link love

What I know about America after being thrown out of a trump rally

Some history of black science fiction.

Indiana abortion law

Back in the day when abortion was illegal, women were still getting abortions.  Just not safe ones.  Those days are returning.


Racists for trumpHeil!

Sold out.

Why Bloomberg isn’t running

It wasn’t feminism that killed Rome…

Students need to learn our history so we don’t repeat it so often.

Clinton made a big promise

A grandma for Clinton

British Imperialism in the words of a woman affected by it.

Everything is crumbling.  Aiee, Baumeister can’t be reproduced?


This is strange

One blogger’s way of doing monthly finances.  And here is another’s!  It is neat how there are different ways of managing money.

Experiences vs. things and conspicuous consumption

Plagiarism in crosswords, or Timothy Parker has some explaining to do.

So do we, so do we.

Dear Ms. Undine.

So cute!

Ask the Grumpies: What to do after tenure denial?

Someone who is feeling quite grumpy writes:

I am hoping for some advice from you and your readers: I was denied tenure— what should I do?

Some background that might be useful: When I initially went on the job market, I had a fair bit of success and received several offers. I made a list of what I wanted in a job, asked the same set of questions during each campus visit, took notes, and made detailed charts comparing offers. I accepted a position at a SLAC that seemed great and (literally) checked all the boxes. My husband found a job in the same city, and we moved across the country.

I quickly began to suspect that I had made a mistake. Things were so different than promised that I actually dug out the notes I had taken on my campus visit to confirm that my memory wasn’t failing me. Both the department and institution are incredibly dysfunctional. The patriarchy is strong here.

I considered leaving many times. The economy and the academic job market were weak, but I did some (discreet) searches. Once, I was told I would receive an offer, but then the entire position was cancelled. My general plan, though, was to maintain professional connections, develop a long-term research agenda, and eventually leave the craziness behind. I wasn’t incredibly worried about tenure. However, tenure requirements rose dramatically fairly recently.* I scrambled to get more publications out, but turn around in my field can be slow, and I have several papers in the R&R stage.

1. What should I do now? I mean this almost literally. My institution does not offer a terminal year, so I need to figure something out! I can relocate. My husband has a job, so I can remain unemployed for the next year. I’d prefer not to adjunct, since I really should focus on getting ready for the job search. However, I’ve heard it can be difficult to search for academic jobs without an affiliation. I’d ideally like to stay in academia, but I’ve been told a tenure denial can be difficult on the job market. I’m not even sure how to explain it yet. I’m feeling a bit battered and bruised and am tempted to move to some Zika-free tropical island for a year.

2. Should I appeal? I wonder if anyone has any experience with this?

3. How do I deal with feelings of regret— regret that I didn’t take another job, regret that I didn’t leave earlier, regret that I’ve been working really hard at this job for years for no purpose, etc., etc., ?

Any advice really would be appreciated.

Congrats on the R&Rs!  If everything lands soon that will put you in a good position to go on the market.  Definitely revise and send those back out if you’re still holding on to them. (#2 says: Get those R&Rs out ASAP. That will help you in the future. Do this right away. A tenure denial per se may not hurt you on the job market that much, but a lack of publication certainly will. But R&Rs are a great step! Congrats on getting those decisions. Now revise until they say yes.)

1.  That is bizarre about not offering a terminal year.  We agree that you should try to get affiliation somewhere, but disagree about whether or not that affiliation should come with adjuncting.  #2 thinks adjuncting a class or two to get the affiliation is fine.  #1 thinks you should not adjunct if you can afford not to and to spend that additional time researching or job hunting.  She suggests to see if you can keep your current affiliation for a year (no strings) or to find an affiliation elsewhere.  Many places will be happy to give you an unpaid official position that allows them to put you on their website and allows you to use their letterhead, and possibly library, but not much else.

Additionally, if you are movable, the temporary (but non-adjunct) job market isn’t over yet.  You may still be able to aim for a visiting professor position for a year… we sometimes hire for emergency temporary positions in the summer which come with full benefits and a reasonable salary.  Or, depending on your field, you can also look for post-doc positions depending on your field.  These types of jobs often target people right out of the market who didn’t land a TT job, but if you can find out about them and you’re able to move, you may be in a very strong position for such positions.  If you are going to be teaching, aim for someplace more prestigious than your current institution if you can.

