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Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art

Ambika Kamath

When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continueĀ inĀ academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits or dress shirts, and such a life appealed to me. I hadĀ seen academics of all stripes dress in all sorts of ways, and I naively believed that this signalled something very progressive about academiaā€™s stance towards appearance: wear what you want, because youā€™ll be evaluated based upon your ideas and work, not how you choose to present yourself.

But a recent article in a column calledĀ Ask Alice (published on the website of Science, one of the most high profile scientific journals out there) confirms my naivete. In this piece, an anonymous academic who finds themselves in a ā€œconservative placeā€ for their postdoc,Ā asks Dr. Alice Huang, ā€œAm I crazyā€¦

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Why I Dropped Everything And Started Teaching Kendrick Lamar’s New Album

Brian Mooney

When Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), I was in the middle of teaching a unit on Toni Morrisonā€™s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). My freshmen students were grappling with some big ideas and some really complex language. Framing the unit as an ā€œAnti-Oppressionā€ study, we took special efforts to define and explore the kinds of institutional and internalized racism that manifest in the lives of Morrisonā€™s African-American characters, particularly the 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove and her mother, Pauline. We posedĀ questions about oppression and the media ā€“ and after looking at the Dick & Jane primers that serve as precursors to each chapter, considered the influence of a ā€œmaster narrativeā€ that always privilegesĀ whiteness.

Set in the 1940s, the Breedlove family lives in poverty. Their only escape is the silver screen, a place where they idolize the glamorous stars of theĀ film industry.Ā Given the historical contextā€¦

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