyone (as I did my first time on the market), it doesn't count against you the next time you're on the market (assuming you have a Ph.D. the next time you're on the market). If, however, you go on the market for one year with a Ph.D. and don't get any job offers, then yes, you start to develop a reputation.

Mr. Zero said...

Seeker:

a) You are not "only saying what many people in our field think to themselves, or express in an subtle or indirect manner." Sometimes people consider race & gender in an attempt to diversify. This is necessary because the institutions in this country have been racist and misogynist for so long that a conscious effort is needed to counteract the effect. If that's all you were doing, you wouldn't have said, "Cornel West and people like Shelby do not belong in academia." The reason why you said that is because you are a racist. Sorry. You are.

b) When people say, "she'll definitely get a job, she's a woman," what they mean is, because she has a Ph.D. in philosophy, some good letters, and probably some publications, and is therefore well-qualified; and because women are desperately under-represented in the field, and there are very few candidates who are women; this particular woman will probably get a job. It bears repeating: these women who will probably get jobs are qualified for the jobs they will probably get. And, there are not very many of them--and that is a shame.

Sexism is sexism, and it sucks. But if you're a man in philosophy, you are not the victim of sexism. If you're a man in philosophy, you are a victim of a very, very competitive job market.

cw said...

Re: whether it's time to give up:

I got an email the other day indicating that all interviewees of school X would be contacted over the next two weeks.

Last year I got called for an on-campus interview on Jan 19.

Anonymous said...

We're talking about philosophers here, who are not always the most organized of people. I personally know of two schools who aren't going to be contacting people until next week, and another that is planning on the end of january/beginning of february. So certainly it is not time to despair yet...and of course there are all the second rounds coming up...

veteran said...

ah, PGS, you should love the subject. The discipline is much less loveable.

Anonymous said...

I am white. I don't like hip-hop, at all. I do know philosophy of race very well, since it's an AOS of mine (and not my only AOS; my other one is very much core analytic). I have looked at several of the recent pop culture and philosophy books. Some of them have a higher percentage of the best people in the relevant fields than others. The hip-hop one has got to be the most concentrated of those. Most of the book is written by top philosophers of race. The questions they're asking are difficult and cutting edge. I don't think publishing in those series is illegitimate, but it does depend on the quality of the particular entry, since most of them are very uneven. The hip-hop one is much less even because it's much more a contribution to the field than similar books about other pop culture phenomena.

I have to credit those involved in putting it together with achieving what is simultaneously a great academic work that contributes to the discipline and a popular introduction to issues in philosophy of race that people who don't normally read philosophy will be able to understand and appreciate. That's no mean feat.

Also, I think there's a big difference between Tommie Shelby and Cornel West. West has basically stopped publishing philosophy, at least in academic journals and university publishers. He did at one point do serious work in academic journals. But recently he mostly writes op-eds and collects them in books that he then lists on his C.V. When Harvard asks him why he doesn't do what the members of his discipline do to contribute to the field, he says the question is racist and heads off to Princeton where they won't bother him to publish academic philosophy.

Shelby, on the other hand, has been publishing careful, interesting, and innovative stuff in more than one branch of philosophy (he doesn't just do race; he works in political theory too), and it's been in good journals. His book is one of the best recent works in African-American philosophy, and it's very much a work of analytic philosophy dealing with understudied issues that are pretty important. I say this despite serious reservations about several of his main theses.

Seeker said...

I agree with anon 231 about Cornel WEst. He went to Princeton and does not do philosophy, and this has to do with race more than anything else. By the way, before many of you jump on me the other thread shows that many people do think that race and sex play a factor in unqualified minorities and women taking jobs from those who are more qualified. It's not me that deserves your anger. Also, I don't like hip hop or R&B either. I'm sorry if some of my comments upset some of you, but others here know exactly what i'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

Seeker,

James Pryor received tenure several years ago at Harvard with a total of 3 published papers, only one of which was in a refereed journal. Alison Simmons recently received tenure at Harvard with only 4 or 5 published papers and no books. Richard Moran also received tenure at Harvard with 4 or 5 published papers and no books. Tommie Shelby's pre-tenure CV is superior not only to any recent Harvard junior faculty member, but also is comparable to or superior to the CVs of many senior faculty members currently in the Harvard department. Indeed, he is the only person to have come up for tenure at Harvard in recent years who even had published a book. These facts are well-known, and easily discoverable (e.g. Pryor's CV is on his website; you can go to philosopher's index to find out the rest).

Anonymous said...

Seeker,

In fact, in 2002, Pryor was simultaneously offered tenure at Princeton and Harvard with only 3 published papers and no book. Moran was simultaneously offered tenure at Princeton and Harvard with at most 5 published papers and no book. John MacFarlane received tenure at Berkeley with around 5 published papers total. Michael Thompson received tenure at Pittsburgh with one published paper and no book. Dan Warren received tenure at Berkeley with one published paper and no book. These are all white men. In fact, there is not a single white male at a top ten department I can think of in recent years who even published a book pre-tenure. Shelby has several papers in distinguished journals, *and* a well-reviewed book. He is *unusually* productive and distinguished.

