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Learning on the Job

Learning on the Job

By James K. Harris and Nic Flores
Join two recent(ish) queer Ph.D.s of color as we navigate the world of higher education. One is an English professor at a community college and the other teaching Latina/o/x Studies at a four-year public university. We present our unique perspectives on the shifting landscape of college in America and share our behind-the-scenes thoughts on everything – from the tenure track to conference etiquette to figuring out how not to get fired. Call it a learning experience.

Email us: lotjpod@gmail.com. We'd love to hear from you!
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Lesson #29: Resolve Can Be a Kind of Strength
Looks like we made it! The end of the year brings a few last lessons. First of all, never, and we mean NEVER, underestimate the popularity of Omarion. That man is getting around these days, whew! We begin by touching base on what this latest round of madness feels like on the ground. From there, we spend some time unpacking the recent renewed debate around "Latinx" as a term, a concept, a political dog whistle, what have you. There's some genuinely enlightening stuff to be encountered.  And then we end the year with some celebration and some reflection. It wasn't all doom and gloom dear listeners. There were some great books along the way! And we've got a few thoughts about how to grow going forward. It has certainly been an interesting year. Congrats to you for hanging in there. We see you! And of course, RIP to a true icon: bell hooks. Further Reading: "LULAC No Longer Using 'Latinx'", KHOU 11 News "Many Latinos Say 'Latinx' Offends of Bothers Them. Here's Why", NBC News Opinion "West Side Story is Not for Puerto Ricans Like Me", Andrea González-Ramírez What We Loved Reading This Year: Andrew Jolivette, Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco's Two-Spirit Community Darius Bost, Evidence of Being: The Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence Natashia Deón, The Perishing Bryant Terry, Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora Marilisa Jiménez García, Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Culture
01:10:52
December 20, 2021
Lesson #28: A Finished Semester is a Good Semester (We Think)
Happy December! The end of the term is finally upon us and we. are. EXHAUSTED! Y'all feel that, too, right? The world of higher education continues on in the U.S. and we remain skeptical of the trajectory laid out. This week, Nic and James take an ever-so-needed walk down memory lane (a.k.a. High St. in C-bus) to reflect on the exploitative conditions of grad school. The smell of fried chicken, generic fabric softener, and malt liquors will really make you appreciate the places you've been. The duo also addresses the rise in enrollment of online graduate education, the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and the absurdity of mask reversals on campuses today. The realities we collectively live in are, to say the very least, exhausting. James offers some cruel, cruel optimism in light of the bizarre world. Stick around to the end to hear Nic and James' final thoughts and a stellar book rec! Further Reading: Where Graduate Enrollments Are Booming, The Chronicle Everyone Wants to Be a Hispanic-Serving Institution, The Chronicle Universities Flip-Flop on Mask and Vaccine Mandates as New Covid Variant Raises Concerns, The Chronicle  What We're Reading: Farah Jasmine Griffin, Who Set You Flowin?: The African American Migration Narrative
01:03:33
December 06, 2021
Lesson #27: A Website is Not a School (and Vice Versa)
With apologies for the holiday delay, this week we're back with some thoughts about the state of adjunct labor (shout out to the UC lecturers!) and the future of this thing called higher education. We celebrate some hard fought victories for unionized labor (we should all be unionized!) while remaining a bit skeptical about the future of adjunct teaching per se. We have some words for Joe Biden, who apparently wants to continue being President despite some pretty aggressively mounting evidence to the contrary.  But that's all prelude to the main event. Did y'all here about this lame-ass scam-ass white grievance-ass website calling itself a college? The fact that it exists alone is shocking, but then you see who put their names on this and...oh girl. It's equal parts embarrassing and terrifying. Worry not, we cleanse the pallet with some great books and some promising thoughts about the season of sweater weather. Stay warm out there! Further Reading: U. of California Lecturers Call Off Strike, Celebrate Tentative Agreement, Chronicle of Higher Education Student Loan Forgiveness is Excluded from Democrats' $2 Trillion Spending Bill, NBC News Gee: My Commitment to WVU is Unwavering and Unequivocal, WVU Today 'Free speech warriors' founded an anti-woke college. But they're keeping their day jobs, The Guardian That Hot Ass Mess of a Website  What We're Reading: Sami Schalk, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction Peter Staley, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism
01:10:01
November 29, 2021
Lesson #26: Fall(-ing) Ain't So Bad!
