The “Least Resistant Personality Profile” and Factory Farms

While studying rural communities that face poverty, shocking rates of cancer, and poisoned fishing waters from industrial pollution, sociologist Arlie Hochschild learned about a disturbing money making scheme. A “waste-to-energy conversion” company wanted to build plants that burn highly toxic and noxious smelling waste—representing “locally undesirable land use.” This corporation paid half a million dollars … Continue reading The “Least Resistant Personality Profile” and Factory Farms

We Do Not Have to Live Like Rats Fighting for Scraps

When I started this blog, I imagined it as a place where I might gather and repost—when timely and appropriate—some of my earlier pieces that are “blog-friendly” in form, but scattered to the winds. I happened across one of these today, when I sent one of my students to a special issue of Dharma World … Continue reading We Do Not Have to Live Like Rats Fighting for Scraps

“Assessment” Continued: Academic Success Vs. Health and Well-Being

This is day 40 or more (depending on how one counts) of a major strike in British universities, which has been nearly ignored by the news. (This and this are exceptions to the rule.) It is also day four or more (depending on how one counts) in the aftermath of an attack on tenure at my … Continue reading “Assessment” Continued: Academic Success Vs. Health and Well-Being

David W. Noble, Beloved Mentor, Rest in Peace

What follows is lightly revised from a talk I gave in 2009 on the occasion of my teacher, David W. Noble, retiring from the University of Minnesota. David died on March 11, 2018. Here is an obituary, and no doubt David’s many friends and colleagues will weigh in with more ambitious scholarly reflections about his legacies. … Continue reading David W. Noble, Beloved Mentor, Rest in Peace

Assessment Part II: Drones Vs. Teachers, Prisons Vs. Students, and Universities Vs. Another Tax Subsidized Hockey Stadium

I hope I was clear in my last post, and in any case it bears repeating, that the logic of “assessment” is not tied narrowly to “student outcomes.” There are many levels: Teaching—not just classroom dynamics and teaching evaluations, but also determining curricula. This includes balancing resources across departments. levels (undergraduate vs. graduate), and colleges … Continue reading Assessment Part II: Drones Vs. Teachers, Prisons Vs. Students, and Universities Vs. Another Tax Subsidized Hockey Stadium

Against the Cruelty, Hypocrisy, and Irresponsibility of Trump’s Budget: An Open Letter

Dear Senator Corker, Senator Alexander, and Representative Duncan, Commonly I have heard people who are less pessimistic than I am about self-correcting capacities in the US political system valorize a turning point in the battle against McCarthyism.  In 1954 Joseph Welch famously responded to Senator Joseph McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At … Continue reading Against the Cruelty, Hypocrisy, and Irresponsibility of Trump’s Budget: An Open Letter

“Resolved: Academic Jargon Is Bad.” Please Discuss

Recently I visited a UT class session that was discussing Judith Butler. This provoked the perennial complaints about Butler’s prose—leading toward the perennial observation that she once won an award for the worst written sentence of the year. I actually agree that prose by Butler—not to speak of her less insightful imitators and competitors who … Continue reading “Resolved: Academic Jargon Is Bad.” Please Discuss