food for thought: flyover country edition

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading my way through journalist Sara Kendzior’s collection of essays The View from Flyover Country (2015). It’s a hard, but essential read, for those of us trying to make our way within and through the reality of the twenty-first century economy.

I find the #talkpay hashtag on Twitter fascinating and informative. 34/F. White. Cis. Bi. Boston. Reference librarian. MA/MLS w/$70k student debt. $49k.

Yet “the taboo is so entrenched that some people falsely believe that it is illegal to disclose your salary to co-workers. It is not.”

The problem isn’t just that men explain technology to me.”

David Brooks is not asking the most important moral questions about poverty today.

Considering the pros of disclosing your disability during the job application and interview process.

Is compulsory education oversold? Education researcher Peter Gray believes so.

Are college-educated youth today being denied the full benefits of faculty mentoring? Doubtful.

In more personal/administrative updates, as summer approaches and I gear up to work on some initiatives under the umbrella of my role as New England Archivists’ inclusion and diversity coordinator — principally development of a code of conduct and a contingent employment study — I will be probably be cycling down the Amiable Archivists’ Salon as an active blog. As I have mentioned previously, I’m trying to be more mindful of what professional projects I take on in addition to my formal workplace responsibilities and as much as possible limiting myself to what I can complete during regular work hours. That inevitably means winnowing down my self-assigned side projects.

These questions of labor, professionalism, structural inequality, social justice in the archives, and related issues continue to be passions of mine. I hope you will all continue to participate in these conversations online and in person, with me and elsewhere.

This links list will continue with occasional posts through June, at which point I will be idling the blog and Google Group (though not shutting it down completely just yet).

food for thought: post-marathon edition

It was a long weekend here in Massachusetts, in observance of Patriots’ Day, and secondarily the 119th Boston Marathon. The marathon felt weird this year, falling as it did between the two halves of the trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev for the 2013 bombing of the marathon finish line. My wife and I were in Allston the week of the bombings and lived through the eerie lockdown that led up to the arrest of Mr. Tsarnaev. Like 58% of our fellow Bostonians, we oppose the death penalty (in this, and all other, cases). Killing is not the way to demonstrate that killing is wrong.

A few links from this week on the Internet…

Writing about others’ trauma can cause secondary trauma.

Consider fighting inequality by talking openly about how much you make.

Adults on welfare are overwhelmingly people who work.

“In spite of the pride many libraries take in their neutrality, libraries have never been neutral repositories of knowledge.”

How do you feel about where your 2014 tax dollars went?

Perhaps  Internet help us achieve some modicum of work-life balance.

… and on that note, I’m going to be testing out my own work-life balance over the next two months by not doing work-related things after 5pm or on weekends, as much as possible. This may, or may not, cause the “food for thought” round-up to be a less than weekly affair.

At the end of June, I’ll be reassessing the whole balance situation and deciding where to go from here.

food for thought: sticky keyboard edition

This weekend, while I was working on a review of Galileo’s Middle Finger for The Daily Dose (going up next Monday), one of our cats – Geraldine – jumped up on the kitchen table and knocked my milk stout over with her tail. Beer all over the keyboard! Luckily, my computer still works. It’s just the left-hand SHIFT and CTRL keys that seem to be a little reluctant to perform. Last night, while I was trying to beta a piece of writing for my wife the CTRL key kept trying to make me cut and paste things superfluously. Such is life with cats and computers.

The gender wage gap for women of color.

Salon member P.G. forwarded me this piece from The Guardian on the cruelty of believing life is fair.

This past week Boston was talking about economic inequality in college.

25% of adjunct faculty are on some form of government assistance. (Don’t read the comments)

Policing the consumer choices of people on government assistance is incredibly petty – yet widely accepted.

Are workplace wellness programs useful … or not so much?

The American Library Association’s GLBT Roundtable has posted a new nonbinary bibliography.

What do we mean when we say a queer character (or actual co-human) “just happens to be gay!”?

Are you an author of color? Your work is more likely to be banned or challenged.

ICYMI in earlier incarnations, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”: When Marginality Meets Academic Microcelebrity is now available at ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology.

Working on feminist-related research and writing? May 1st is the deadline to sign up for the 2015 Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop, “an online, asynchronous, interdisciplinary, participant-driven workshop for individuals working on feminist-oriented research projects.”

