Where the girls are: not so much in the Arts and Humanities as other fields!

Women earned the majority of Ph.D.s in the U.S. for the first time in 2008-09, according to an analysis by the Council of Graduate Schools–50.4 percent to 49.6 percent of men.  Of course, sex parity is only the case in a few subfields–women are dramatically underrepresented in Physical and Earth Sciences, Math and Computer Science, Engineering, and Business, and are overrepresented in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Public Administration, Health Sciences, and Education.

Interestingly, the two subfields that are very close to equal in terms of women and men Ph.D.s are the Biological and Agricultural Sciences and the Arts and Humanities, at 51 percent and 53 percent respectively.  (For all of the numbers, see the table below.) 

Percentage of Women Among New Doctoral Recipients, by Field, 2008-9

Field Female Graduates
Social and behavioral sciences 60%
Public administration and services 61%
Physical and earth sciences 33%
Math and computer science 27%
Health sciences 70%
Engineering 22%
Education 67%
Business 39%
Biological and agricultural sciences 51%
Arts and humanities 53%

Yet, the first commenter on Inside Higher Ed‘s article, someone who identifies himself as an adjunct in English, ignores the evidence and announces that “I am a man working in the humanities and the pay is abysmal. While it MUST get better, university admins, I am sure, fall asleep at night wondering how to make it worse. Women paradoxically both demand less money and yet work harder than men do. Given the economic conditions at universities, is it any wonder they’re more successful?”

I count at least six falsehoods or assumptions in those four sentences. Continue reading

Late summer treats

I’ve been cooking a lot lately–mostly because we belong to a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) that delivers us a giant box of fresh veggies every week, and we have to either eat them or decide how to preserve them for eating later.  Here are a few treats I’ve formulated to help us deal with the bounty of late summer produce out here on the high plains.

First, inspired by a cocktail I had a few weeks ago on my birthday night out, I’ve figured out how to make cucumber and mint-infused gin and tonics.  (The photo at right really doesn’t do the drink justice–in real life, the drink has a kind of absinthe-greeny glow.)  Here’s the recipe for one–double, triple, or quadruple as you wish:

Cucumber and mint-infused gin and tonic

  • 5 slices cucumber
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 shot gin
  • tonic water

Muddle the cucumber, mint, lime wedge, and sugar in a cocktail strainer or large glass.  Really mash it all up to extract the cucumber and lime juices and mint oils.  Add a shot of gin and stir to combine.  Strain mixture into a highball glass with a few ice cubes in it, and fill with tonic.  Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint, and serve.  Cheers!  Continue reading

The net effect of the "high cost of higher ed" argument

This is the first of the 2010-2011 academic year’s series, Excellence Without Money(a term coined by the b!tchez at Roxie’s World in their series on the high cost of not funding higher education.)  For the full archives at both blogs, click away on those links, darlings.

I’ve been doing a little thinking about the effects of the arguments we’re seeing everywhere about the high cost of higher education.  Complaints about the cost of college, and the rate at which it’s increased in the past two decades, are always a major part of the argument in the slew of books published recently urging major reform of American universities.  Strangely enough, none of these books suggest that the federal and state governments should once again subsidize higher education at the rate it did during the Cold War, nor do they advocate ripping out computer labs and IT departments, which are the two biggest reasons college costs more than it used to.  (From 1986-90, my “laptop computer” was a $2.99 multi-subject notebook that I bought at the beginning of each semester.  If you started college before the mid-1990s, I’m betting that that was your “laptop,” too.) 

Instead, their arguments boil down once again to attacks on the faculty–especially tenured radicals who absurdly expect to be paid a living wage for their years of education, work, and expertise.  Oddly, all of these books have chosen to ignore how universities have slashed the costs of faculty labor by turning tenure-track and tenured jobs into positions held by adjuncts, who are paid as little as $3,000 per course and are at-will employees.  Distressingly, because of some recent resignations and regular faculty on leave, my department is this year an adjunct-majority department.  (But because it’s been years since regular faculty produced more student credit hours than our adjuncts, so perhaps this is less of a milestone than I suggested in the previous sentence.  For several years, it’s my understaning that two popular lecturers in my department produced fully half of the entire department’s FTEs.)

The problem with these articles–aside from their one-sided arguments that somehow faculty are the big piggies at the trough, not the NFL and NBA farm clubs (a.k.a. the “football teams” and the “men’s basketball teams”), not CEO-level multimillion-dollar salaries for university presidents and football and basketball coaches, and not the luxury condominiums that now pass for stadiums and dormatories–is that they’re written by upper-middle class journalists and writers who all attended and sent–or aspire to send–their children to the top 5 or 10 percent of the most selective, and usually private, colleges and universities.  Now, if the only universities you’d consider sending your children to cost $30,000-$55,000 a year, your world is very different from the world the vast majority of Americans inhabit.  But these are the people who are driving this “debate” in the op-ed pages of the New York Times and your local newspaper.

Take look at Baa Ram U.’s fee schedule for the 2010-11 school year, where tuition and fees are still less than $7,000 a year.  At an average courseload of 10 3-credit classes per year, that’s less than $700 a class.  How strange that the low cost of higher education in universities like mine doesn’t drive the debate!  Continue reading

"Don't give them the keys back?"

What keys?  House keys?  Boat keys?  ALAN Keyes? 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Tim Kaine
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

(H/t to Profane for sending this on to me, and keeping me current with what I’m missing without cable teebee.)  What Einstein came up with that one?  “Yeah, yeah, ‘don’t give them the keys back.’  That’s the ticket–just slap that on a ‘Baby on Board’-type yellow sign thingie, and make it into a key ring, and we’ve won ourselves another election!” 

