food for thought: ’twas the week before christmas edition

A colleague and I erected a Christmas tree in our reading room this morning and as I compile this list on Tuesday evening my Jewish friends are lighting the first candle of Hanukkah … the U.S. end-of-December holiday season is upon us. My thoughts go out to folks for whom this is a particularly difficult time of year, what with the pressure to be intensely social and cheery. I hope all of you have opportunities for self-care over the next few weeks.

The Amiable Archivists’ “food for thought” list will be on hiatus for the weeks of December 24, December 31, and January 7. I will be resuming a weekly posting on January 14, 2015.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are the links I accumulated over the past seven days …

Kyra @ Model View Culture | How to Hold Up White Supremacy By Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion.

So why do so many people seeking racial justice, female empowerment, and queer liberation still choose to advocate for “diversity” and “inclusion”? They appeal to liberalism. They prevent oppression from being named. They prevent us from speaking truth to power. They make progress sound friendly to those in power. Companies can tokenize women and people of color throughout their advertising. They can get way more credit than they deserve for being not 100% white men. They can profit from the increases in efficiency and productivity associated with more diversity. All of the above ignore the fact that companies needed to have diversity initiatives to make them less overwhelmingly white in the first place; that white people are the ones in the position of being able to grant access in the first place. When we work for justice and liberation, we can’t accept progress that is conditional on being economically beneficial.

Derek Thompson @ The Atlantic | The Incredible Shrinking Incomes of Young Americans.

Once you account for falling wages among young workers—if you must: “the Millennials”—many mysteries of the economic behavior of young people cease to be mysterious, such as this generation’s aversion to home-buying, auto loans, and savings. Indeed, the savings rate for Americans under 35, having briefly breached after the Great Recession, dove back underwater and now swims at negative-1.8 percent.

Claire Cain Miller @ The Upshot | A Child Helps Your Career, If You’re a Man.

In her research, Ms. Correll found that employers rate fathers as the most desirable employees, followed by childless women, childless men and finally mothers. They also hold mothers to harsher performance standards and are less lenient when they are late.

C.W. @ The Economist | Proof that you should get a life.

Economists have suspected for some time that longer work hours could eat into productivity. John Hicks, a British economist, reckoned that “probably it has never entered the heads of most employers…that hours could be shortened and output maintained.” Hicks reasoned that with longer hours, output per hour would fall. As workers slaved away for longer and longer, they would lose energy, which would make them less productive.

Tauriq Moosa @ The Guardian | Comment Sections are Poison: Handle With Care or Remove Them.

A lot of times when people express their hatred for people’s behaviour online, wizards emerge to inform us, “That’s just the internet. Learn to deal with it.”

This assertion gives no humanity to victims: everyone is a blank, emotionless internet user, with no history of being targeted for her sex, race, sexuality. As much as we shouldbe treated equally, in reality, we come from backgrounds where we’re not – and we continue not to be treated fairly. Second, in this assertion, the internet, too, becomes an amoral wasteland where only the “fittest” survive – and by “fittest” we usually mean individuals who rarely face prejudice or hostility premised on their gender, race, etc.

Matt Rocheleau @ The Boston Globe | Full-time faculty at Boston-area colleges take steps to unionize.

Full-time lecturers at Tufts University filed paperwork this month with the federal agency that oversees unionization votes. The lecturers requested that a formal vote be conducted soon for the school’s 90 or so full-time, nontenure-track faculty to decide whether to unionize.

Similar campaigns are underway, though not as far along, to organize hundreds of full-time, nontenure-track faculty at Brandeis University, about 200 more at Lesley University, and an undisclosed number at other local universities, according to union and university officials. The officials declined to name the other colleges because faculty there are not ready to publicize their intentions.

… As full-timers join the movement, part-time faculty are continuing their push. About 960 Northeastern University adjuncts organized in May and are now in contract negotiations. Some 800 adjuncts at Boston University are scheduled to vote next month on whether to unionize. At Bentley University, a push to organize 200 adjuncts fell two votes short in fall 2013, but some faculty there want to try again. A campaign to unionize part-timers is also underway at Simmons College and other area colleges.

Lisa Rabey @ Exit, Pursued by a Bear | for the case of humanity.

#teamharpy has been racked over the coals across the comments, blogs, reddits of the internet. I’ve been called everything from unstable to a fat whore to a lot worse. The plantiff’s American and Canadian lawyers have taken to disparaging us on Twitter (I have screenshots) before we even set food into a court room. This is intimidation, pure and simple, but it’s also a matter of oppressing our humanity.

Katie Halper @ Feministing | New Survey Shows the Gender Leadership Gap in the Non-profit World.

Spoiler alert: this year’s results demonstrate, once again, that women are under-represented and earn less than men in the Jewish non-profit sector. But this is precisely why Eisner is committed to publishing the survey. “I really want to keep putting the spotlight on the dearth of women in leadership,” she explains. “I mean, about three-fourths of the people who work in these non-profits are women and we’ve only had 12-14% of the leaders being women. I’m just committed to doing this until it becomes no longer necessary. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Though the survey focuses on Jewish non-profit organizations, it highlights problems endemic to non-profits in general. And many of the Jewish non-profits deliver services to non-Jews, which makes the issue relevant to Jews and non-Jews alike.

Kelly J. Baker @ Curriculum Vitae | How You End Up Leading a Task Force on Contingency.

You insist that the committee include contingent instructors rather than just tenure-track and/or tenured professors, so you start talking to people to get them to join. You talk to a colleague who would be perfect for the task force. She asks about whether members will be paid for their service. You don’t know. She mentions that service commitments exploit adjuncts as free labor, and thus, it is doubly exploitative for contingent workers on the task force. You know that she’s right. This starts to bother you. You are no longer in academia. Unpaid labor has a higher cost for you than it used to. Hours spent working on the task force are hours not spent on your freelance writing. Shouldn’t your work be paid for?

Willis Ryder Arnold @ St. Louis Public Radio | Challenges Face Project Documenting Protests in Ferguson. (via @satifice)

A photographer, librarian, and professor discuss the importance of documenting events following Michael Brown’s death and the challenges facing that project. (Audio: 4:09 minutes)

… That’s what I got, folks! Share yours via comments, email, or Twitter. See y’all back here in 2015!

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