Our September meetup focused on the question of how to earn a living outside teaching. It was a good reminder that being an independent scholar isn’t identical with being an adjunct professor, although of course there is a lot of overlap. But many of us are pursuing scholarship while doing non-teaching work (librarians, test preparers and readers, editors) or unrelated “day jobs,” or while raising children. Some are pursuing new intellectual directions in retirement. Grant funding can be lifesaving, but of course it’s occasional. The issues are different for single people (who have no other source of income in the household) and for married or partnered people (who have responsibilities to other needs of the household).
The Ronin Institute talks about “fractional scholars,” people whose academic vocation is one part of a multidimensional life. What does this mean for one’s identity as a scholar?