What have you been reading this past week?

food for thought: cranberry seltzer gin edition

I’m putting this week’s links list together at my kitchen table while the cats chase one another in and out of the kitchen window onto the back porch: it’s above zero and therefore balmy enough to let the cats stretch their legs! I’m solo parenting tonight as the wife is staying late at work to do a presentation, and dinner consists of chickpea-squash curry stew, sauteed asparagus, and cranberry-pomegranate seltzer with the last shot of household gin. While listening to my sixth lecture on copyright via the Berkman Center’s CopyrightX series. I’m taking their (free!) class on global copyright law this spring and learning a lot!

This week’s links…

Microaggressions in Librarianship | Call for Microaggressions Post-Its! (For Zine-Making)

LIS Microaggressions is soliciting Post-it submissions to be collected and included in our first ever LIS Microaggressions zine, which will be distributed at the upcoming ARLIS, ACRL, and REFORMA conferences this month. This zine will also be available for download on our site!

(Um, WordPress doesn’t recognize the word “microagressions” in their dictionary. Problem!)

ALAnews | LLAMA Webinar Explores Implications of Microaggressions

Microaggressions are subtle, denigrating messages delivered to members of marginalized groups, and they can negatively affect an organization’s culture. Experiences of microaggressions can lead library staff to feel increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs, which may result in their physical or psychological departures from their organizations.   The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and the ALA Office for Diversity will present “Racial and LGBT Microaggressions: An Introduction for Library Leaders,” on Mar. 18, at 1:30 – 3:00 PM (Central time). 

Brigid Schulte @ The Washington Post | Women Need Time Off From Work the Most Often But Get It the Least

You can draw that conclusion, at least, from a new report by the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management that found great disparities in the type of workers who receive paid time off — either vacation time or sick days or more general paid leave. Nearly all-full time workers do. But less than a third of part-time workers do.

And there’s the rub. Women are far more likely than men to work part-time. And the overwhelming reason is that they either choose to, or have no choice. Women, after all, are still doing about twice the housework and child care as their male partners.

Brenda Iasavoli @ NPR | A Glut of PhDs Means Long Odds Of Getting Jobs

Colleges and universities control both the supply of college teachers and the demand for them. In many fields, from the humanities to the sciences, universities are accepting far more Ph.D. students than there are tenure-track openings. The universities get cheap labor in the form of graduate teaching and research assistants.

The research equivalent of adjuncts are the postdocs, who work in labs. The growing numbers of Ph.D.s end up fighting for a dwindling number of permanent jobs.

Peter Elbow | Grading Student Writing: Making it Simpler, Fairer, Clearer (PDF)

Some people complain that minimal grading takes away motivation, but when students struggle for excellence only for the sake of a grade, what we see is not motivation but the atrophy of motivation: the gradual decline of the ability to work or think or wonder under one’s own steam. Minimal grading on low stakes assignments, however, is a way to help students gradually develop a bit of intrinsic motivation—develop a bit of their own curiosity and standards. They get a time out from their habitual and understandable preoccupation with “What is the teacher looking for?” They get a chance to ask themselves, “What am I looking for? What do I think? What are my standards?” Of course, students nurtured in a grading economy often need some extrinsic motivation to get them working. But that’s exactly what minimal grading provides. It makes them do the writing and engage the material, but it gives them a lot of choice about how. Thus they get small protected spaces for gradually developing small bits of intrinsic motivation. And of course, they still have some high stakes assignments that we grade in a high stakes way—assignments where we provide most of the motivation.

I found this PDF linked in the comment thread of this thoughtful post:

Jesse Stommel | Dear Chronicle: While I Will No Longer Write for Vitae

This series is not effective satire, not a useful kind of venting. This series plays to the insecurities of its audience in a way that feels opportunistic. Academic job seekers are concerned about their current and future livelihood. They are oppressed by a system that calls 75% of its labor-force “unnecessary,” “contingent,” “adjunct.” The “Dear Student” series turns that oppression, and the most snickering part of it, upon students.

And for those of you in the Boston metropolitan area, a lecture series you may be interested in…

Boston has long played a significant role in the history of the Americas. Often ignored in the telling of that story has been the experiences of Black Women living in our city.

Please join us, every Tuesday this March, as we celebrate Women’s History Month by hosting a series of talks aimed at illuminating some of the fascinating histories of women of African descent here in Boston!

Each week’s discussion will cover one century of social, cultural, and political history; focusing on Black Women’s audacious vitality from the Early Colonial Period through the Present and highlighting how our struggles made this city and our success transformed the nation.

All are welcome- so tell your friends- and we look forward to seeing you there!!

Week 1: March 3rd- The 1600s: A period of introduction
Week 2: March 10th – 1700s: A period of consolidation
Week 3: March 17th – 1800s: A period of rebellion
Week 4: March 24th – 1900s: A period of revolution
Week 5: March 31st– The Present

Sponsored by: The History Collective, Black Lives Matter Boston, and Safe Hub Collective.

