Siraj Ahmed Wins MLA Book Prize!

Siraj Ahmed Wins MLA Book Prize!

Former FFPP Fellow Siraj Ahmed wins MLA Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies for his book, Archeology of Babel:  The Colonial Foundation of the Humanities (Stanford UP, 2018).

The Archeology of Babel “argues that the privilege philology has always enjoyed within the modern humanities silently reinforces a colonial hierarchy. In fact, each of philology’s foundational innovations originally served British rule in India.

Tracing an unacknowledged history that extends from British Orientalist Sir William Jones to Palestinian American intellectual Edward Said and beyond, Archaeology of Babel excavates the epistemic transformation that was engendered on a global scale by the colonial reconstruction of native languages, literatures, and law. In the process, it reveals the extent to which even postcolonial studies and European philosophy—not to mention discourses as disparate as Islamic fundamentalism, Hindu nationalism, and global environmentalism—are the progeny of colonial rule. Going further, it unearths the alternate concepts of language and literature that were lost along the way and issues its own call for humanists to reckon with the politics of the philological practices to which they now return.”

You can read the Prologue of his prize-winning book from Stanford University Press.

Siraj Ahmed is professor of English at the Graduate Center and comparative literature at Lehman College.

Mid-Career Faculty Fellowship Program–application deadline 10/30

Hello Colleagues!

The Office of Academic Affairs at CUNY’s Central Office has announced a faculty fellowship program for mid-career colleagues.  It provides release time, working groups, and mentoring in the service of promotion to full professor.  The application deadline is October 30.

Please follow this link for the application and more details.

http://www2.cuny.edu/academics/faculty-affairs/faculty-development-across-cuny/mid-career-faculty-fellowship-program/

Happy Summer + Photos+ Updates?

Hello Colleagues!

If you were able to take a head shot during our Publishing Workshop, you’ll be happy to know that your photo is ready!  The always amazing Maryann McKenzie will be sending them to you in the next day or so.  Enjoy!

Over the summer, the Mentors and I will put together our report about the program.  And, as always, we will ask for more resources so that we can make next year’s FFPP bigger and better than ever! If you have comments about the work you’ve done, or about a project, article, or book that is under review, or has been accepted for publication, please let us know.  We’d love to share any and all of your good news.  Please email me directly at shelly.eversley@baruch.cuny.edu

Happy summer from all of us!

 

Making “the magic box” visible!   By A. Viladrich

Making “the magic box” visible! By A. Viladrich

              THE “MAGIC” BOX 

During my recent promotion process, I began using the term “magic box” to describe the actual storage container, several in my case, that faculty members must use to report their scholarly productivity, teaching and service when applying for either tenure or promotion, or both. On multiple occasions, I had heard about the need to file hard copies of all academic materials, which would then be scrutinized by diverse tenure and promotion committees throughout the application process. Nevertheless, I was still not sure of what the actual box should look like—so that was how the term “magic box” came into existence. I thereafter began to use it to vaguely name an object that I knew would be needed throughout the promotion process, and that I knew would have the power to change the odds in my favor (despite the fact that I still was not quite certain about what was supposed to go in it). Lo and behold, I discovered that I was not alone.

Although most faculty members keep a careful record of their multi-tasking activities—including a well formatted and up-to-date curriculum vitae—not all of us are aware of the need to routinely collect detailed “evidence” of our daily academic routines and contributions. And by “evidence” I mean anything, and everything, that can eventually be considered a sound record of our itemized achievements: from a formal letter confirming a book award and an approved budget for an NSF grant, to an e-mail from an editor thanking us for reviewing an article.

Given the fact that standards differ across universities, colleges, divisions, programs—and that they even change within departments over time—there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to showing evidence of our productivity and service. In some divisions, copies of a slideshow of an important keynote presentation can strengthen a candidate’s record, but in others, these materials may be considered superfluous.

While doing my own “bean counting” to update my scholarly feats, I realized that I had not been keeping and filing all the materials that appeared in my C.V., and actually found many important things that were missing. A regrettable example of this was the fact that although I had received early promotion (to associate professor) at my former institution, I did not have any material evidence to prove it. Subsequently, I quickly turned into a sort of “scholarly detective” and began searching franticly—and finding one by one—all of my missing records, including a form from my former institution’s human services office, which confirmed my early promotion.

