Category Archives: Master Metaphors

Citizen Metaphors: Dead Wood

Let’s say you get tenure after all the stress and agony of the review.  What then?  Party down, take a holiday, reward yourself, bestow thanks and blessings upon your significant others.  Then take a deep breath and gaze out upon … Continue reading

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Tenure and the Profession at Large

How does tenure look from the viewpoint of the profession as a whole?  Some common features extend across disciplines, departments, and institutions.  Because merit is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for approval, the tenured ranks resemble a guild … Continue reading

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Master Metaphors: A Newly-Minted Ph.D.

  With this entry we begin a series of occasional posts on the organizing fictions of academic life.  Today let’s take a look at the connotations of “newly-minted Ph.D.” In ancient times precious metals were originally valued by weight.  Adulterated … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Concepts, Graduate School, Institution, Master Metaphors, Person, Profession, Warrior Phase | 1 Comment

The Warrior Phase

My best race at the national championships, during the 1980s, and in the 1984 Olympic trials, was the fifty kilometer marathon. At the time I was training six hundred hours a year. To use John’s words, these were indeed years … Continue reading

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Rethinking Success 2

Emily Dickinson famously wrote that “success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.”  But what about those who do?  No doubt victory is sweet, as is revenge, but only for a time, and not such a long time at … Continue reading

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Rethinking Failure 3

The vividness and pungency of the images we apply to failure show how much it preoccupies us subconsciously.  Not so with success, which preoccupies us during the daylight hours.  School teaches and preaches success while keeping failure in the dark: … Continue reading

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Rethinking Failure 2

When I was an undergraduate at Dartmouth back in the mythical 1960’s, people were always looking over their shoulders.  The school had a rugged outdoorsman mentality (it was all-male in those days), which compensated rather actively for the intense class … Continue reading

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Rethinking Failure

Ever since grad school I’ve been intrigued by the idea of failure, which sat like an incubus on everybody’s mind.  It was feared but never openly discussed.  At Yale they talked only of success, for which we supposedly were being … Continue reading

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