Happy November! Fall is officially here and it's more than simply a season to be experienced with the shift in weather and landscape changes. (But, really, who doesn't love sweater weather?!) No, "fall" is also an apt metaphor for the numerous ways that it seems like we are collectively going this semester. The force of gravity is so strong, y'all! For instance, Nic and James discuss the ongoing debates about "academic freedom" and the use of "expert knowledge" down in Florida that make us wonder: Are we (and we're being generous with the use of "we" here) being pushed to our fall and demise by the powers of 'the state' to shut us up and down when we've got something critical to say? Or, is the fall of the "expert" our doing? We've got questions. The duo also discusses the controversial and is-this-really-gonna-happen dormitory being proposed (and likely built) at UCSB. The bottom line, under the guise of "efficiency," rears its windowless and ugly head once again... It's not all doom and gloom, though. We still have sweaters! Right? RIGHT? Right.  As always, the end of the episode offers some stellar book recommendations and thoughts on staying sane.  Further Reading: Academics’ Work on Court Cases Is Common and Often Uncontroversial. Now It’s Under the Microscope, The Chronicle After Scathing Criticism, U. of Florida Will Let Professors Testify Against the State, The Chronicle  Architect slams UC Santa Barbara mega-dorm as ‘social, psychological experiment,’ quits in protest, LA Times ‘A torture experiment’: plan for almost windowless student megadorm raises alarm, The Guardian What We're Reading: Steven Angelides, The Fear of Child Sexuality: Young People, Sex, and Agency Rafia Zafar, Recipes for Respect: African American Meals and Meaning Tim Dean, Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking Roderick A. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference
51:43
November 08, 2021
Lesson #25: Same Team, Karen!
Happy Halloween!  This one is pretty appropriately horrifying, particularly if you're concerned about the education outcomes of Black and Brown students. But, hey, what else is new? We dive into the crisis happening across education as the pandemic continues to disproportionately diminish outcomes and opportunities for students of color. And it's, like, real bad. From there we spend a bit of time thinking through the recent Docent drama at the Art Institutes of Chicago. Honestly, if this isn't an argument for the importance of cross-racial solidarity, we're running out of time to figure out what is. We also touch on M.I.T. and the project of continually making space for scientific racism under the guise of intellectual diversity. It's...all...so...tiring.  Stick it out to the end for some really great book recs and thoughts on decompressing. And truly, stay safe out there. Further Reading: Failing Grades, Stalled Learning, LA Students 'need help now', Times Analysis Shows, LA Times Art Institute of Chicago Ends a Docent Program, and Sets Off a Backlash, NY Times M.I.T.'s Choice of Lecturer Ignited Criticism. So Did Its Decision to Cancel. NY Times What We're Reading: Aimi Hamraie, Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability Bryant Terry, Black Food
01:07:34
October 25, 2021
Lesson #24: Live and Let Live, and also Learn
Happy October! We're collectively exhausted by the mid-point in the semester and, yet, we're all still required to move forward as normal. This week, Nic and James diverge from their usual format to discuss the relationship between "work-life" and "personal life" and how these areas spill over into one another. In short, the episode explores the types of boundary work conditioned by the external expectations brought on by institutional life and the internal pressures to remain accountable to ourselves and loved ones. Please (we beg you!) do not expect any answers or revelations as you tune in. Instead, take this opportunity to explore the variables you have control over and those you don't. And, of course, remember that it's okay to not have it all figured out just yet.  What We're Reading: Natashia Deón, The Perishing
57:23
October 11, 2021
Lesson #23: Once You Drive Up a Mountain, You Can't Back Down
Wherein we are still here, and do indeed remain queer, but all the rest feels a bit more...abstract.  This week we're thinking through the continued struggles of working in a boring dystopia. Longtime listeners will remember our cautious enthusiasm for the seemingly imminent return of in-person conferencing. And God laughed, or something. We spend some time thinking through the ethics of accommodating student need while still trying to maintain some sense of standards or purpose (more on that one to come, for sure) and try to understand why some people keep hearing Reform when we're so clearly saying DEFUND THE POLICE (yes, even the campus ones).  And then book recs, thoughts on fall, that sort of thing. Stay sane! Further Reading: "Can Colleges Reform Their Police Departments? One Says Yes and Here's How", Chronicle of Higher Ed "Is The Worst Over? Modelers Predict a Steady Decline in COVID Cases Through March", NPR What We're Reading: Brian Jefferson, Digitize and Punish Marilisa Jiménez-Garcia, Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture
51:57
September 27, 2021
Lesson #22: Keep Ya Masked Head Up, Fam!