Hosted by: Fields Corner Business Lab | 1452 Dorchester Ave, 4th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02122


What have you been reading this week? Share via email, comment, or Twitter!

food for thought: clover food lab edition

This week looks to be the first five day work week, for many of us in the Boston area, since the week of January 19th! We hardly know how Mondays function any longer, and many of the classes that were supposed to meet this spring are floundering their way through make-up sessions and finding other creative ways to get through their syllabi. As I put this links list together I’m sitting in Clover Food Lab in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.) waiting for my wife’s evening class at Harvard Extension to wrap for the evening. Thanks to her benefits through the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) she’s able to take a class per semester for $40.00 tuition! Hip hip hooray for unionization is what I say.

My links from the week…

Erik Loomis @ Lawyers, Guns and Money | Culture Wars and Studying History (II)

[Gordon] Wood has found a new publishing outlet and that is The Weekly Standard. His discussion of his dissertation advisor Bernard Bailyn is little more than a cranky old white man screed against how new generations of historians talk about the past. He has a litany of complaints–too much race! too much gender! too much other countries! not enough big stories! historians trying to use the past for social change!–that for whatever merit (and I don’t think the complaints have much merit at all) they might have, basically come down to Gordon Wood believing the solution to these problems is seeing the past and writing about the past precisely in the way Gordon Wood sees the past and writes about the past. To say this is an unfortunate essay is a severe understatement.

Lara Hogan | Working in Tech with a Chronic Illness

I reached out to three other folks in our industry who have chronic illnesses to ask them to share their stories. I’m so appreciative that Lyza Danger Gardner, Mat Marquis and Nicholas Zakas have all been willing to participate. It’s important to note that lots of people with chronic illness don’t want pity or concessions—and we definitely don’t want to sound like we’re complaining, and so we just try and barrel through our workday.

I should also note that this post only reflects four individuals’ experiences with chronic illness; it’s not intended to represent the entire spectrum of ways illness can affect someone. Rather, I’m hoping to illustrate how our web development jobs are impacted by chronic illness, and how these kinds of jobs can also empower people who may not be able to work in traditional fields.

bossladywrites | The Fairytale of the Work-Life Balance

The only way to have any work-life balance is to take it. By that, I mean in order to maintain balance you have to absolutely know when to say No and know when things are starting to feel off balance and need to be realigned. Only you know those things. I’m pretty sure most bosses will let you work yourself into a tizzy and are busy enough that they may not even know until it’s too late. Because I’ve had very serious health concerns happen to me that were related to stress in a previous job, I try to be really aware of all of my people and check in with them (especially the most eager beavers) to make sure they are not overdoing it.

Jordan Schneider @ Chronicle of Higher Ed | A Letter to Full-Time Faculty

Complaining about low standards of education won’t do it. Showing the plight of adjuncts won’t do it. I’m pretty sure administrators know that adjuncts sometimes have to go on food stamps, that they have to work multiple jobs to support themselves and their families, and that the life of an adjunct is often filled with isolation, disappointment, and anxiety. I just don’t think most administrators really care, and no amount of shaming and guilt-tripping will change the balance sheets they have to show to presidents and governing boards. I don’t think administrators are bad people; they just have priorities and perspectives that are different from those of faculty, and no amount of handwringing and ethical indignation will change that.

So if adjuncts are so attractive because we’re so cheap, powerless, excluded, and replaceable, the solution seems to be to make adjuncts more expensive, more empowered, more included, and more secure in our positions.

Sarah Seltzer @ Flavorwire | Online Harassment Is the Missing Piece in Discussions of “PC” Culture

[Michelle] Goldberg focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on prominent white feminists in her piece. This is unfortunate since her point holds for the larger community. It’s common knowledge that women of color and queer women who are prominent, powerful voices on social media and blogs get the same, if not worse, cruel and violent harassment on a regular basis.

Aaron Wiener @ Housing Complex / Washington City Paper | The “Gentrification Myth” Myth

The Economist piece makes passing reference to one of the core problems effected by gentrification—a term I usually avoid for its ambiguity and loaded connotations, but generally referring to the displacement of low-income residents by wealthier, whiter ones, amid rising housing costs and new restaurants and shops. “In New York and San Francisco, which both have rent-control rules, soaring property prices create an incentive for property owners to get rid of their tenants,” the famously un-bylined magazine writes. “Stories abound of unscrupulous developers buying up rent-controlled properties and then using legal loopholes or trickery to force residents to leave.” That point is made briefly, as part of an argument the piece sets out to squash. But it’s actually an important one.

