Sunday roundup: unicorns, meritocracies, and humanities grants edition

Pure meritocracies, humanities grants, and unicorns!

I’m waaaaaayyyyyy behind on a number of projects whose deadlines are already in my rear-view mirror. I really shouldn’t blog at all, but I can’t resist letting you see what’s going on on the few blogs I’ve been able to check into this week. So here’s something for you all to click, read, and discuss while I’m away: 

  • First, Zuska reports on a recent conference session that featured some women SciBloggers talking about the “Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name.”  She writes, “[t]he discussion ranged over a lot of topics, and near the end, someone in the audience said ‘I don’t want to get a [job/fellowship/grant/whatever] because of affirmative action, I want to get it on my own merits.’ I said, why do you imagine that the dudes getting those jobs now all got them all on their own merits? . . . . Why do we imagine everyone else who gets stuff got there all by their lonesome with no assistance from anyone else? I don’t even know what the fuck it means to get somewhere all on your own merits. You can’t even learn to wipe your own ass all on your own merits.”  That is, if you bother to wipe at all, and just think of how many undeserving non-wipers are getting all of those jobs, fellowships, and grants instead of us, the overly-conscientious committed meritocrats?
  • Speaking of grants, in “Humanities People Like Money, Too!” Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar provides an example of worthwhile service to her university in volunteering for a Research Advisory Council to educate the Office of University Research on the facts of humanities grants and their relative scarcity and small dollar amounts that nevertheless are incredibly helpful to humanities scholars (especially those with 3-4 teaching loads, like her!)  Click and laugh away at her OUR’s suggestion that “If you got a Guggenheim, we’d support it. . . . so… What does ‘ACLS’ stand for?”  I’ve never gone through any university grants office when I’ve applied for research funds.  I guess my uni, which does a lot of research funded by the Homeland Security boondoggle (particularly around germ warfare) as well as NIH dough, long since decided that bothering with grants for $60,000 or smaller isn’t worth their time.
  • Jeremy Young reports that Tony Grafton is back with another column in Perspectives this month in which he cites in particular the discussions here and at Jeremy’s blog last month about his January American Historical Association’s President’s column.  (Sorry–Grafton’s column is behind a members-only firewall, but for those of you who are AHA members, here it is.)  Here’s a pretty cool idea:  Grafton writes that “[f]ormer [AHA] president Lynn Hunt pointed out, as did a number of correspondents, that we need to find ways to defend professional history and historians without simply being defensive. To that end, over the next year, I hope to visit a number of different institutions and describe how some of our colleagues are actually doing history, as scholars and teachers. One thing I’ve already learned from these collegial and helpful responses: just by telling the truth about what many of our colleagues do, we can kill off some of the zombie ideas and factoids that reappear endlessly in the polemics about universities.”  If you want to volunteer to host Grafton in your History department, let him know!
  • If you’re reading this, Tony Grafton, you could do worse than to visit our pal Jonathan Rees, a fellow Coloradoan and Professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo who blogs at More or Less Bunk and has strikingly sensible things to say about teaching, scholarship, and the historical profession at large.  See for example his outrageous claim that “People Running Universities Should Have Experience Running Universities.”  (What a contrarian!)  Everyone knows that education–especially higher education–is the one industry in which it’s a positive good to have zero prior experience before assuming a high-profile leadership position.

0 thoughts on “Sunday roundup: unicorns, meritocracies, and humanities grants edition

  1. Here’s the latest “Hot Funding Opportunity for you History and English Types” offering from our Office of Pre-Award and Post-Award Process, under “Humanities”:


    TITLE:Georgia Tuberculosis Prevention Project

    U.S. Agency for International Development, Georgia USAID-Tbilisi Office
    Notice seeking proposals that focus on the areas in which USAID’s funds will have the most
    impact for not only controlling but also reducing the number of TB cases in Georgia: provide
    training and increase awareness of general medical practitioners to recognize the symptoms of
    TB; provide technical training and monitoring of Direct Observation Treatment Strategy (DOTS)
    clinics across the country rather than focusing on several geographic areas; and provide
    physical rehabilitation of selected TB outpatient clinics nationwide. ACTION:
    Applications are due February 5, 2011. A total of $4.45 million is available to fund one
    cooperative agreement. Colleges and universities are eligible to apply.


    Whoops, the applications are (sic) due earlier this month. I guess we’ll have to recruit a time travel stakeholder to have a chance for this one…


  2. Another hot funding opportunity, just listed under the “Humanities” category by our grants office, for us smallholder-humanist practitioners who may be running up against tight tenure or promotion deadlines….

    Air Quality Technical Management Assistance for Indonesia
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Office of International and Tribal Affairs
    Notice seeking proposals to provide assistance in developing and implementing air quality management programs in Indonesia. The overall objective is to improve urban air quality
    management in Jakarta, Indonesia and engage in capacity building with air quality officials in
    the City of Jakarta as well as other key Indonesian stakeholders. Proposals for should focus on
    providing expert technical assistance, equipment, project management and logistics,
    coordination of key stakeholders, and development of workshops and training designed for
    Proposals are due by April 15, 2011. $250,000 a year is available for five years for one award.
    Colleges and universities are eligible to apply.
    Solicitation, notice;jsessionid=4GJQNkQGnpZT4hpHxGjNVkyb9QG1Lw
    Katherine Buckley, 202/564-6426. E-mail:

    May be tough to do this AND e-file with Turbotax on the same day, though…


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