October 20, 2006

Adjunct Closet Space in the Ivory Tower

For young eggheads around the country, it’s that time again. Time, that is to say, to put on your best suit and interview for academic jobs.

Yes, for sundry unemployed and unemployable academics (is there any other kind?), the coming months mark many disciplines’ professional conferences—the settings at which desperate, overeducated sods attempt to land scarce work. From what we can muster from our academic pals, it’s a frustrating period. Hey, if you just spent the last four years of your life working on “Otherness” as a metaphor in the work of Michel Foucault, you’d probably get a bit nervous when job time came around.

Now, many of our readers are non-academics. Or, if you prefer, productive members of society. For their benefit, we suppose, we figured that we’d offer a little taste of the delights the academic job market brings.

After all, we’re told that scrambling around for a professorial gig can prove infuriating. With 158,684,899 applicants for each opening, you stand about as much chance of landing a tenure-track position as the Arditti String Quartet has of winning the World Series. And, with their ‘cellist on the DL again, that’s not bloody likely.

That is unless, of course, you possess rare skills and talents crucial to being a coruscating success in the academic universe. By which, of course, we mean that you are black.

So, as a way to demonstrate the charming perfection that is the academic employment hunt, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” decided to present a typical professorial job advertisement. We think it’ll do the trick quite nicely.

Without any further ado, then, here’s our sample ad for an academic opening:

University of North Western Wisconsin at Oshkosha

Pending budgetary approval, the Department of English, Whaling, and Taxidermy at the University of North Western Wisconsin at Oshkosha (downtown campus) seeks to fill a part-time, one-year (non-tenure-track) position in the field of Postcolonial Literature, broadly defined.

The successful applicant will have: 1) an ability to teach English literature of all periods at all levels, from introductory courses to graduate seminars; 2) at least three years of taxidermy experience, with which s/he will oversee the university’s prestigious Foyt Center of Animal Husbandry and Taxidermy; 3) an ability to teach Urdu composition and Sanskrit to night-school classes; 4) at least five refereed publications in the field of whaling studies.

The teaching load is 5/4 (or, maybe, 6/5). The Department seeks a broadly trained scholar with an active research agenda, a wandering eye, and a scorching case of herpes. Pay: $17,450, no benefits.

The UNWO is a thriving academic institution in the historic, panoramic setting of downtown Oshkosha (population 2,402).

The UNWO maintains a firm commitment to equal opportunity employment. Accordingly, it particularly encourages applications from women and “underrepresented” minorities, so it can egregiously discriminate on the basis of gender and race.

Now, aren’t you glad you went to law school?

Posted at October 20, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack