Academic shame culture?

A colleague in the American Academy of Religion passed along a blog post titled “Surviving (and Thriving) in the Academic Shame Culture.” The link is here and in the sidebar:

For those who need a refresher, social scientists distinguish between guilt (feeling bad about something you did) and shame (feeling inadequate in front of others). There’s also a distinction between success-failure culture (for example, ours) and honor-shame culture (traditional China, most Arab societies, etc.) (Fun fact on religion: the historical context of the Bible is almost entirely honor-shame culture, not success-failure culture. Does that clarify anything for you?)

Anyway, there is apparently a good deal of discussion out there about a culture of shame in academia. What’s your take on this? Have you experienced subtle or overt shaming in graduate school or faculty meetings? Have your professors or senior colleagues used shame as a motivating force? Are we expected to feel shame for not  being on the tenure track? Is academia really exceptional – that is, does just as much shaming go on in business or law, for example? Let us know what you think.

Conference program on independent scholars

The National Coalition of Independent Scholars is planning two panel sessions at the 2015 meeting of the American Historical Association.

One is a roundtable: “Practicing History Independently: From Surviving to Thriving.” The roundtable will raise the question of legitimacy for independent scholars, addressing such topics as: “By what means can unaffiliated or marginally affiliated scholars seek equivalent career status with the familiar academic ranks? How can professional organizations … help in building this recognition, which can in turn lead to more equitable treatment within said organizations? How can independent scholars seeking to return to traditional employment ‘keep current’ and otherwise help themselves?”

The other is a panel on “Independent Scholars and Independent Scholarship in History.” This session “explores and highlights the role of independent scholars in ages prior to when professional intellectual and scholarly activity became the almost exclusive province of universities.”

Well, I would change “prior to when” to “before” (Strunk and White live!), but apart from that, I’m glad to see these issues being presented for wider discussion.