Tag Archives: Current Affairs

The Cold War and the Militarization of the Academy

It is a widely-discussed problem within higher education that the current job market is, to say the least, a difficult one. Universities are creating fewer and fewer tenure-track positions, relying on adjuncts, graduate students, and limited-term visiting professors for a growing share of the teaching load. Many if not most disciplines produce more PhDs than there are academic jobs to be filled. Public Universities in most states face the constant threat of reduced funding. One of the primary reasons for this state of affairs can be traced directly to the first fifteen years or so of the Cold War. In the years between World War II and 1960, the United States government began a massive and unparalleled investment in higher education, through grants, endowments, and the GI Bill, in order to promote its anti-Soviet agenda. The beginning of Perestroika and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, then, created a problem for American academics—the US university system had grown, over fifty years of federal investment for Cold War aims, to a point that was unsustainable without continued levels of funding. But when the specter of Communism was no enough to justify previous levels of spending, disinvestment began, and as is the case with most large, bureaucratic systems, the American university system was slow to react and adapt. […]

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The future of H-Net… LiveJournal?

Mills Kelly has started a real debate in the last few couple weeks about the future of H-Net.

(Follow-ups can be found here, here, here, and here… And to see some of the response this engendered, check here, here, here, and here. Also, check out the discussion on the Digital History podcast.)

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that, despite the advice of many professors and colleagues, I am not and never have been a member of an H-Net community. I have my reasons, though. And they have everything to do with why I’m writing this.

Mills’s article brings up the notion of email bankruptcy. People have begun declaring bankruptcy on Social Networking Sites. for that matter, too. Now, when I first heard about this phenomenon, it seemed a bit silly. But then I realized that this was exactly the same thing that had happened to me years ago.

You see, around 1998 or 1999, I declared (without using the term) listserv bankruptcy. After three or four years of being very active on several listservs, I realized that deleting messages from my lists was taking so much time I was neglecting to reply to emails from friends and family. I quit them all, and though I’ve joined one or two briefly since then, I’ve been listserv free for most of the last eight years.

So I guess I have a vested interest in coming up with a new, viable direction that H-Net could go in– it’s for the sake of my own professional development that I’m thinking about this, because I really don’t think I could face the possibility of joining one of those things again.

But it hit me the other day: there’s already an existing piece of open-source software that could do everything H-Net does now and more, that can play to its existing strengths and help improve aspects that are less than ideal.

The answer is LiveJournal.

Those of you rolling your eyes, please hear me out. […]

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The future of H-Net… LiveJournal?

Mills Kelly has started a real debate in the last few couple weeks about the future of H-Net.

(Follow-ups can be found here, here, here, and here… And to see some of the response this engendered, check here, here, here, and here. Also, check out the discussion on the Digital History podcast.)

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that, despite the advice of many professors and colleagues, I am not and never have been a member of an H-Net community. I have my reasons, though. And they have everything to do with why I’m writing this.

Mills’s article brings up the notion of email bankruptcy. People have begun declaring bankruptcy on Social Networking Sites. for that matter, too. Now, when I first heard about this phenomenon, it seemed a bit silly. But then I realized that this was exactly the same thing that had happened to me years ago.

You see, around 1998 or 1999, I declared (without using the term) listserv bankruptcy. After three or four years of being very active on several listservs, I realized that deleting messages from my lists was taking so much time I was neglecting to reply to emails from friends and family. I quit them all, and though I’ve joined one or two briefly since then, I’ve been listserv free for most of the last eight years.

So I guess I have a vested interest in coming up with a new, viable direction that H-Net could go in– it’s for the sake of my own professional development that I’m thinking about this, because I really don’t think I could face the possibility of joining one of those things again.

But it hit me the other day: there’s already an existing piece of open-source software that could do everything H-Net does now and more, that can play to its existing strengths and help improve aspects that are less than ideal.

The answer is LiveJournal.

Those of you rolling your eyes, please hear me out. […]

Continue reading

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