2.  #1 and #2 are in complete agreement on this item.  The job sounds like it sucks horribly.  If you appeal and get the job, would you want to keep it?  It doesn’t sound worth the hassle of an appeal.  However, there are some things to think about, like your other job opportunities, your husband’s other job opportunities, etc.  If you’re in a case where you’re kind of stuck where you are and there aren’t other job opportunities then an appeal might be worth it.  If you have more flexibility, spending the year waiting for things to land and publishing new stuff sounds like a better idea. #2 notes: don’t appeal. This is a blessing in disguise. Read stories from people who were denied tenure and later became successful either at another school or in another career. There are many better places to work (both inside and outside of academia). Remember academia is just a job, and you can get another one.  #1 notes that she does have a friend who did a successful appeal– zie had a bunch of R&R stuff that landed during her extra year and suddenly was a hot commodity on the market (we tried to lure hir away ourselves).  But hir case was different– zie’d had some bad luck with publication timing (and lack of early mentoring) and pretty much all of the papers that should have been published while tenure track landed at the same time when it was too late.  There wasn’t a problem with the department, just bad luck, and everyone was happy about the appeal which succeeded.  (Query:  Would appealing extend your affiliation without forcing you to teach?)

3.  #1 says:  Sunk cost And, of course, you’ve learned a lot of things since taking this job, you’ve made a difference in people’s lives, etc. etc. etc.  There is no optimal decision and in any case, you can’t change the past, you can only look at where you are now and go forward.  It sucks, but now you’re going to end up in a better situation.  This is an opportunity and somehow the universe has decided you’re not allowed to be miserable at this horrible school all your life.  It made the choice for you so you didn’t have to.  #2 says:  Try a counselor. I bet you have lots of feels right now. At the very least, cultivate your friends and share what you can with them. Ask for whatever support you need from them. Non-academics might not know what a big deal this is, but if your support system sees that you are in distress, then hopefully they’ll mobilize around you.

Additional comments:

Start saving up now and think about how not to get into debt.  Read your money or your life.

Think hard about what you want in a career and what your other opportunities are.  If your uni has a career counseling service, you can visit it– they don’t usually limit themselves to helping students.  Even better is talking to career counseling at your own grad and undergrad schools, especially if they have more resources.  Are there other parts of the country you’d like to live in?  Are there non-academic positions that would be of interest?

TALK TO PEOPLE.  Update your linked in profile, make sure all your work is on REPEC and you have a google scholar page, etc.  Email your grad school professors.  Talk to friends from grad school and who you’ve met at conferences or who like your work.  Email your papers to scholars whose work you cite.  Hook up with alumni groups virtually and in person.  Network like crazy.

Also:  Tenure denial does not have to be a negative signal on the job market.  Tenure denial means that you’re not just playing for a salary increase and you’re not wasting anybody’s time.  It means you are going to move. It means you’re willing to start as an assistant prof (unless you’re denied tenure at say, Harvard), so they don’t have to take as much of a risk on you.

When on the market, talk about how the department’s expectations changed, not in terms of more vs. less research but in terms of the emphasis placed on research vs. teaching/students/service (you weren’t not publishing, you were excelling in things that no longer counted) and as soon as you got the memo, you made the switch (while still being an excellent teacher/colleague) which is evidenced by your hefty pipeline, but you didn’t get the memo in time to help your case given some bad luck in timing (hopefully now resolved and resulting in publications).  Also you talk about what draws you to the other schools, etc.

But yes, focus on the job market. Do you want to stay in academia? Breathe, reflect, refocus. Work your professional networks as much as you can. Would your husband like to move? It could be an opportunity for both of you to work towards long-term career plans or hopes or experiments.

And here are some links from other places on the internets:

Good luck!!!

Grumpy nation, do you have any suggestions for our Grumpy colleague?  (Also, sorry we had to bump the how to take care of your glasses post, but this seemed timely and important.)

Incorporating minorities in fiction (even if you’re not from that minority group)

This is done very badly most of the time.