The new semester remains an unrelenting one. Vaccine skeptics, student and faculty fatigue, and masks galore. Definitely one for the books. At least we've got each other, right? RIGHT?! Nic and James discuss the highs and lows (mostly lows) of navigating the current higher ed terrain and want better for all of us. Nay, demand better. We deserve. Amidst the chaos of classroom management and praying for that one student to put their mask above their nose (why is that SO hard?!), the new semester presents new opportunities and ecologies of being with each other that we're trying to make sense of together. Sometimes all you have to do is keep your masked head up strong, fam. Further Reading: Universities Say They Want More Diverse Faculties. So Why Is Academia Still So White? A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’ The Masked Professor vs. the Unmasked Student What We're Reading:  Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas and Mérida M. Rúa, Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts
54:38
September 14, 2021
Lesson #21: It Doesn't Get Better, But You Get Better At It
Like those cartoon dinosaurs from the 90s, WE'RE BACK! It's a new year, a new season (whatever that means) and...honestly not enough has changed. We've got a lot of thoughts about the only thing any of us are thinking about these days: Covid in the classroom. What even is socially distancing in an overcrowded classroom? How are we still this unprepared for in-person instruction? Would it kill people to just wear a mask? And any bets on how long before it all comes crashing down? Not to be a downer, but this is a really crappy way to start the year. So maybe that means it's all uphill from here? A girl can dream... Further Reading: The Great Disillusionment, Chronicle of Higher Education Despite President's Advice, College Board Rescinds Mask Mandate, Chronicle of Higher Education She Wouldn't Teach Without Being Able to Require Masks. So She Was Fired, Chronicle of Higher Education University of Virginia Disenrolls 238 Students for Not Complying with Vaccine Mandate, CNN What We're Reading: Anne Pollack, Sickening: Anti-Black Racism and Health Disparities in the United States Shira Chess, Play Like a Feminist
01:04:52
August 30, 2021
Summer Conversation Series: Dr. Angela N. Castañeda Reminds Us to Breathe Deeply and Lovingly
Happy August! When was the last time you focused (and we mean "focused focused") on your breath? Breathing is so important, y'all.  The summer conversation series continues with Dr. Angela N. Castañeda, Lester Martin Jones Professor of Anthropology at DePauw University, who is an absolute delight, just plain brilliant, and reminded us to slow down and focus on breathing for a minute. Listen in as Dr. Castañeda offers important reflections on language, culture, identity, and giving birth/life. Did we mention she is a practicing doula? Seriously, you don't want to miss this episode. Tune in, learn something new, and have a box of tissues handy for a much-needed (and deserved) happy cry!  What We're Reading: Karen Jaime, The Queer Nuyorican: Racialized Sexualities and Aesthetics in Loisaida Liat Ben-Moshe, Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition Further Reading: ABC 7 NYC, Unpaid debt forgiven for at least 50,000 CUNY students
01:01:15
August 02, 2021
Summer Conversation Series: Dr. Maurice E. Stevens Reminds Us of Our Enoughness
Happy Summer! We continue our summer conversation series with a very special guest, Dr. Maurice E. Stevens, Professor of Comparative Studies at OSU.  The conversation begins with Maurice’s reflection on their intellectual history and journey, flows into a candid discussion on dealing with the world around us as healthily as possible, and rounds out with an important meditation on amplifying life. There are truly so, so many golden nuggets of wisdom in this week’s conversation and you definitely want to tune in. We hope you enjoy it! What We’re Reading: S. A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears Karma R. Chávez, The Borders of AIDS: Race, Quarantine & Resistance