Anonymous said...

mr. zero: I appreciate you're attempt to find a non-sexist reading of "she'll definitely get a job, she's a woman". But isn't this quite obviously a sexist remark? I believe claims, such as "we really want to hire a woman" are similarly sexist. These claims feed the stereotype that women have an easier time on the market--denying the reality of the philosophical scene. They imply that if a woman gets a job, she got it because she is a woman. It would be interesting to see statistics about how often departments who allegedly want to hire a woman, actually end up hiring a woman.

It's also interesting that while it seems perfectly acceptable to make such claims about women, it's quite unimaginable (rightly so) that the same kind of claims would be made of ethnic minorities. Any explanations for this?

Mr. Zero said...

Anon 11:27,

I don't think it's obviously sexist. There are certainly ways for it to be sexist, but there are ways for it not to be. I guess I just think that if a) women and ethnic minorities are as intelligent and able to make contributions to the field as white males, and b) your department is a lily-white sausage-fest, it makes perfect sense to make a special effort to diversify by hiring women and minorities. That is, because philosophy departments don't seem to get very diverse when they don't make any special effort to get that way, and this lack of diversity is both harmful and self-perpetuating, it makes sense to make a special effort.

I also strenuously disagree with the suggestion that women get jobs "just because they are women." All of the female philosophy professors I know of have Ph.Ds in philosophy and at least adequate publishing records--nothing distinguishes them with respect to academic qualifications from their male counterparts. And someone else up there points out that each achievement means more when it is achieved by a woman, since the system is rigged against them. So when two candidates, one male & one female, appear on paper to be equally qualified, in reality the woman is the more qualified.

It's not clear to me that women have an "easier time" on the job market than men. Although I don't have any statistics, I'll share some observations. In top-10 departments, it seems to me that everybody has a relatively easy time. In my department, which is in the middle fifth, the last several women we've placed have had it no easier than anyone else. Since I've been here, our most successful students have all been men.

And even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that women do have it easier on the job market, this relative ease may nevertheless not be unfair. Since women and minorities undoubtedly have a much harder time in grad-school and their actual careers--read the Haslanger piece--the fact, which I don't concede--that their job market experiences are a little more successful doesn't even come close to making up for it.

Mr. Zero said...

Ahem. I should have said, "nothing distinguishes them in a negative way from their male counterparts." Of course, there are many female philosophers who are quite distinguished.

Chike said...

Reading the comments here has been surprisingly uplifting.

As a black philosopher, I found the malicious ignorance displayed by seeker frustrating, to say the least. To watch with exhilaration as Shelby accomplishes so much, so quickly, and then to see that there are white philosophers out there who would dismiss his impressive track record by saying "he's just successful cuz he's black"... it's not good for the soul. (By the way, the fact that this person seemed fixated on Shelby's participation in the "___ and Philosophy" series, when his reputation in the field in no way rests upon this venture, is yet another confirmation of racism)

But the beautiful part is this: most people who come to this blog seem to have recognized the stupidity and prejudice behind seeker's comments. Whether this is representative of philosophers in general or just the kinds of people who frequent a blog on the job market, this has been very heartening. I get the sense that while folks like seeker exist and can thus be obstacles in the paths of philosophers of colour, there are also many, many people ready to confront the racism and sexism in the field whenever it rears its ugly head.

Chike said...

Also, a note on Cornel West: lest anyone be confused that seeker got some support regarding West's status in the field, he did not.

The anonymous poster correctly pointed out that West came into academia publishing serious and noteworthy work in philosophy, using respectable journals and presses. seeker seems unaware of this.

On the other hand, the anonymous poster's recounting of West's development leaves out a very relevant fact, given that this is a discussion about philosophy: West has not generally served in philosophy departments. His experience says little to nothing about the experience of philosophers of colour, insofar as we're interested in talking about *jobs in philosophy*.

What people choose to think of West's evolution into a public intellectual with little time for the traditional responsibilities of academia is up to them. I, for one, would LOVE for him to publish some more stuff for us academic philosophy types, because I happen to think he's one of the most interesting intellectual figures of his generation (inside or outside of philosophy). However, while he continues to put off doing so, I also continue to enjoy his electrifying orations (if you've not seen him speak, don't die before you do) and intelligent interjections into the public sphere.

Might some likewise ambitious black philosopher(s) from *my* generation achieve better balance between academic contributions and public engagement? That would be lovely, but whoever does it will still - if they're honest - have to admit that they stand on Cornel's broad shoulders... and filling his shoes (once they need to be filled) will be a horribly daunting task.