One thing I’ve noticed while reading project Gutenberg books– the books that stood the test of time are more likely to not have minorities (including Jewish — you would know who early mystery writer Anna Katharine Green was as well as Doyle or Christie if she wasn’t so anti-Semitic) than to have them.  That’s because books by the same authors that have minorities often include extremely offensive stereotypes, and somehow those books haven’t gotten reprinted.  Rare is the 100-200 year old book that can have a minority and treat said minority with respect.  (Though some much earlier literature seems to do a better job for some racial minorities.)  This existence of offensive stereotypes is even true for early feminists who get the gender thing right– they can’t make the jump to nonwhites.

But the world isn’t white.  As fiction reflects reality, fiction should reflect that fact.  Even in historical fiction.

#2 and I have had several discussions about Loretta Chase, who is a great author *except* when she includes Egyptians or Indians or, presumably other British colonial subjects (just like Mary Balogh is great except in her early books where the hero doesn’t take no for an answer).  She’s got the woman are not chattel thing down, but her view of Indians and Egyptians comes straight out of British Imperial literature.  She’s got the White Man’s burden and every single stereotype from 19th century British imperialism.  She’s obviously done extensive reading of white authors of the time period.  So have I, for that matter.  But it grates.

(And it is embarrassing that we haven’t always noticed these trite stereotypes– the superstitious lazy Egyptians, the Indian servant willing to give up all for his/her mem-sahib, savages burning widows on the funeral pyre.  We don’t think we can go back and reread Elizabeth Peters because we’re pretty sure she uses a number of these tropes.)

I recently re-read the wonderful Courtney Milan’s The Heiress Effect (seriously, buy this entire series) the same day as I failed to be able to stomach Chase’s Sandalwood Princess.  Chase read imperial white authors for her inspiration.  Her minorities are not real– they are figments of racist 19th century imaginations.  The same kinds of books that are not standing the test of time today and will be even more likely to die off in the future as more people cringe while reading them.

Milan, instead, read autobiographies of Indian lawyers in England during the 19th century.  Her characters ring true.  Real historical research means reading about people in their own words in their own time periods, not white people’s perceptions.  Especially when white people writing in that time have every reason to justify subjugation of entire bodies of people.

So if you’re an author and you want to include minorities in your historical fiction, and you should, find people from that time period– they exist.  Listen to what they say, and not what white people who want to keep them subjugated say about them.  Because what white people in the time period say only tells you about white people in the time period, no matter who they are talking about.

Do you have any recommendations about authors who do it right?  How about for under-represented people in their own words?

Scenes from paradise

  • Hipster couple at Mediterranean restaurant at the table next to us gets their tea.  It is crushed fresh mint  leaves in hot water.  Man starts berating waiter.  “Where is the tea?  This is nothing but leaves!  There should be tea in here!  This is just leaves and hot water.”  The waiter apologizes and shows that the menu does describe the mint tea as being… fresh mint leaves in hot water.  But the waiter takes it back and the guy continues to grumble to his sympathetic companion about how he ordered mint tea but just got leaves in water and how can they charge $3 for that.  DH and I catch each other’s eyes and try really really hard not to bust out laughing.  We also fail to ask the guy just exactly what he thinks tea is made of, though we are both curious.  I bet this dude drives a bmw.
  • Yesterday DH heard banging while he was at work.  After it stopped he investigated and someone has put in a home-made wooden mailbox next to the park bench in the empty lot next to our house.  There’s also a bike with fruit in its basket and two cans of Campbell’s soup.
  • While DH is talking on the phone to his cousin, he looks out the front window and sees a police officer walking past carrying an orange rifle.  DH chooses not to investigate.
  • Outside the library three middle-aged women are discussing how there is now scientific evidence that consciousness is more than just biochemical reactions.
  • Update on the lot next door:  There is also now a lazyboy chair and a Christmas tree.  One of the oranges has moved to the top of the mailbox.
  • Update:  now apparently an entire living room/kitchen setup near the lazyboy and Christmas tree, including a tall lamp.  And a stone path to the brick pit he has set out as a firepit.
  • Update:  He spends the weekend removing ground cover with a spade.  He brushes his teeth.
  • Update:  It rained.
  • Update:  All the stuff from the empty lot is gone.  Including the mailbox.  All that is left is a burnt area where the firepit used to be.
  • Coda:  The parks and recreation department sent 5 people over to clean up the area and to cover all the bad bits with mulch.  It took several hours, though they did trim trees etc. too.