54:13
July 19, 2021
Summer Conversation Series: Dr. Noah Jampol Appreciates the Lessons of Struggle
Welcome Back! Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. Or else time is a flat circle (just keep reminding yourself). But we're back with an interview that was absolutely worth whatever wait you did or didn't have. This time we're joined by James's colleague and comrade from Bronx Community College, the incredible Dr. Noah Jampol. What follows is an honest, open, and genuinely thought-provoking conversation about knowledge, learning, teaching, and the ethics of working in higher ed at, let's just call it like we see, the pretty likely end of days. But we promise it's not all doom and gloom. Listen in to hear about the struggles of work and academic life balance, the difficulties of dealing with mental health while trying to be a working professional, and how the hell so many of us all seem to have imposter syndrome. It's certainly worth your time! Further Reading: Nikole Hannah-Jones Issues Statement on Decision to Decline Tenure at UNC Chapel Hill
01:20:37
July 16, 2021
Lesson #20: Anything Worth Having is Worth Waiting For
Because summer is busy and scheduling is hard, our Summer Conversation Series is going to be delayed by a week this time around. But worry not! We decided to take the opportunity to catch up on some academia news/triggering mess that has been floating around this summer. We've got thoughts on Nikole Hannah-Jones (thoughts recorded before she fully ghosted UNC, stay tuned for updates and also we stan) and Howard Dean Phylicia Rashad making a whole ass out of herself and that school. And we end on some optimistic news about the future of the humanities. No reading suggestions this week, but we will be back next week with a great interview and all the books you don't have time for.  Further Reading: Phylicia Rashad's Support of Bill Cosby Rattles Howard Community, Yahoo News Nikole Hannah-Jones Granted Tenure at UNC after Weekslong Dispute, NY Times Humanities are Shrinking, Except at Community Colleges, Inside Higher Education
23:19
July 06, 2021
Summer Conversation Series: Dr. José A. de la Garza Valenzuela Appreciates the Value of Learning
Happy June! Nic and James continue the summer conversation series with special guest, Dr. José A. de la Garza Valenzuela, Assistant Professor of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The enlightening conversation begins with Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela’s early intellectual curiosities via his love of books, moves into navigating the current academic job market, and then rounds out with a beautiful meditation on building sustainable learning communities among peers. Truly, you want to hear Dr. de la Garza Valenzuela’s insights and advice! We want to hear from you, dear listener. Contact us at lotjpod@gmail.com  What We’re Reading: Marcos Gonsalez, Pedro’s Theory: Reimagining the Promised Land Mia McKenzie, Skye Falling
01:03:20
June 21, 2021
Summer Conversation Series: Dr. Ariel Rawson Appreciates the Value of Time
Happy Summer! Well, at least in academia. As promised, we're switching things up a bit this summer to bring you some really great conversations with some of the people who have been important parts of our intellectual journey. Bravely up first, Dr. Ariel Rawson has some thoughts about the end of grad school, the importance of finding an intellectual community, and the difficulties of producing knowledge with high political stakes. It's a really great conversation for any and all, but particularly if you're interested in thinking through the human costs of intellectual labor and the value of heartfelt mentorship. Special shouts out to all the great mentors out there. You truly are doing the Lord's work! What We're Reading: Visual Aids, Duets: Frederick Weston & Samuel R. Delany in Conversation John O. Morisano and Mashama Bailey, Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant
