Things that surprised me about academia:— John B. Holbein (@JohnHolbein1) February 8, 2019
▪️flavor of the week nature of topics/methods
▪️obsession with “framing”
▪️how tired you can get of a project
▪how excited you can get for a project
▪ the # of super smart people who are also super generous
What about you?
What has surprised me, looking back?
- How strong confirmation bias is a guide. Since I started, I kept hearing that women and minorities were favored, getting all of the jobs. As a white male, I found this both threatening and puzzling. Threatening for the obvious reason that I might remain unemployed or employed where I don't want to live/work. Puzzling because of the stats--that women are 30% or so of IR and that minorities have not made major gains over the years--this view of hiring simply ain't true and yet it persists.
- How the profession would change to become so dependent on adjuncts/sessions/temp faculty and the decline of tenure track positions.
- How little reading of books I do.
- How much reading of graduate student drafts I do.
- How generous folks are with their time--interview subjects in and out of government, friends and acquaintances looking at drafts, etc.
- How the division between profs and staff can be in status and such can be so wide, and how few folks reach across it.
- How much grant-writing there is and how important it is to universities, even for us social scientists.
- Where my curiosity has taken me--from thinking about arms races when I applied to grad school to maybe something about civil-military dynamics to the international relations of ethnic conflict to the domestic sources of ethnic conflict to alliances to comparative civil-military relations.
- That I didn't manage to dodge principal-agent theory forever.
- How much travel I do these days.