New book from a Hidden Scholar

So I walked into Amherst Books the other day, and there on the front table was the latest from Emily Monosson, Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life, Gene by Gene. Emily is a toxicologist and an impressive example of what an independent scholar can be and do. This book explores the effects on natural selection of chemicals developed by human beings and used for human purposes.

Read more about the book here:

Emily Monosson is also the author of Evolution in a Toxic World: How Life Responds to Chemical Threats, and editor of Motherhood: The Elephant in the Laboratory.  And she developed the “Science Moms” blog (see blogroll to the right).

Independent scholars in the humanities

Just a couple of news items: Longtime independent scholar Ray Kibler is organizing a conversation at the upcoming meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, hoping to bring together independent scholars and those employed in the academy.

And the American Historical Association is conducting an extensive and thorough study of contingent faculty. “It is impossible to develop practical policy recommendations when we know so little about the influence of crucial variables in shaping this population,” notes of the committee responsible for the survey. Watch this space for further news.

More on adjuncts – which isn’t all of you

For those of you who teach as adjuncts, or have taught in that capacity, here are a couple of interesting items.

The UMass faculty union, the Massachusetts Society of Professors, is taking an interest these days in adjuncts who teach in the Division of Continuing and Professional Education. Read about it here:

And here is a story from an adjunct professor who used to be on the tenure track, tellingly titled “I Used to Be a Good Teacher.” What she says about teaching in a vacuum is especially astute. Check it out. Thanks to Elizabeth for this.

Online conference; in-person meetup

Hello, Hidden Scholars!

Here’s a notice from a colleague: Adjunct Action will be be hosting a conversation about women and adjunct teaching with Sarah Kendzior, writer with Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education, this Friday, August 29th, at 2pm EDT, in a Google Hangout space. You can find a link here:

(Disregard the date on the site – it’s postponed to August 29 from the 22nd.)

The topic – women and adjuncts – makes me wonder what the special issues for men might be. A discussion for another time, perhaps?

Adjunct Action, which is a union project, will also be hosting an “organizer boot camp” in September.

Meanwhile, it’s time for a meetup.

On Tuesday, September 9, 7-8:30 p.m., let’s return to The Roost in Northampton (corner of Bridge St. and Market St.). Table space can be a little tight, but they have everything: coffee, beer, food. Drop by any time.

Finally: we welcome comments and updates on your situations, needs, and ideas.

Best wishes for the new academic year, the job searches, the current and future projects, the general state of higher education, and the world of scholarship.

Tuesday twofer for independent scholars

Next Tuesday looks like a very rich day for independent scholarship in the Valley. At 4:30 in the afternoon, the director of the new Amherst College Press looks at the future of open-access digital scholarship. A reception follows.

And at 7 p.m., the Jones Library, also in Amherst, presents a public program on independent scholarship. Several of us will be participating, and I know that all of us can bring really valuable perspectives and contributions to this.

Hope to see you there.