59:01
June 07, 2021
Lesson #19: Sometimes Silence is SO LOUD
In this week’s episode, Nic reflects on and enjoys the blank spaces in his calendar and James makes the final push to the end of the semester before the summer break. The duo check-in about the role of Learning on the Job within the ever-expansive ecosystem of higher education. We get a little “meta” but we promise we’re not like the other podcasts. We’re a ~cool~ podcast. Shout out to all the minoritized faculty making magic! The theme is silence. Are you silent? Or – *in best Oprah voice* – are you being SILENCEDT? The recent moves around D.I.E. work (see Lesson #16) within higher education are becoming institutionalized in ways that leave both Nic and James skeptical. We’ll see where this journey leads… James continues the uncomfortable conversation around silence, its material effects on the tenure track, and how a current and new role he’s undertaking raises concerns around what’s not said. Finally, Nic and James try to make sense of the absurdity and disrespect of the decision to not grant tenure to a Pulitzer Prize-winning, MacArthur Genius Grant having, New York Times 1619 Project founding, and all-around GOAT Nikole Hannah-Jones. They may try to silence us, but we’ve got something to say. WHEW! We want to hear from you, dear listener. Contact us at lotjpod@gmail.com Further Reading: Colleen Flaherty, The DEI Pathway to Promotion, Inside Higher Education Asheesh Kapur Siddique, Campus Cancel Culture Freakouts Obscure the Power of University Boards, Teen Vogue Rebecca Onion, The Real Reason UNC–Chapel Hill Is Withholding Tenure From Nikole Hannah-Jones, Slate What We’re Reading: Miha Jeffra, The Violence Almanac
01:16:14
May 24, 2021
Lesson #18: There is No Industry that is Without Mess
tw/ Mess and Messiness This week James and Nic have a few challenging conversations and revisit some ghosts of grad school past. And girl, it gets a bit messy. Hopefully messy in a productive way, but time will have to tell on that one. We think about the politics of self-promotion, the importance of being mindful of those around (and more importantly below) you, and why it always feels so weird to air dirty laundry, even though we know everybody's got some. From there we take some time to think through the continued (increasing?) bad faith attacks on higher education from politicians and what it means for those of us trying to do the work while we revisit the moral imperative to rethink student loan debt/college affordability. Also did you know that you used to be able to get tenured at **institution redacted** with ONE DAMN ARTICLE! The nerve of this place.  Also SHOUT OUT to the newly minted Doctors in your life, and to the special one in ours, Dr. Ariel Rawson!  Last thing, send us an email sometime: lotjpod@gmail.com We'd love your book recommendations, but honestly it's also just cool to hear what you think!  Further Reading: Koritha Mitchell, I'm a Black Woman Who's Met All the Standards for Promotion. I'm Not Waiting to Reward Myself, Time Magazine James Dawson, Idaho Governor Signs Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Schools, NPR Nell Gluckman, Idaho Lawmakers Think Critical Race Theory Can 'Exacerbate and Inflame Divisions. So They Passed a Law Against It, Chronicle of Higher Ed Orin Kerr, Justice Breyer Getting Tenure with One Article at Harvard Law, Twitter Katherine Mangan, Biden's Plan Would Make Community College Free. It Could Also Have Unintended Downsides, Chronicle of Higher Ed CBS New York, So Long Snow Days John Ellis, Sorry Professor, We're Cutting You Off, Wall Street Journal Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho  What We're Reading:  Andrew J. Jolivétte, Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community Kathy Wang, Imposter Syndrome Special Shoutout: Andreá N. William, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction
01:02:08
May 10, 2021
Lesson #17: Focus on the Process, Not the Product; Or, Write, Baby Girl, Write!
