May 31, 2008

thick skull, thin skin

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, a story of the wannabe professor from Critical Theory Hell:
Or there was the famous professor’s advisee whose dossier I loved: superb letters, fine scholarship, excellent teaching experience for a doctoral student. We asked her how she might approach indifferent students. “Oh, they wouldn’t be indifferent to Marxist-feminist-postmodernism,” she said confidently, and was off: “We’d start the African-American history course by establishing that gender makes race.”

“Excuse me,” my colleague interrupted, “I don’t understand what you just said.”

She babbled on happily in code for a while.
Ryan writes, "She didn't get the job for obvious reasons."

Or did she?
Priya Venkatesan taught English at Dartmouth College. She maintains that some of her students were so unreceptive of "French narrative theory" that it amounted to a hostile working environment. She is also readying lawsuits against her superiors, who she says papered over the harassment, as well as a confessional exposé, which she promises will "name names."
[via Ed Brayton]


TeacherRefPoet said...

If unreceptive students are harassers who can be sued, I'll be able to retire as soon as the judge brings down the gavel on my suit.

(This is Exhibit #55 why I will never get a doctorate, by the way.)

Forrest said...

I have a bunch of friends who had Priya for their intro writing classes. I guess she was so-so fall term, but then she had some sort of major break-down for winter/spring. The scariest story from the class that I heard was relayed in her own words with an interview with one of the campus newspapers.

(Tom Cormen is the head of the writing department, TDR is the Dartmouth Review, and PV is Pryia)

PV: One time Tom Cormen was sitting in the class, and she[a student] asked me, how many T’s are in Gattaca. This was the kind of question she was asking, “how many T’s are in Gattaca?,” and I was about to answer her and Tom Cormen pre-empted me, “two t’s.” I’ll leave you to interpret it.

TDR: No. No, I don’t understand that.

PV: I have to tell you: it means tenure track.

TDR: Oh, okay.

PV: Because I wasn’t tenured track.

TDR: Oh, okay, yes.

PV: They were trying to intimate that I wasn’t ready for tenure track.

Luckily for the students, the college's lawyers don't believe she has any grounds for a lawsuit.
Sure is exciting though!