Today, I secretly cherish my three huge “magic boxes” that remain piled on top of each other in a corner of my office. They are the material proof of my—by now—long trajectory in the academic world. Even if painful, the exercise of making the boxes visible forced me to become accountable to myself, and others, with respect to the enormous amount of work, and resulting accomplishments, I have amassed throughout the years. Although the physical box will hopefully soon been replaced by faculty’s electronic files—as is already the case at most CUNY colleges—its symbolic meaning will probably remain for years to come.

Happy New Year! Now, Let’s Get Some Work Done

As a new semester begins, I often feel myself renewed, eager, and sometimes nervous, about getting work done.  For me, that “work” is writing–writing a new article, book chapter, or revising something that I believe deserves an audience.  In the spirit of our community of scholars, I’ve got some tips and announcements that might help you execute your plans and alleviate your fears.

If you are writing your first book, please attend the talk, “From Dissertation to First Book:  A Practical Guide” that will take place at the Graduate Center on February 6, at 6:30PM , by Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director,Duke University Press and Director, Intellectuals Publics (CUNY).  Some of you might remember he spoke to our community during one of our Publishing Workshops–Ken is an awesome speaker whose humor and practical advice continues to inspire me as I continue my writing projects.

This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Habits of Highly Productive Writers”  offers some useful gems and reminders.  Former FFPP Mentor Carrie Hintz’s advice on distractions and carving out time to write really makes sense for those of us who feel like the demands of  teaching and everyday life diminish our productivity.  Her discussion of  “the pomodoro” method is a welcome solution, especially when we are trying to write while we teach.  And, Vilna Bashi-Treitler’s suggestion that we should all form a “No Committee” is a novel way to navigate the extra work of department and college service demands.

My earlier post about online citation tools can help you find the right technology to organize your notes, create works cited lists, and bibliographies.  Using Zotero, for example, has made my ability to collect articles, organize my notes, and integrate citations into my original texts so much easier.

Of course, the work gets done when we commit to doing the work.  This commitment requires that we organize our goals, establish priorities, and schedule regular, inviolable times to write–those times could be 30 minutes a day or 2 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The important thing is to keep at it.

Cheers to your productive 2018!

Shelly Eversley

 

 

 

FFPP Alum Professor Libby Garland Wins Organization of American Historians Award

Organization of American Historians (OAH) president Edward L. Ayers announced Kingsborough History Professor Libby Garland as the recipient of the 2017 Germany Residency Program Award in American History at the University of Tübingen, thanks to a grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. As Scholar in Residence, Prof. Garland will teach a seminar on a U.S. history topic of her design.

Prof. Garland will teach “Guarding the Gates: Creating and Policing the Borders of the United States.” The class, to be offered to students in the University’s U.S. history program, will explore the social, cultural, and legal history of U.S. efforts to establish and police its international borders, with particular emphasis on questions of migration control.

 

“As a scholar of U.S. immigration law and U.S. borders, I have closely followed the unfolding debates in Europe over migration and borders,” said Prof. Garland. “In light of these debates, I hope this course will make for particularly meaningful study and discussion for students at the University of Tübingen.”

Prof. Garland, who is looking forward to teaching in Germany at the university level, previously spent a semester of undergraduate study at the University of Freiburg. She later taught English for a year at a public high school in the former East Berlin, during the period when the educational system was just transitioning to a West German model. Most recently, she returned to Germany to conduct archival research for a new project about the postwar international work of trade unions.

“This is a great accomplishment for Prof. Garland, and an even greater recognition of our faculty’s impact on students locally and globally,” said KCC History, Philosophy & Political Science Department Chair Michael Barnhart. “Given the evolving global conversation about immigration and border protections, students enrolled in Prof. Garland’s course will be engaged in lively and active dialogue about this all-important conversation. We are proud that she will be representing Kingsborough, and the Organization of American Historians with this terrific honor.”

 

Written by Dawn Walker

Fellowship Application Tips

Now is the time of year when fellowship application deadlines are fast approaching.  Since you have already completed the FFPP, here is a short list of opportunities and advice that can support your continued research and writing:

Your scholarly production is absolutely essential to CUNY’s mission of access, equity, and opportunity–we wish you all the best!

2018 FFPP Fellowship Application Deadline is October 27!

As you know, The Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP), sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Recruitment and Diversity, is the only CUNY-wide program that supports tenure track faculty achieve the research and publishing goals that are necessary for tenure.   It represents the University’s important commitment to diversity and faculty excellence.  Assistant professor who are accepted into the program will receive release time to focus on their writing projects as they participate in writing groups led by a faculty Mentor.
Please share this link with the call for application instructions, important meetings dates, and more information about the program.  The application deadline is Friday, October 27.  Fellows will be notified by November 17.

