Three cheers for the Ronin Institute, which describes itself as a “community of independent scholars.” According to a May 27 article in the Boston Globe, it’s named for the samurai who broke with the code of feudal Japan by refusing to kill themselves when their masters died. Scholars who don’t land a tenure-track position are “supposed to commit professional suicide,” says founder Jon F. Wilkins. The Institute offers an alternative, a place “to invent new ways to fund, support, and connect scholars who are doing their research outside of the traditional setting of the university.”
What’s especially striking is its focus on our “untapped brainpower.” The Ronin Institute isn’t about job-hunting or about challenging the adjunct system – although the organizations that take on those problems are necessary and commendable. Instead, it’s about the work that we’re already doing; about using our gifts, creativity, and above all, our extensive intellectual training, for the larger good. Three cheers.
(See the blogroll for a link to the Institute’s website.)