What have you been reading this week? Share via email, Twitter, or in comments!

food for thought: the long winter edition

As I put this links list together on Tuesday afternoon it’s snowing in Boston … again. My wife had gallbladder surgery on Friday, thankfully between blizzards, and we’ve been snug at home over the long weekend as she heals. I was grateful not only for the skilled and kind surgeon and medical staff at Beth Israel Deaconness hospital here in Boston, but also for the robust insurance my wife has through work, and also for the fact we live in a state where I don’t have to worry about being kept from her side due to non-recognition of our kinship status.

This morning we walked 1/2 mile up the road to enjoy leisurely cafe au lait at Caffe Aromi in Hyde Square — my wife’s first venture out since returning from the hospital. At the Hyde Square traffic circle we passed a group of incarcerated folks, similar to this crew, being paid less than $1.00/hour to clear roads and sidewalks throughout Boston. While I am glad that incarcerated people have opportunities to work for wages, it is deeply problematic that they are required, by law, to be paid less than minimum wage, with sketchy workplace protections at best.

Meanwhile, I logged into my work email this morning to find that people had driven to work only to be unable, full stop to find a place to park their cars. So they’d had to turn around and return home. That’s how structurally unable to handle the snow Boston is. It’s been a season of reckoning with the power of the nature world to humble human inventions like city infrastructure.

This week’s links…

Katha Pollitt @ The Nation | Republicanism vs. Multiculturalism in France (via Amiable P.G.)

Like the United States, France enshrines the separation of church and state in law, but laïcité, which is usually translated as “secularism,” is much more than that. In the United States, especially in recent years, the accent is on protecting believers from government interference, including, as in the Hobby Lobby case, excusing them from following important laws that benefit hundreds of thousands of people and that everyone else must follow. Laïcité, by contrast, is overtly anticlerical: it’s the creation and maintenance of a religion-free public space. In America, which has always been a jumble of denominations, atheists are few and Christianity is vigorous and politically powerful, and conservatives tend to support a wider public role for religion. But in France, where Catholicism is on the wane and Islam is energetic, even Marine Le Pen supports laïcité.

Colleen Flaherty @ InsideHigherEd | 15k Per Course?

Most observers agree that adjunct instructors deserve better pay, but what about $15,000 per course? The Service Employees International Union shocked even some adjunct activists last week when it announced that figure as a centerpiece of its new faculty advocacy campaign. But while union leaders admit the number is bold, those involved in the campaign say adjuncts might as well aim big, since they have little to lose. They also say they hope the $15,000 figure will force a national conversation about just how colleges spend their money, if not on middle-class salaries for instructors.

Eric Loomis @ Lawyers, Guns, and Money | Workplace Safety

One of things that drives me really crazy is when people talk about unions only in terms of financial gain. While workers (or anyone) will never turn down more money, unions are not primarily about money. They are about dignity on the job and worker power to have a say in their work life. To achieve that dignity and that voice, workers may very well want higher wages. But they may also want shorter hours, better equipment, a break for lunch, not to have to provide their own clothing or safety equipment, and an end to arbitrary firings, just to name a few of the issues workers have fought for in the past and/or fight for in the present.

Nicole Sanchez @ Medium | Which Women in Tech?

Something that everyone paying attention to diversity in tech needs to understand is this: White women speaking for us as representatives of the “diversity in tech” movement must stop. White women are a small sliver of the available talent, but are currently used as the proxy for all diversity. What works for them is not what works for us.

Nomy Lamm @ The Body is Not an Apology | This is Disability Justice

Soon after I moved to San Francisco eight years ago, I was introduced to radical crip artist/activists Leroy Moore and Patty Berne, and the project they founded, Sins Invalid. I had recently been approved for federal disability benefits, and though I have a lifelong disability and have been an activist since I was a teenager – and even though I’d spent the past fifteen years doing fat liberation work, and the past five years doing personal work around the legacy of medical trauma in my life – I had not figured out a way to integrate my politics within a bigger framework of disability activism.

Nadine Muller | An Anxious Mind

You tell yourself that things will be different once you have that holy grail, that first permanent academic job, when you can relax on a decent salary, traveling to only one place of work, being an integral part of your department and a permanent good colleague. But if you internalize the behavioral patterns described above now, during your Ph.D., they won’t ever go away. Not on their own, not without you recognizing that you are the one who maintains them, feeds them. You will continue to feel insecure, you’ll feel unfairly threatened by colleagues, you will beat yourself up because not everyone in your department likes you, because you can’t please everyone, because you do everything wrong, always. While academia can be challenging and punishing in itself, don’t underestimate the effect your Ph.D. studies can have on you. Depending on your subject, spending three years on your own and largely in your head is bound to throw up the good, the bad, and the ugly, especially if you have struggled with mental health issues before.