This week, James and Nic collectively sigh at the exhaustion of the moment but don’t dwell there too long. Everything these days feels so heavy. This is especially true and felt among the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities who are doing their selfless acts of getting vaccinated all the while being blamed for basically everything. Check out how the Najavo Nation could be the first on the continent to achieve herd immunity! Remember, friends, there are also moments of joy in the every day even as the first full academic year of the pandemic comes to a close! As an attempt to de-mystify the writing process while on the tenure-track, James asks Nic to get vulnerable and share developments with recent projects. Nic offers some personal insights about the early stages of writing an academic book, tips for building a community of writers, and dealing with perfectionism. There are so many moving parts – whew! – but we’ve got this. Further Reading & Shameless Plugs: CBS News, Why Navajo Nation could be the first in the U.S. to achieve herd immunity Spieldenner, Andrew & Nic Flores. “Sweet Nothings: A Journey of (Gay) Sex without Condoms” In Communicating Intimate Health Michelle Rivera-Clonch & Nic Flores, Writing in Depth at Hope Springs Institute What We’re Reading: João Florêncio, Bareback Porn, Porous Masculinities, Queer Futures: The Ethics of Becoming-Pig Robert Jones, The Prophets
01:09:12
April 26, 2021
Lesson #16: We Should Just Call It D.I.E. Work
Whose idea was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, anyway? This week, we're heading into the weeds of Spring semester, with thoughts about grading, conferencing, the "lost year" of COVID times and more. We spend perhaps a bit too much time on the innovations of TikTok as an archive of student feeling, and then get appropriately incensed by academia's continued disrespect for scholars of color (your turn up, UVA). Along the way we maybe coin a new phrase (obviously you're welcome to use it) and continue to come up with really good reasons for spreading the joy/labor of diversity work around a bit. Sometimes this place is exhausting.  Also somehow this keeps being a part of the conversation we have before the show and it never quite makes it to the air, but in the spirit of the necessity/value in preaching to the choir, here are some readings we've found helpful in terms of making sense of the current anti-Asian environment. Added bonus, James can confirm they're very teachable in your composition-type settings: Cathy Park Hong, "The Slur I Never Expected to Hear in 2020" John Cho, "Coronavirus Reminds Asian Americans Like Me That Our Belonging is Conditional" Further Reading: "UVA Reverses Tenure Denial", Inside Higher Ed "Two Black Scholars Say UVA Denied Them Tenure after Belittling Their Work", Inside Higher Ed On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life, Sara Ahmed What We're Reading: Kaitlyn Greenridge, Libertine Francisco J. Galarte, Brown Trans Figurations: Rethinking Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Chicanx/Latinx Studies
01:05:49
April 12, 2021
Lesson #15: “Pro-me is not anti-you”; Or, It’s Okay to Stan Yourself
This week, Nic and James discuss the impending conference season (don’t go to hotel rooms with strangers), email etiquette (double check recipients), making the world a more accessible place, and “cancel culture” (do better former Dean Bilek). They also discuss what it means for QPOC to advocate on behalf of themselves, but also the necessity for doing so in today’s otherwise violent and ridiculous world hell bent on silencing us. Nic and James round out the conversation with some stellar book recommendations and some general food for thought. Remember to thank a librarian this week! Further reading: “Why Did the Dean of the Most Diverse Law School in the Country Cancel Herself?” What we’re reading: Dawnie Walton, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev Roderick Ferguson, One-Dimensional Queer
01:16:08
March 29, 2021
Lesson #14: The First Dose is the Deepest
This week, one of us is halfway vaccinated! Guess which!  We've got an alarming amount of thoughts about the politics of care in the pandemic, the vaccine as "endpoint", what to make of the current state of the job market, how much TikTok counts as a work skill, and a ton of other things. We get into the state of graduate school at this moment in the history of higher ed. le sigh. There are some stellar book recs for your dark days and Nic has some genuinely eye opening insights about care, the pandemic, and limits of knowledge in the moment. A lesser podcast would tell you to rate and subscribe at this point. Further reading: "The Shrinking of the Scholarly Ranks", Chronicle of Higher Education "Women Dressed as 'Grannies' To Get COVID-19 Vaccine", ABC News Florida (natch) "A New Term, Same Enrollment Losses", Chronicle of Higher Education What we're reading: Soraya Murray, On Video Games: The Visual Politics of Race, Gender, and Space Trevor Hoppe, Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness
01:07:39
March 15, 2021
Lesson #13: Pick the Hills You Die On Wisely
This week, Nic and James celebrate being COVID-19 free but have plenty of thoughts about the state of the country, higher ed, and the hills some people are willing to (figuratively) die on. So much happens so quickly! The two traverse through the rocky terrain of getting tenured at an “elite” institution (that and the audacity of other institutions to not pay their employees a single dime for their labor). Truly, we’re living through some bizarre times. Nic and James cleanse the palette with amazing book recommendations and gesture at a better future to end their conversation. Further Reading Harvard wouldn't consider Cornell West for tenure -- and he's threatening to leave, report, Raw Story Harvard's tenure decision exposes the battle for legitimizing ethnic studies, Vox Lorgia García Peña in her Own Words Visiting Scholar in WGSS JOB?!?!, Chronicle of Higher Education Fast Facts: Race and Ethnicity Among College Faculty Stats, National Center for Education Statistics
01:10:16
March 01, 2021
Lesson #12: Take The Time!
