Today Is the Centennial Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre, One of the Pivotal Events in U.S. Labor History

What follows is taken from the United Mine Workers website.

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The Ludlow Massacre

The date April 20, 1914 will forever be a day of infamy for American workers. On that day, 19 innocent men, women and children were killed in the Ludlow Massacre. The coal miners in Colorado and other western states had been trying to join the UMWA for many years. They were bitterly opposed by the coal operators, led by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

Upon striking, the miners and their families had been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent colony on public property. The massacre occurred in a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike breakers. They shot and burned to death 18 striking miners and their families and one company man.  Four women and 11 small children died holding each other under burning tents. Later investigations revealed that kerosene had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The miners had dug foxholes in the tents so the women and children could avoid the bullets that randomly were shot through the tent colony by company thugs. The women and children were found huddled together at the bottoms of their tents. Continue reading

A Postscript to One-Word Poems: A Poem without Words—from the Academe Archives No Less

In one of my posts yesterday, I reposted an item from Futility Closet. Titled “Taking Literary Minimalism to Its Endpoint” [http://academeblog.org/2014/04/19/6702/] it included this lead:

“In 1965 poet Aram Saroyan wrote a poem consisting of a single word, lighght. George Plimpton included it in the American Literary Anthology, and Saroyan received a $500 cash award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Perhaps to mock this, in 1972 Dave Morice published Matchbook, a literary magazine whose inch-square pages were stapled inside working matchbooks. Edited by the fictional Joyce Holland, each issue featured nine one-word poems submitted by contributors.”

That post then provided a sample list of those Matchbook issues.

This item, also uncovered by Futility Closet, takes that item one step further—to a poem without any words, at least beyond its title. And the extra attraction for the readers of this blog is that the item was originally published in Academe.

Continue reading

More Far-Right Propaganda Posing as Scholarly Research

In this case, ALEC has not even bothered to use an academic think tank as a front. This map purports to show the economic outlook for the states. What it actually shows, of course, is simply the degree to which business policies in the states align with ALEC’s vision of an America with no corporate taxation, no collective bargaining, and no financial or environmental regulations.

Map of ALEC Study Continue reading

Taking Literary Minimalism to Its Endpoint

This is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com). It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates from the site delivered to your e-mail each morning.

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In a Word:

opuscule

n. a musical or literary work of small size

In 1965 poet Aram Saroyan wrote a poem consisting of a single word, lighght. George Plimpton included it in the American Literary Anthology, and Saroyan received a $500 cash award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Perhaps to mock this, in 1972 Dave Morice published Matchbook, a literary magazine whose inch-square pages were stapled inside working matchbooks. Edited by the fictional Joyce Holland, each issue featured nine one-word poems submitted by contributors. Continue reading

Crises Connected like Spokes of a Wheel—or the Pockets on a Roulette Wheel

Last Sunday, the New York Times published an editorial, signed by the editorial board, titled “The College Faculty Crisis” [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/opinion/the-college-faculty-crisis.html].

In many ways, the editorial does not say much that should be new to anyone in higher education, but it is certainly significant that the most highly regarded newspaper in the country is highlighting the issues related to the declining state support for public colleges and universities and the effects of the increasing contingency among faculty.

Citing a new study by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, a research center at the University of Texas at Austin, a study that is based on the responses of some 71,000 faculty about their working conditions, the editorial writer emphasizes four major points, which I not only will summarize but will also elaborate on to some degree. Continue reading

So Oedipus and Big Daddy Go into a Board of Trustees Meeting and Order a Couple of Glasses of Snake Oil

This morning I attended a Board of Trustees meeting. When it was over, I concluded that I might be unduly rushing my return to the university, three months after my surgery.

But every faculty member must periodically attend such a meeting in order to have no delusions about what the “problem” is. Despite our starting out in much the same place, faculty and administrators not only speak different languages, but they also think in fundamentally different ways. It is no wonder that we have such divergent priorities.

When I was a much younger faculty member, our dean was trying to encourage me to become an associate dean. So he invited me to be his guest at an administrative retreat. As they were getting ready to serve lunch (on real china!), I glanced over at our dean, who was clearly in his element and enthusiastically “working the room.” I looked down at the place setting on the table in front of me, and I wondered if I would be excused for the afternoon if I took the knife and the fork into each of my hands and plunged them into my eyeballs. But, as I afterwards explained to my friends, it occurred to me that I might be made to sit there, my oozing eye-holes providing a testament to my aberrant mindset—like some later-day Oedipus at Colonus, who, to satisfy his perversely exaggerated sense of irony, had gouged out his eyes after discovering that he had not murdered his father and had not had sex with his mother. Continue reading

The NLRB Decision on the Unionization of College Athletes at One Institution Signals, but Will Not Determine, the Changes That Are Coming

The Tacoma News Tribune very recently published a very thoughtful editorial by Bill Virgin titled “It’s Not So Far-Fetched to See the Future of Collegiate Sports as a Business Entity” [http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/04/13/3147199/its-not-so-far-fetched-to-see.html?sp=/99/261/].

Virgin considers the following contrasts: the erosion of the concept of the amateur athlete and the rise of professional sports as a major entertainment industry, the rise in the profits generated by intercollegiate athletics and the low graduation rates among college athletes; and the tension between increased allocations to intercollegiate athletics ostensibly to market academic institutions and the rise in student debt and cuts to instructional budgets.

Virgin concludes that the end of amateur collegiate athletics is on the horizon—not because of the recent NLRB decision to allow the student athletes at Northwestern University to unionize but because that decision reflects a broader societal awareness of the hypocrisy of pretending that, at its top levels, this “big business” should be able to generate huge profits for everyone involved except for those most fundamentally involved, the athletes themselves.

Like Virgin, I don’t think that there is much point in mulling over the specifics of the NLRB decision on Northwestern. It seems more significant as a pivotal event than as a critical event: that is, it has created an awareness and a certain momentum that will extend beyond even its being overturned in the courts. Continue reading

USM President Rescinds Proposed Faculty Layoffs

Those regular readers of this blog will know that we have published several posts on the proposed elimination of faculty positions at the University of Southern Maine ostensibly to close a continuing budget gap but also to allow the administration more “flexibility” in funding programs.

This afternoon, the Lewiston Morning Sentinel is reporting that the president of the university of Southern Maine, Theodora Kalikow, has reversed herself on those faculty cuts: Continue reading

How to Deny Scholars Access to Historical Archives in the Digital Age

Over the last six months, the Chinese government has been systematically reducing access to historical archives by scholars.

There has been much speculation about the purpose of this effort. Some have speculated that it has to do with China’s strained relations with several of its neighbors, but most notably Japan, over possession of several groups of small islands in the South China Sea. Others have suggested that it is in response to the heightened tensions in regions of China itself where ethnic minorities, most notably the Islamic Uyghurs in Xinjiang, have begun engaging in low-level insurgencies or intermittent terror campaigns. Still others have concluded that the effort is not directly linked to any single current circumstance but, instead, that it reflects the Chinese government’s determination to maintain some control over how its own history is told, at least to its own people.

For scholars outside of China or in disciplines that don’t require such access to such archives, the reasons why access to the historical archives is being reduced are, however, of less interest than how the Chinese government is effecting this policy. Continue reading