WBUR (AP) | Harvard, MIT Sued Over Lack of Closed Captioning Online

Advocates for the deaf sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, saying the universities failed to provide closed captioning for online courses, podcasts and other educational programs.

All Confirmation Bias, All the Time | Creating Just Online Social Spaces

Social spaces grow from their seed members, and as it’s been studied, people’s social networks tend to be racially and genderwise insular; White members beget more white members; men bring more men, especially in technology as we’ve found. If a space is insufficiently representative of the diversity of experiences that should be there, people will leave, having seen yet another space that isn’t “for” them. So, too, power structures reflect the initial or core body of a social group, and a social group will tend to reflect the demographics of those in positions of power, creating a feedback cycle that will be hard to break without a lot of effort. Seed your network as broadly as you can, and put people without homogenous backgrounds in power.

What have you been reading and thinking about vis a vis work and social justice this week? Share, as always, via email, Twitter, or in comments.

food for thought: gosh more snow edition

This marks the third week in a row that I’ve put together this links list on a snow day from work; as Boston is learning painfully and unequally this winter, chronically under-funding socialized city services comes home to roost when nature decides to play rough. Blizzards apparently played a key role in creating the role of modern city government — it will be interesting to see whether they play an equally key role in re-imagining that role for the era of climate change and 21st-century infrastructure.

Whether you are comfortably at work or digging out from this most recent round of snow, I hope you find something thought-provoking in this week’s links list.

Maggie Mertens @ Refinery29 | Will Millennial Women Ever Get Paid Maternity Leave?

Here’s the thing: Business doesn’t suffer because of paid-leave laws. In California, one of only three states with paid-family-leave laws, 91 percent of businesses reported that the law either boosted or had no impact on their profitability. And, women there were more likely to stay in the workforce and report increased wages after having a baby than those in states with no such law.

“Paid parental leave encourages loyalty and productivity, and reduces turnover in a workforce,” says Tracy Sturdivant, co-executive director of Make it Work, a nonpartisan campaign working to advance economic security. “That’s why successful businesses like Google offer generous paid leave for mothers and fathers. These policies are good for loyalty, morale, and for a business’s bottom line.”

Meg Winikates @ Brain Popcorn | NEMA Wrap up 3: Discussing Diversity

The first task the Think Tank took on was trying to encapsulate what kinds of diversity we seek as a field.  Recognizing that ‘diversity of thought is even more important than diversity of look’ to promote change, while not underestimating the impact of the ‘this place is for people like me’ effect, meant that our definition in itself was diverse.  The questions raised included ‘how can we define/identify what diversity is – and should we?’ and ‘what kind of diversities are priorities for museums?’  These are both much bigger ideas than we had airspace for in an hour long session, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

Inside Higher Ed | Inequality on Rise in Higher Education

Rising costs and lower government aid have made it more difficult for lower-income students to earn a college degree, according to a new report from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania. The study tracked data over 45 years. It found that students and families paid for one-third of the cost of the higher-education system in 1980. But that proportion grew to a little more than half in 2012.

Brittney Cooper @ Salon | White Male Temper Tantrums: What the ‘Political Correctness’ Debate Completely Misses

In the hands of uncritical white liberals, black women’s radical knowledge production becomes the shrapnel of democracy, the violently shredded material aftermath of a “free” and unregulated war of ideas, embedded painfully in the hearts and minds of otherwise well-meaning white people. Clearly, black women’s ideas about political correctness and identity politics grow out of a liberatory politic that is about the pursuit of freedom for black people, rather than the suppression of white people.

Samhita Mukhopadhyay @ Al Jazeerha | Why Political Correctness is Still Politically Relevant

Building off the civil rights movement and feminist activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s, identity politics as a field emerged in response to the unfair treatment that people from marginalized groups received in daily life and the ways in which American culture did not reflect or include our experience or realities. Identity politics emerged in academia as a response to history’s not including the plight of Native Americans, women or black people. It was a response to racism, sexism and homophobia that pushed back on the assumption that everyone was straight, white, cisgender and middle-class. Identity politics — also known as the fields of women’s studies, ethnic studies, African-American studies, queer studies and the like — paved the way for Edward Said to study colonization’s role in how the West understands “the Orient,” Kimberle Crenshaw to consider a politics of intersectionality and the powerlessness of women invisible to the legal system and Audre Lorde to insist that her words as a lesbian and woman of color mattered.  