This week brings the joy of new things and a refreshingly bright perspective on the state of the world and higher education. JK! We have thoughts about the University of Kansas and the purpose of a college in society. And so many other things, like the ethics of Lady G and how to understand the white ga(ys)ze ruining Mexico. What this one lacks in structure, it more than makes up for in spicy takes. But don't just take our word for it, check out these positively tantalizing show notes. Book recs and ways to unwind at the end if you stick around.  And hey, if you're in the New York City-area and looking for a job, have we got an opportunity for you: http://clags.org/wp-content/uploads/Programming-and-Events-Coordinator-Job-Description-2_09_2021.pdf Further reading: The Fight for the University of Kansas, Chronicle of Higher Ed GaysOverCovid instagram Conservatives Call Jen Psaki's "Lady G" Tweet "Homophobic", Is It?, The Advocate 'Cinderella' starring Brandy is finally streaming - here's how to watch it, USA Today
01:04:54
February 16, 2021
Lesson #11: The Dead Don’t Rest, So Make That Zoom Recording Count
Y’all heard about Game Stop and stocks and trading, right? Well, for this week’s episode, Nic and James dive into the messy worlds of political economy, the dead, and the new semester’s possibilities. And, when we say “messy,” we mean “messy messy.” The duo talk through the limitations of financial institutions under the current iteration of capitalism, as well as the gatekeeping at institutions of higher education. They’re similar. Yet, different. Ultimately, both sectors make promises they can’t keep and keep poor people poor. *deep, deep sigh* Also, WATER! James and Nic end with some notes on their current reading lists and offer up some advice for how to effectively approach the semester. Further Reading: How a Dead Professor is Teaching a University Art History Class, Slate California Water Futures Begin Trading Amid Fear of Scarcity, Bloomberg Hedge Fund Melvin Sustains 53% Loss After Reddit Onslaught, Financial Times
52:41
February 01, 2021
Lesson #2: Time Truly Is a Flat Circle
How to even explain this one? How about this: Joe Biden has been President for five days and already he's uncovered a lost episode of this show from back in September. Thanks, Obama! And it is surely Robinette(!)'s fault that this episode (originally the second recorded, back in September) went mysteriously missing until JUST THIS WEEKEND. Yeah right, Joe. Stop the Steal! There are some decidedly spicy takes about the start of the fall, the limitations of online learning in an uneven economy, and if you can believe it we had even less of a sense of what we were doing back then, Oh to be young again. But we're treating this as an important lesson in how it's never too late, the time is always right to do right, and it really pays to double-check your inbox when you're looking for important files. All valuable lessons, learned.