How do you communicate with your spouse about money?

Two adults one child’s recent post about getting her husband on board with a joint spending/retirement plan and the hiccups therein got me thinking.  How does one communicate about money with one’s spouse?  There seem to be so many different examples on the blogosphere, from couples who write personal finance blogs together and have money discussions and their joint views as a center to their relationship to couples who continually harbor resentment, keep score, hide, and fight about purchases.  (The latter are somewhat difficult to read!)

#1:  I think the way I communicate about money issues with my DH is probably not transferable to most people.  When we got married, I basically told him, this is the way it is going to be because this is what we can afford and whenever we got a negative shock (“Wait, you have 10K in student loans that you didn’t know about?”  “Wait, I have to pay capital gains taxes on stocks I didn’t know I owned that are now worthless because my father transferred them to me right before the company went bankrupt?”) I would freak out and cry a lot and he’d try to make me feel better.  As we got into better financial situations we would discuss our goals with what we could do with our relaxed spending.  So with him not worrying his pretty little head about money at first and then mainly only positive money interactions after, it hasn’t been an issue.  We’d figure out how to solve problems by talking them through (like DH getting miserable because he either wants to spend all his money or none of his money and both states of the world are bad– solved by an allowance that allows him to spend all his money without hurting our finances).

These days money isn’t that big a deal and we have a lot of systems in place that set precedents for most spending.  We still check with each other for big things and DH stays within his allowance for his fun money.

#2:  We talk about things…. like, “Hey, just so you know, I’m thinking of spending money on X.  Is that ok with you?”  Before that (when we had a lot less money) we had really separate finances.  We still do, to a large amount. 

He does joint taxes for us both.  We tell each other after we’ve made charitable contributions, usually.  But mostly we’re responsible with our own stuff and have these systems with our joint stuff.

So that’s how we communicate about money.  If applicable, how do you guys communicate with interested parties about money?

Another late link love

#1 got back in from traveling much later than expected last night and then overslept and didn’t bother to tell #2 that she wasn’t gonna do link love.  So…

Last challenge steps:

Feb 27: 4585
Feb 28:  4591
Feb 29: 4640

More proof we need the voting rights act back

Also they target democratic voters (duh)


A reminder that Syrian refugees still need (monetary) help

feel like having rage or perhaps just head-shaking at dumb republicans?

I don’t understand how there are optimists in the world.  :(

List of violent incidents at Trump rallies.  Flashback to Hitler circa 1932.

Chris Rock really isn’t woke when it comes to other oppressed groups.

RBG is a hero.

Abortion travel agent

girl nasa

more depressingness

It took me a little while to get this joke, but it’s funny!

Only a democrat can stop Trump.

Hope for sanity

Primary wrap-up MoreAlso

I’m with her.

I like the models for Hillary Clinton swag.

Pretty sure it’s a feedback loop.

Academic oscars

Autism and vaccines

Spocktopus  More pretty things.  Still more.

tenure is better!

Ask the grumpies: Help! Teething!

Leah asks:

How did you deal with teething? Was it horrible for your kids? Will I survive this?

Motrin.  Seriously, Motrin.  And alternate it with Tylenol when the teething is really bad.  Motrin is better for night-time because it lasts longer than Tylenol.

DC1 also enjoyed a frozen washcloth, but that didn’t do much for DC2.  DC2, otoh, liked those rings you can freeze.  Topical numbing agents didn’t help at all.

Yes, it sucked.  Without Motrin it would have been more horrible.  Yes you will survive, though you may have to wake up every 6(-8) hours when the Motrin wears off (or 4 (-6) hours for the alternating Tylenol).

The teeth do eventually come in!  (And this episode of teething has probably ended since you asked the question, but now the answer is here for posterity.)

Grumpy nation!  Any teething tips?

What are we reading: Mostly still regency romance…

The new Sarah MacLean, the Rogue Not Taken was a huge disappointment.  Heavily stealing from a specific Heyer (along with some other extremely tired tropes), except in the Heyer the heroine was a lot younger so it was easier to believe her naivete about the world, and the Heyer has, you know, character development.  It’s got funny bits, but mostly it’s the hero and heroine bickering with each other and being jerks to each other and not telling each other the truth or really talking at all and then suddenly it’s the end and a forced resolution. Also lots of telling, not showing.  She has done a lot better.