Sam Pritchard @ Contralbum | Political Correctness Is More Reasonable Than Jonathan Chait

Chait, by arguing that all ideas merit the respect of good-faith Enlightenment discourse, exhibits dishonesty. He, like all human beings, excludes many positions from his notion of what is reasonable, and dismisses them summarily. He even does it within the very piece where he pleads for a democratic ideal of reasoned discourse in which his ideas are never dismissed—and, incredibly, some of the ideas he rejects flippantly are indeed reasonable. Chait shrugs off these ideas perhaps more subtly and in a more tonally-restrained style than the PC discourse he criticizes, but it is no less galling to those being dismissed, and it is no less a tactic of ideological policing. Again, we find that Chait is primarily uncomfortable with being subject to the dismissal that he, as a centrist, assumed he was entitled to dole out and immune from receiving. That assumption is so ingrained that he doesn’t even recognize his own language as the dismissive policing of ideology that it is.

 Sydni Dunn @ Curriculum Vitae | Where Do English Ph.D.’s Get Jobs? It Depends on Where They Studied

From Ph.D. to the professorship, the market moves downward. Of the graduates who get tenure-track jobs, most end up at universities ranked lower than the ones they attended. Virtually no one moves up. Even moving from a fourth-tier Ph.D. program to a tenure-track professorship at a third-tier one is nearly unheard of.

Michael Ortner @ Quartz | How to Have a Successful Unlimited Vacation Policy

Americans are not good at taking vacation. A study from Glassdoorreports that American employees only take 51% of their available time off—and 15% take no time off at all. And these statistics are not good for business; studies have shown again and again that vacations are intimately tied to higher productivity, workplace morale, and employee retention. We decided to give our employees the ability to use their best judgment and take as much vacation as they decided they needed, when they needed it.

Allison Meier @ Hyperallergic | Emma Goldman Papers Project Faces Uncertain Future

The 34-year-old Emma Goldman Papers Project is in limbo after losing its affiliation with UC Berkeley and running through its funding. The university cites the slowness of the project and the need to direct funds elsewhere as reasons for the break, while the project’s director claims the charismatic Jewish anarchist activist is still a radical figure to support.

Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg | Madam C.E.O, Get Me a Coffee

Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, finds that professional women in business, law and science are still expected to bring cupcakes, answer phones and take notes. These activities don’t just use valuable time; they also cause women to miss opportunities. The person taking diligent notes in the meeting almost never makes the killer point.

When men do help, they are more likely to do so in public, while women help more behind the scenes. Studies demonstrate that men are more likely to contribute with visible behaviors — like showing up at optional meetings — while women engage more privately in time-consuming activities like assisting others and mentoring colleagues. As the Simmons College management professor Joyce K. Fletcher noted, women’s communal contributions tend simply to “disappear.”

What have you been reading on work, archives, and social justice this week? Share on Twitter, via email, or in comments!

food for thought: another snowstorm edition

Just as the Northeast was digging out from blizzard Juno, another band of wintery whiteness blew across the plains through Great Lakes region and is now once again blanketing the Boston area with about a foot of fresh snow. Here are some of the stories that crossed my desk while hunkered down working from home.

Special thanks to the participants of the 1/27 #critlib chat where several of these pieces were originally linked.

Annie Pho @ APALA | But am I Really an Activist? Dealing with Impostor Syndrome

When I was first asked to write an article about being an activist librarian, I was really surprised that someone asked me to write about activism in libraries at all. I have never called myself an activist. To me, activists are very organized, well-spoken (and outspoken), proactive in spreading the messages of their cause, and inspire others to be better. While I do care about social justice, I often find myself struggling with the right response to those who critique social justice movements. I consider myself someone who is constantly trying to learn how to be a better citizen, not necessarily someone who inspires others. That’s when I realized the depths of impostor syndrome—always feeling like you are impersonating the role that you currently fulfill. Impostor syndrome is an issue in our profession, and something that permeates many spaces in librarianship.

Angela @ Without Edge | Job Interview as Performance Art

There’s this desire for a prescriptive answer for interview outfits, as though your clothes get you the job. Let me be clear: your clothes do not get you the job; your adherence to the white, middle class costume is what prevents your exclusion. The middle class costume is framed in the maintenance of surface, so much that entire industries are sustained by this desire. Plastic surgery, anti-aging creams, hair dye, vanity sizing, shapewear, dressing to look thinner, and conforming to gender performance expectations. If you like your anti-aging creams and hair dye, fine. They are part of the costume regardless of our empowerment from them. I like makeup. I feel more confident wearing it. But I can’t deny its role in middle class performance.

