Cooling Out the Adjunct Pool

Last week, I wrote about how “graduate students” are “cooled out” of PhD. programs in something of a pyramid scheme, i.e. how 60-70% of the students who are admitted eventually drop out of the program, while blaming their “failure” on themselves, and not the larger system. August is the month in the United States where … Continue reading Cooling Out the Adjunct Pool

Why Do I speak German like a Hollander, and Thai so Clearly?

I have been in Thailand a week now, and have had plenty of chances to speak Thai, often because I have to explain about how my daughter broker her back last week. I speak Thai as a result of my Peace Corps and after experience in Thailand in 1980-1983, and some brush-up tutoring a couple … Continue reading Why Do I speak German like a Hollander, and Thai so Clearly?

Broken Femurs and Cracked Backs: An Ethnography of Thai Motorcycle Safety

Introduction We arrived in Thailand last Thursday to visit our daughter Kirsten who teaches English in a Thai school. Within a half hour of arrival we were informed that she had just had an accident. She was driving her scooter near a Thai market in the small city of Phrae, when a “white car” backed … Continue reading Broken Femurs and Cracked Backs: An Ethnography of Thai Motorcycle Safety

Leaving Germany Again: Something about Bildung, Auschwitz, and Dresden

I’m leaving Germany after a two month long teaching gig at Leuphana University in Lueneburg, which is near Hamburg. Again I was impressed with the version of a university education that is being developed there—it values learning and investigation. Here is a blog I wrote about German Bildung, the philosophy of education, two years ago: … Continue reading Leaving Germany Again: Something about Bildung, Auschwitz, and Dresden

How are the Minds of PhD Students “Disciplined” by Graduate School?

Thinking about getting a PhD? Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt is the book to read. Already getting a PhD, ditto. Already have a PhD?   You should also read this book, even though it was published way back in 2000, and relies on data from the 1980s and 1990s. It applies to today as well—little has … Continue reading How are the Minds of PhD Students “Disciplined” by Graduate School?

What would George Carlin Say? Might Translation be Reverse Plagiarism?

Still they ask you in court to “use your own words,” and more to the point of my profession, we tell our students to “use your own words,” and we even have fancy computer programs like “turnitin.com” that help us haul offenders off for plagiarism, which is the crime of using someone else’s own words … Continue reading What would George Carlin Say? Might Translation be Reverse Plagiarism?

Suicide by Train in Germany

We returned from Hamburg to our temporary home in Lueneburg on July 4, 2015, after visiting friends in Hamburg. It was a normal trip on a German train until…it came to a stop at about 9:30 pm. There was a confused silence among the passengers, until the loud speaker finally announced an indefinite delay because … Continue reading Suicide by Train in Germany

Audience Reception of “Sing Along” Music: Hey Jude 1969 vs. Michael Row the Boat Ashore 1963

I have used this clip of Pete Seeger singing “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” in class for some years, now. The song is a great example of how the music of the American slave cabins moved into the mainstream American culture, and then moved all the way to Australia where this clip was made in … Continue reading Audience Reception of “Sing Along” Music: Hey Jude 1969 vs. Michael Row the Boat Ashore 1963

The US Army’s Human Terrain System Bites the Dust

….some argue that HTS was a good idea that was badly mismanaged. It would be more accurate to say that HTS was a bad idea that was badly mismanaged. Cultural knowledge is not a service that can be easily provided by contractors and consultants, or taught to soldiers using a training manual. HTS was built upon a flawed premise, and its abysmal record was the inevitable result. The fact that the program continued as long as it did reveals the Army’s superficial attitude towards culture…..Roberto Gonzalez

Why is Queen Nefertiti’s Bust in Berlin, and not Egypt?

Last weekend, I visited The Egyptian Queen Nefertiti this weekend on a trip to Berlin’s Neues Museum. “New” being a museum built in the mid-nineteenth century, bombed during World War II, and finally re-opened in 2009 after reconstruction following German Reunification. The bust of Nefertiti is the Neues Museum’s best-known artifact. The Nefertiti statue is … Continue reading Why is Queen Nefertiti’s Bust in Berlin, and not Egypt?

Are Long-term Job Prospects Better for Philosophers than for Engineers?

The machines may not destroy us, but it’s quite probable that they will render our labor obsolete, and without the creation of massive new fields of employment. Of course we will need engineers and software experts in the near future. But you know what we will need even more? Philosophers, historians, artists, economists, and political scientists.