Monday, December 11, 2006

Faculty "Honor," Puffery & Silence

KC Johnson's post today begins:

In the months since Houston Baker departed Durham for Vanderbilt, a race to the bottom has occurred among the Duke faculty to determine which ideologue can behave in the most irresponsible manner. Three finalists for this dubious honor:

• Peter Wood, who has gone out of his way to appear to slander his own students;

• Karla Holloway, who has proclaimed that “white innocence means black guilt,” while boasting she would sign the Group of 88’s statement again “in a heartbeat”;

• Wahneema Lubiano, who coordinated the Group of 88’s statement.
All three are worthy of the dubious honor but KC goes on to spotlight Lubiano’s very thin scholarly record, her questionable claims about certain of her professional accomplishments, and numerous other actions which suggest she among all Duke's faculty has acted “in the most irresponsible manner.”

KC’s post is detailed, scholarly, and stinging. Duke’s trustees, administrators and responsible faculty ought to be asking themselves very serious questions about how and why someone like Lubiano was given a position on the A&S faculty and awarded tenure.

Regardless of whether they’ll question Duke’s faculty hiring process, it appears KC will. He ends his post with:
Tomorrow: Through what kind of process do professors like Lubiano get hired?
I’m looking forward to reading it at KC’s Durham-in-Wonderland.

I’ve sent links to KC’s post to trustee board chairman Robert Steel and president Richard Brodhead. I hope you will find ways to let them and others at Duke know most people who care about Duke are very concerned by what we’ve been learning about many A&S faculty.

La Shawn Barber has put together a wonderful post whose title tells us what its about: "Duke’s Privileged Puffed Up Professors."

La Shawn starts off:
Here’s some common sense advice for everyone: Never puff up your academic and professional credentials. All it takes is one smart and motivated person to do a little digging and expose you to ridicule.
When Lubiano put her CV together and in other places told people about her professional accomplishments, why didn’t she think herself of the “common sense advice” La Shawn offers? That’s another question those responsible for faculty hiring at Duke should be asking

La Shawn observes:
Johnson examines Lubiano’s essays and teaching, highlighting such inane rhetoric as “once white working class people learn that corporate capitalism is using racism to manipulate them, they will want to join with racially oppressed people against capitalism.” The irony is lost on a tenured professor with a cushy job supplied by a capitalist system she accuses of being racist.
You can read the rest of La Shawn’s post here.

Thankfully, most A&S faculty are not like Lubiano and some others. And they're not puffed up either. But, with a few honorable exceptions, they sure are silent.

They need to get their voices back.


Anonymous said...

thanks for keeping the limelight on these idiots. without blogs, their ways would go nearly unchecked. the print media is a disgrace. don't know how tv news is in Raleigh durham; keep giving 'em hell....

Anonymous said...

If you want something truly enlightening, look up Bob Steel's background. As a former classmate of his, I can attest to the consistency of his behavior: lots of talk for a man in a hurry. He reminds me of the old adage: measure twice, cut once. I don’t think that he or any one else bothered to measure at all before bringing in this group of limped-spined loopy left. The problem is that they are far from harmless.