#critlib | Book CFP

This book will provide practical tools and activities to integrate critical pedagogy into library instruction. Short chapters introducing key ideas will alternate with lesson plans and workbook activities where readers will reflect on their own practice or walk through the steps to alter an existing teaching activity. This approach reflects our belief that all librarians can incorporate critical pedagogy into their teaching. One does not need to be an expert in critical theory to get started, but every teaching activity is an opportunity to reflect, learn, and incorporate theory into one’s practice.

We welcome proposals from anyone who teaches using critical pedagogies, whether in academic, public, or community libraries. We encourage proposals from individuals who belong to communities historically underrepresented in librarianship, and from those who work with learners from marginalized communities.

Victor Ray @ Conditionally Accepted | Reflections on Nominal Diversity in Academia

As a stopgap means of providing more support for race scholarship, students of color also organized a race workshop, providing a space for students, postdocs, and professors from across the campus and from other institutions.  The majority of white faculty in my department rarely attends this workshop—but this award gives them credit that work.  Further, faculty members get angry that students have the audacity to organize.  Essentially, for pointing out that there is a problem with racial inequality, you become the problem.  You have, after all, made (white) power uncomfortable.  The racial etiquette of our “colorblind” era means you’re rude for talking about such things.

bossladywrites | Not Just Surviving, But Thriving: How to Deal When You Can’t Get Out of Your Crappy Job

So, last week I gave my advice on knowing when to leave your job. But, what if you know it’s just shit, but you can’t leave. You are place bound. You have a home, kids in school, partner. You have a mortgage. Or maybe it’s because you just can’t find anything else. A full time job takes up the bulk of our time every week. And if this full time job is a part of your long term career goals, you have a lot vested in it.

I have only had to survive a real hellish job situation once. So, I am not an expert. But, here’s my advice (with some from my peers sprinkled in). You need to find out how you can not only survive, but thrive, until the right time comes along to leave. Also, before you go negative, the right time *will* come. This is a game of biding your time.

Chris Bourg @ Feral Librarian | Never Neutral: Libraries, Technology, and Inclusion

If you read the blurb describing this talk, you know that a fundamental tenet that undergirds this talk, and frankly undergirds much of the work I have done in and for libraries, is the simple assertion that libraries are not now nor have they ever been merely neutral repositories of information. In fact, I’m personally not sure “neutral” is really possible in any of our social institutions … I think of neutral as really nothing more than a gear in your car.

Homa Mojtabai @ McSweeney’s | Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Totally Unrelated to Gender

You don’t smile enough. People don’t like you.

You smile too much. People don’t take you seriously.

You’re abrasive, for example that time when you asked for a raise. It was awkward and you made the men on the senior leadership team uncomfortable.

You don’t speak up. We’d really like to see you take on more of a leadership role before we pay you for being a leader.

UC-Hastings | Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women of Color in Science (PDF)

We interviewed sixty scientists who were all women of color. Women of color face “double jeopardy” because they encounter race as well as gender bias (Epstein, 1973; Almquist, 1975). This study explores how the experience of gender bias differs by race.

Sarah Fenton @ AHA Today | Reflections on Ferguson and the Value of Historical Context

What made Session 245-A particularly well suited to unraveling that problem was not only the pressing importance of the topic, but also the variety of angles from which panelists approached it. Is it prosaic to talk about tools? There’s nothing prosaic about the tools themselves when handled by historian Colin Gordon; his maps and tables illustrate trends whose origins and impact can be hard to convey in words alone, uncovering chapters in the story of greater St. Louis lost in most reports on Ferguson last fall. Decade by decade, Gordon showed us neighborhoods segregated by race and wealth as “private and public strategies of exclusion overlapped and reinforced one another.” As black flight followed white, inner city poverty moved from the city’s near north side to its inner suburbs. “We’ve made some gains on wages and income,” Gordon concluded, “but the wealth gap is growing, and that is all about housing.”

Tylyn Hardamon @ NPR | The True Costs of Community College

Even though it was billed as bipartisan, Republicans did not welcome President Obama’s recent proposal to make tuition free at community colleges. It’s widely expected it won’t go anywhere in the GOP-controlled Congress, but it made us wonder what students at community colleges think about the plan. Youth Radio reporter Tylyn Hardamon went to his own campus to find out.

Jarrett M. Drake @ Medium | Marshawn Lynch and the Agency of the Silent 

Institutions that society empowers and funds to document our lives — including the news media and the archives — assume falsely that everyone wishes to be documented and reflected in the historical record. Moreover, we in these institutions take offense to anyone’s objections to our privilege to document their lives; particularly when we view the subject of the objection as someone who should be grateful to have microphones and cameras shoved in his face. “How dare he object to our authority to document?” As a result, when a person or organization obstructs our desire to document, we sometimes push them even harder, making us no better than the rank-and-file tabloid staff writer.

