Perspectives on Gender and Knowledge Production in America
Edited by Ann Mari May
Chapter 8: The Faculty Time Divide
1 Jerry A. Jacobs Many of my friends and acquaintances in academia ﬁnd it diﬃcult to keep their working lives under control. Aquatic references seem most common, as in ‘I am swamped at the moment’; ‘I am under water’; and the ever popular ‘I am drowning (in papers, exams, proposals, committee work . . .).’ One of my friends says he will get back to me when he has a chance to come up for air. He is quite an athlete and I suppose he can hold his breath for quite some time, but I do begin to worry if I don’t hear from him for a few weeks. Others prefer more arid metaphors, as in ‘I am buried in papers’ but the wet metaphors seem to dominate the dry, perhaps because time like water is not easy to contain. Most view their own situations as the result of bad choices they make as individuals. We are so busy simply because we have taken on too many projects, presentations, committee assignments, new courses to teach, and countless other commitments. But we need to remember C. Wright Mills’s (1959) dictum that what appear from the individual’s point of view as personal troubles may from a sociological point of view represent a public issue. In short, I hope to persuade you that our chaotic and overloaded schedules reﬂect not only our own personal choices but also reﬂect broader patterns of life in academia and indeed in American society more generally. These...
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