The new Loretta Chase, Dukes Prefer Blondes, on the other hand, was delightful!  Very much like a Courtney Milan book, actually (without actually stealing).  I wonder if she read the Brothers Sinister series and thought, maybe I should try something like this.  It definitely works.  It’s the fourth in the dressmakers series, but doesn’t require having read the first three.  It does have a lot of hero and heroine bickering, but in a very different way than in the MacLean and they know what each other means (as does the reader) as they bicker, and there’s character development and stuff.  It’s like I wouldn’t want that relationship, but I can totally see how theirs works, whereas with the MacLean it’s like, uh huh, sure this would happen and/or last.  Unfortunately I also read a couple more kind of racist early Loretta Chases (there’s even a post in the drafts about 19th century Indian characters in Chase vs. Milan that I should really finish and post).  #2 thinks I should give up on her, but her non-racist stuff is good, so I don’t know.  I keep hoping, that, like Balogh who no longer uses rape as a plot device, she’s learned over time and won’t have racist stereotypes anymore.  (And if I gave up all authors who have racist stuff, I’d have to never reread a Jeeves and Wooster because the Wodehouse that didn’t get reprinted is horrific.)

Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins:  Meh, the prologue was violence.  The first chapter was boring.  Didn’t finish.

Did we mention Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James?  This one was really really good.  Lots of fun and sexy too.  We both loved it and think it’s worth purchasing.  Very much recommend.  Not sure about the other Eloisa James books though– some of them have fallen flat and one of us has a bit of trepidation about the adultery in some of her more popular books (update:  the adultery didn’t turn out to be a problem so much as the fact that that entire stupid series was inspired by EJ seeing her irl infertile friends do anything to have a baby, and they don’t have IVF during the long regency and most of the characters are too stupid to live).  I also really liked A Duke of Her Own which is a prequel to Three Weeks.  If you have any Eloisa James recommendations, let us know!  I did just read American Duchess, and it started out well, but then got stupid in the middle and then the last half was all, “when will he say he loves her”– at least she didn’t have to get into a carriage ride accident this time, though I was *sure* that was going to happen given his parents died in a carriage ride accident and that’s how like 2 other books I’ve read in the past week or so resolved.  I think I’m at a point where I need to read me some novels that have actual you know, plots, in addition to the romance, like Heyer’s Toll-Gate or Milan’s Brothers Sinister series.  Maybe it’s time to turn from regencies to cozy mysteries…

Julia Quinn has just been terrible.  I tried three books and they all started out strong and then just kind of fell apart in the last half.  She doesn’t know how to end, or maybe runs out of time or desire to edit.  For example, How to marry a marquis was ok but mediocre until the attempted rape scene at which point it went downhill considerably.  On top of that, amazon and goodreads tell me she doesn’t seem to realize that when the heroine physically prevents the hero (who she has gotten drunk for the sole purpose of seducing) from removing himself from her body in the hope that she will conceive the child that he has told her he does not want, that is still rape.

Mary Balogh continues strong with her books written in say the last 15-20 years.  I’ve been cranking through the “Slightly” series about the Bedwyn siblings.  They’re pretty good.  Not necessarily worth buying (and maybe a little repetitive here and there), but definitely worth the read.  Her earlier stuff is still pretty hit or miss with creepy “masterful” heroes and servants being raped for no reason (also rape as backstory yuck).  I am so glad that rape is no longer “in”.

Stephanie Laurens has been pretty inoffensive so far.  Read two of her Cynster books, which were fine though read like early novels.  Her somewhat later book, All About Passion, about friend of the Cynsters, has much better pacing.  Most of these seem to be mysteries, but the mystery is pretty weak.  Still, having a plot right now is saving books from having the stupid, “why won’t he say he loves her until her carriage is overturned” lack of plot in far too many of the books I’ve read lately.  If you like lots of sex scenes and long sex scenes, then Stephanie Laurens is for you.  All About Passion has the benefit that the lengthy sex scenes are also varied and interesting.  (I, um, may have learned something new, which is a first for me with romance novels.)  I also like her novellas in both It happened one night and It happened one season collections, each of which also feature reasonably a good Balogh novella/story and a lovely Hern short story.

What have you been reading?