(via @NixoNARA)

What have you been reading? Share in the comments, via email, or on Twitter!

food for thought: #BlizzardOf2015 edition

As those of us in the northeast dig out from under a few inches to several feet of snow gifted to us by winter storm Juno, here are a few links I accumulated in my inbox over the course of the week. Thank you P.G. & K.S. for emailing additional stories to the Amiable Archivists list this past week — I hope others will feel so moved to share what they’ve been reading as well.

Intern Labor Rights | Labor Rights of Interns to be Argued in Federal Appeals Court

On Friday, January 30, the movement towards eliminating exploitative unpaid internships will take another significant step forward. Lawyers representing interns, employers, and, possibly, other interested parties will appear before a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court is considering interlocutory appeal questions stemming from two lawsuits brought by former unpaid interns who asserted that federal and state labor law obliged their employers to pay them at least the mandated minimum wage. The decision the court renders will undoubtedly have profound impact for interns, employers, colleges, the labor market, the economy, and the movement to improve the working conditions for interns across the country.

Given the dependence of many LIS programs and under-funded repositories on interns to supplement professional labor, I hope y’all are aware of these national discussions. I’d be interested to know — via comments or email — whether any discussion about intern labor has happened at your places of work, and of so what has come out of that conversation.

Quarts | Can You Discriminate Without Meaning To? The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide

The Wall Street Journal has a great story this morning on a big civil rights case going before the US Supreme Court. At issue: A prominent legal strategy called “disparate impact” that’s used to prove discrimination even in the absence of intent.

In other words, America’s highest court is going to decide if companies and policies can be accidentally racist.

Inside Higher Ed | Workplace Bullies

We found the most common type was a chaos narrative. The stories were the most extreme cases and focused on isolation and loss. Targets felt shunned by the bully and witnessing co-workers. They shared how the experience negatively affected their health, job, relationships and dignity.

Interestingly, when a co-worker offered support targets had an easier time organizing their thoughts and constructing their story so it was less chaotic. The ability for a target to tell their story to supportive co-workers allowed them to tell more convincing narratives about their experiences. This made the story more believable and helped targets deal with the situation.

Ryan P. Randall | Freire and Critical Librarianship

Ultimately, my question is less about how we should foster Freire’s problem-posing pedagogy within individual classrooms and more about how we can reshape education to enable it throughout our campuses and society. To me, critical librarianship is one approach, as it helps students become capable lifelong learners. Although librarians like Emily Drabinski and Barbara Fister have advocated critical approaches to librarianship for years, posts such as Brian Mathews’ recent column for the Chronicle of Higher Education show that “#critlib” is receiving attention in venues beyond libraryland.

Please do share any additional stories you’ve found thought-provoking … and for those of you facing the aftermath of Juno, stay warm, stay safe, and good luck digging out!


food for thought: slim pickings!

It was a week that pulled me away from my news feeds much of the time, and thus I didn’t redirect many posts to my “include in ‘food for thought’!” queue. Here, however, are a few items that did catch my attention.

Sejal Parikh @ The American Prospect | Labor at a Crossroads: How We Know We Haven’t Yet Found the Right Model for the Worker Organizations

If we had already found the right model for a powerful, scalable, sustainable organization uniting low-wage workers, then organizations like Working Washington would have learned what was happening at Wet Seal from the workers themselves, not Reddit. We would have been able to develop demands together, further amplify the message, and lay the groundwork for larger policy and organizing campaigns that confront the roots of income inequality.

s.e. smith @ this ain’t livin | Diversity Should Never Be an Afterthought

The thing is, diversity is often considered an afterthought, and experts in the issue are even more of an afterthought. It’s only after a conference is organised that someone bothers to think about the accessibility at the hotel, and the possible expense of sign language interpreters, live captioning, and other support for d/Deaf attendees. It’s only after a new office building is commissioned that anyone wonders if gender neutral bathrooms should have been installed, or if the buildings in the bathroom should be gender neutral across the board. It’s only after the events at a company training are planned that anyone stops to think that maybe there should be a workshop or class on race in the workplace.

The Rainbow Editor | 9 out of 10 Transgender Employees Discriminated Against in the Workplace

The U.S. unemployment rate for gender non-conforming individuals is twice the national employment rate and a staggering four times the national rate for transgender people of color.  Nine out of every 10 of those who manage to find jobs also report they have experienced some form of workplace discrimination.