Predatory Publishing Alert from Mark E. Hauber, University Vice Provost for Research

Dear Colleagues,

It has come to our attention that several CUNY authors, including PSC-CUNY grant funded researchers, may have been exposed to ‘so-called’ predatory publishers, including having to pay open-access fee charges for articles appearing in journals of ill repute.

Could you please alert your faculty of these dangers, perhaps by circulating the attached Nature article on “The Dark Side of Publishing”?

http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666

Here, D. Butlers suggests the following​ (quoted from p. 435):

“A checklist to identify reputable publishers
How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher.
● Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
● Check that a journal’s editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
● Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
● Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
● Read some of the journal’s published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
● Check that a journal’s peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
● Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org).
● Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution. D.B.”

Thanks,
Mark E. Hauber, Ph.D., D.Sc.
University Vice Provost for Research
City University of New York
205 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, USA
+1/646-664-8910; mark.hauber@cuny.edu
www.cuny.edu/research @CUNYResearch
www.cowbirds.org @cowbirdlab
Editor-in-Chief, The Auk: Ornithological Advances
www.americanornithologypubs.org @AukJournal

On the Importance of an Intellectual Project

Now that I have reached the doyen stage of my career, I find myself frequently called upon to serve as an external reviewer for junior faculty who are being considered for promotion and tenure. The process begins with a letter from a departmental chair asking if I am willing to give my candid assessment of the candidate’s scholarship. Since my own research and writing are centered on race and ethnicity in American society, I am usually asked to evaluate the work a young scholar whose research is more or less within my domain of expertise. I am mindful of the unspoken fact that I have been thrust into the role of gatekeeper, and also mindful of the sinister role that gatekeepers have played historically in marginalizing minority and radical viewpoints. So I take on this otherwise mundane obligation with a sense of intellectual and moral responsibility. “It goes with the territory,” as my friend Hylan Lewis once told me, when he was the age that I am today.

Some colleges stipulate a mathematical benchmark of how much productivity one needs for tenure. We are told, for example, that one needs one book and four articles, with the caveat that the articles must be in peer-reviewed journals. I find this last stricture to be totally wrongheaded. To paraphrase C. Wright Mills, the peer review system is an instrument for intellectual conformity, since it is so often antagonistic to dissenting viewpoints. Besides, by what twisted logic is the lottery of a peer-reviewed journal more reliable than, say, being invited to contribute to an edited volume that will reach a relevant audience? Why is it better to have your work subjected to the whim or judgment of anonymous reviewers, and promulgated to disinterested readers of journals that, as is commonly acknowledged, “nobody reads”? This is where pious observance of the false god of objectivity leads us. Indeed, a cottage industry of journals has sprung up, often attached to sections within professional societies, which go through the motions of being “peer reviewed,” in order to meet this specious requirement. Sadly, the pursuit of knowledge has been reduced to gaming the system.

Before long, a package arrives in the mail, whose bulk is the first indicator of the productivity of the scholar, as well as the onus that awaits the external reviewer. Already, the shibboleth of one book and four articles is exposed. If that was the fulcrum for tenure decisions, it would hardly require the intervention of an external reviewer.

My modus operandi in reviewing “the tenure package” stems from my interest in the sociology of knowledge and the history of ideas. I attempt to discern the applicant’s intellectual genealogy based on what I can glean from the cv, publications, conference papers, and other professional activities, including contributions in the realm of public intellectualism. I try to get a sense of the germination and direction of the applicant’s scholarship, and how these disparate elements gel into an original intellectual amalgam, culminating with the dissertation. As we know at FFPP, often these young scholars are making the challenging transition from dissertation to book. Clearly, the dissertation and first book is a pivotal stage of intellectual development, where the neophyte consolidates what I am calling “an intellectual project.” And is a neophyte no longer!

As we all find out, one line of inquiry invariably engenders more questions than it answers, leading to other unanticipated lines of inquiry. Here the intellectual project reaches the next step. Our neophyte gradually develops an expertise and reputation as a scholar with depth and purpose. Hopefully, this intellectual project is predicated on a critical perspective that challenges stale orthodoxy and hegemony within the realm of ideas. This critical spirit is the sine qua non that will infuse your research and writing with energy and conviction, lest promotion and tenure lapse into professionalism.

 

–Stephen Steinberg, FFPP Mentor and Distinguished Professor (Queens College and the Graduate Center)