Tim Kaine is a totally overrated one-term former Governor of Virginia.  (One term’s all they can serve there–so that part’s not his fault.)  That this d00d was asked to be the DNC Chair is all you need to know about the leadership and direction of the Democratic Party, and about its likely electoral fate in November.  Continue reading


To paraphrase Sally Field when she won her Academy Award:  “They like me!  They really like me!”

I’ve been dying to tell you about this for more than 18 months now, but I’ve been waiting for the publication of Women’s America:  Refocusing the Past (7th edition) to announce that editors Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron DeHart, and Cornelia Hughes Dayton have included a substantial excerpt from chapter 4 of Abraham in Arms in this latest edition of their American women’s history reader. 

I’m especially pleased about this, not just because Women’s America is one of the top two women’s history readers*, and not just because I’m in the company of leaders in my field like Sara Evans, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mary Beth Norton, Jennifer Morgan, Carol Karlsen, Carol Berkin, Annette Gordon-Reed, Sharon Block, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, and Jeanne Boydston, not to mention Dayton and Kerber themselves.  I’m also especially thrilled because they picked a chapter about women that I was particularly proud of, and which has gone largely unremarked upon by my reviewers, most of whom have been military historians who are much more interested in my chapters on guys and guns.  (Go figure!  They have all reviewed the book favorably, for which I am truly grateful.)  I wrote what I thought was some pretty interesting women’s history too–and I’m so gratified to know that top scholars in my field like Kerber and Dayton find value in my work.

From the editors’ introduction to “Captivity and Conversion:  Daughters of New England in French Canada,” p. 103:

Ann Little’s essay introduces us to the geopolitics of the second half of the colonial period.  Protestant England and Catholic France, along with their independent-minded Indian allies, engaged in a succession of imperial wars involving North American territory from the late seventeenth century through the Seven Years’ War of 1756-63.  In 1700, English settlers far outnumbered the 15,000 French soldiers, missionaries, fur traders, and habitants(farmers) clustered chiefly in settlements along the St. Lawrence River.  However, the English occupied only a narrow sliver along the eastern seaboard, while the French claimed authority (and established mutually adventageous relations with native groups) from Louisiana to Canada along the Mississippi River and around the Great Lakes.  It was not at all clear if one European power (France, Spain, orEngland) could gain ascendancy over the continent as a whole.

The author takes us on a detective’s journey to recover the voices of and find out what happened to the children, teenagers, and grown women who were captured from New England towns and farms in wartime raids by Abenaki allies of the French.  Continue reading

Tuesday roundup: drunken a$$hats edition

Kiss my chap$, little boys!

Howdy, friends:  I was away for a long holiday weekend, but now I’m back in the saddle and ready to ride on out.  Lots of great news and views in the blogosphere–so I’ll let your fingers do the clicking while I catch up on my day job!

  • First, Tenured Radical has a great post up (and a great comments thread) about the “culture” of campus drinking and the curious blindness or acceptance we adults have for the very real personal and financial consequences.  We like to think it’s the under-25s, but it isn’t.  I can attest to that–this weekend in Denver it was the annual Rocky Mountain showdown between in-state rivals, the University of Colorado and Baa Ram U.  When we were out and about on Saturday night, it wasn’t just the under-25s making the 16th St. Mall Ride smell like a brewery.  There were plenty of middle-aged people literally stumbling around town in their Buffs or Rams jerseys.  (Sometimes even with their grade-school aged–or younger–kids!  No joke.  That kind of shocked me.)  Pathological drinking doesn’t come from nowhere–and I’ve heard that local hospitals go on Red Alert in many college towns during Parents’ Weekend–not because the student drinking is any worse, but because a lot of parents drink themselves into stupors that require hospitalization! 
  • But, at least the more dedicated and experienced drinkers among us know how to be reasonably discreet.  One thing I think that has changed about student drinking since I was in college is the sense of entitlement today’s students have not just to drink on campus or in their houses and dorms, but to behave as though the campus extends to wherever they happen to be, subjecting innocents to public drunkenness and really trashy behavior.  I had the unfortunate experience of swimming in a rooftop pool Saturday afternoon at what I thought was a pretty swank hotel, when I found myself in the middle of some a$$holes’ beer commercial fantasy:  Continue reading

The re-creationist view of history

Yeah, right!

What happens at the intersection of history, art, and commerce, when historical sites and/or historical re-creations are turned into tourist attractions?  Some folks on my blogroll have been writing thoughtfully on these questions. 

First, Flavia at Ferule and Fescue went to North America’s “Shakespeareapalooza” this summer (a.k.a. the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and writes about the curious flava of the festival:

[T]he best parts of the festival were the most amateurish, in the best sense of that word: though the actors were all professionals, there was a palpable sense that they and the audience (even the annoying lady with the dyed-red hair in the row behind us, who was loudly showing off her Shakespearian expertise before the show and during intermission) were there out of love for the plays, for Shakespeare, and for live theatre. And if you have to be a tourist in a tourist town, it’s pleasant for it to be one with three bookstores on the main drag, where you can saunter to a tasty post-show dinner at midnight, and where all the other tourists also have rolled-up programs popped beneath their arms.

But the less amateurish stuff was less agreeable. The mainstage production–the one in the fancy theatre, with the big-name star, and with lots of special effects–was dreadful.

And speaking of dreadful–some inept “social media” hack from the Stratford Festival “argued” in the comments with points she didn’t make, in a commentary on the festival that was overwhelmingly positive.  Whatever, d00dz!  Keep on practicing using those interwebs, will you?

Next, Chauncy DeVega at We Are Respectable Negroes wonders about the practice of sleeping in slave cabins:  is it “Honoring the African Holocaust and our Ancestors, or Trivializing their Memory?”  He writes, Continue reading