01:00:39
January 25, 2021
Lesson #10: Sedition is STILL A CRIME
...even if Q told you to do it. Even if all your friends online are doing it. Even if that guy from Celebrity Apprentice thinks it might be cute. It's not, and you definitely should not be involved.  This week we have thoughts about the new year, the new semester, and honestly mostly just the coup. How do we reconcile meaningful calls to #DEFUNDTHEPOLICE while simultaneously deriving unmitigated joy from watching white terrorists discover they're on the No-Fly List? Can this circle be squared or nah? And is it healthy to spend as much time thinking about Parler as James has? Plus some thoughts about what it feels like on the other side of the job market (Nic has the power!), the moral imperative to revisit the student loan debt conversation, and why the price of books, much like the rent, is TOO DAMN HIGH. Yes, we do recommend some readings, but honestly we mostly just recommend staying off the internet for a bit. Except for this show, obviously. It's a safe space. Further reading: "Forgiving Student Debt by Executive Action is Ilegal, Trump Lawyer Says", Wall Street Journal
01:04:19
January 18, 2021
Lesson #9: Learning in the Unknown
This week, James and Nic discuss the complications of moving into the new calendar year as the world remains ablaze in its own undoing. The conversation is not all fire and brimstone, however. We share our thoughts on the upcoming Spring 2021 semester, devising plans to deal with all the mixed messages from the University, and offer commentary on how the various gatekeeping mechanisms inhibit rather than enable the pursuit of equitable education (it costs so much money to do anything!). James and Nic round out the conversation with their thoughts and cruelly optimistic attitudes toward the new year.  2021 is here and we’re queer, my dear!
01:05:34
January 04, 2021
Lesson #8: The End Has No End
In this episode, we prepare for the end of the semester while bemoaning the state of the nation. In case you needed more reasons to be concerned about the state of higher ed, we've got thoughts on the Felber situation (do better, Mississippi) and the stunning disrespect Jill Biden ('s team of staff) was subjected to by some nobody from nowhere. Thoughts on the white ga(ys)ze and the holidays. And a bit of retrospection about what queer survival looked like in 2020. Momma we made it! For more on the Felber case, check out the Chronicle article: https://www.chronicle.com/article/his-university-celebrated-his-success-then-it-fired-him And instead of more on that asshole who disrespected Jill Biden, maybe just read some Morgan Parker: https://www.theparisreview.org/poetry/7094/the-high-priestess-of-souls-sunday-morning-visit-to-the-wall-of-respect-morgan-parker
55:56
December 21, 2020
Lesson #7: If At First You Don't Succeed...
Something about effort, who knows. Anyway this one is something of a soft-reboot, or not at all depending on your feelings re: time as a flat circle. We think through the demands of academic labor, the curious politics of personal responsibility in the pandemic, and how educators (present company excluded) should maybe get a bit of a break "during these unprecedented times". It's a lot, but in a good way. Also there's some book recs if you stick around to the end.
01:12:22
December 07, 2020
Lesson #6: Sometimes Irony is Perverse
In exciting news that will mean nothing to anyone, we broke the even number lesson curse! Also other things happened. A really thoughtful conversation about labor, exploitation, and irony occurs, bookended by more musings on the election, the state of the nation, and what forward looks like from here. Also we have to write, like a lot. It's all very much.
01:13:25
December 04, 2020
Lesson #5: Listen to Black Women
Happy Stacy Abrams Day!! This one was recorded the Friday after election day and we did some celebrating. Some might say it was a bit premature at that point, but those people hate joy and should be ignored. Thoughts about teaching in an election/pandemic and the ethics of doing better. Reading suggestions you know you want. What's not to love?
40:28
December 04, 2020
Lesson #3: The Time is Always Right to Do Right
In their third episode, James and Nic speak to the bizareness of living through and working in a pandemic world. They reflect on the University’s response to expectations about teaching and faculty life amidst COVID-19. Nic and James come to a point of acceptance about how much learning is equally (and more importantly) about un-learning.
56:22
December 04, 2020
Lesson #1: It's Okay Not to Know
Welcome to the Show! We figure out how to podcast, talk about transitioning to a new job, and make something like a plan for the next year. What a place to start!
54:54
December 04, 2020