Slow Academia? — 1 Comment

  1. Weird as it may sound, there has been a significant acceleration in the pace of academic life. Of course, laziness remains the number one vice among (arts?) professors, so it is a bit absurd to encourage them to slow down further. Nevertheless, among those who have some remaining ambition, the amount you have to work in order to be successful has increased. Many people misleadingly blame this on “corporatization” of the academy. I had a little debate with a former postdoc of mine, who wrote an article on the topic.

    Most of it is just competitive ratcheting up. Take a look, for instance, at this publication list. People say I’m bad! Not to pick on Mark or anything, but check out the dates, and notice that those publications were all produced in the past decade. I think the natural reaction of any philosopher looking through that list is to say “wow, I need to work a lot harder…”

    In any case, I can certainly remember (long ago) taking a whole afternoon to go look up some quote in a journal in the library, which seems like just an inconceivable waste of time to me now. And I can certainly remember a time when I didn’t have to deal with student email, so once office hours were over, I was done with them. And then of course there are the older guys, who used to actually go the faculty club for lunch, instead of eating takeout in front of their computer like everyone does now. But these changes are ones that have affected everyone, and academics to a lesser degree, because we can still make up arbitrary rules and impose them on our students (such as rules on responding to email).