The Elephant Roundup (June 2021)

Yelena Kalinsky's picture

Higher Ed

  • American Association of University Professors, “Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance,”
    • "This report details an investigation of the crisis in academic governance that has occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on eight institutions: Canisius College (NY), Illinois Wesleyan University, Keuka College (NY), Marian University (WI), Medaille College (NY), National University (CA), University of Akron, and Wittenberg University (OH). [...] The investigation on which this report is based, however, was prompted largely by opportunistic exploitations of catastrophic events. Some institutional leaders seem to have taken the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to turbocharge the corporate model that has been spreading in higher education over the past few decades, allowing them to close programs and lay off faculty members..."

  • Asheesh Kapur Siddique, “Campus Cancel Culture Freakouts Obscure the Power of University Boards,” Teen Vogue, May 19, 2021,

    • "Conservatives continually cite statistics suggesting that college professors lean to the left. But those who believe a university's ideological character can be discerned by surveying the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how universities work. Partisan political preferences have little to do with the production of academic knowledge or the day-to-day workings of the university..."

  • Caitlin O’Kane, “Nearly a dozen states want to ban critical race theory in schools,” CBS News, May 20, 2021,

    • "Earlier this month, Idaho Governor Brad Little became the first Republican governor to sign into law a bill that restricts educators from teaching a concept called critical race theory. And more could follow: Nearly a dozen states have introduced similar Republican-backed bills that would direct what students can and cannot be taught about the role of slavery in American history and the ongoing effects of racism in the U.S. today."

  • "Joint Statement on Legislative Efforts to Restrict Education about Racism and American History," June 16, 2021,

    • "Association of American Colleges & Universities, the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, and PEN America have issued a joint statement opposing legislation, introduced in at least twenty states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions. More than seventy-five additional organizations also signed the statement."

A Foot in the Door

  • Nicole Mansfield Wright, "Overcoming the 4 Pain Points of Publishing," Inside Higher Ed, June 29, 2021,

    • "To help rising scholars avoid breaking the bank, spending precious research time on reading without getting the information you need or becoming overwhelmed with advice, I’m presenting you with specific, actionable, nonobvious advice I wish I had received before embarking on that winding road to my first book [...] I focus on navigating the obstacles you must surpass to nab that golden ticket to publishing, or what I call the four pain points of publication."

Reviewing Best Practices

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Digital Humanities

  • Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia, “Joining the ‘great conversation’ – The fundamental role of annotation in academic society,” Impact of Social Science blog,

    • "Annotations can often be seen as an interruption, something to be expunged from carefully maintained library collections and the version of record. However, drawing on their research and writing practice, Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia present a different view of annotation, as a vital mechanism by which academics have historically connected and interwoven their own thinking with contemporaries and those who have gone before them. Reflecting on how new digital tools have re-invigorated annotation and contributed to the creation of their recent book, they suggest annotation presents a vital means by which academics can re-engage with each other and the wider world."

Nonprofit Publishing

  • Dan Sinykin and Edwin Roland, ”Against Conglomeration: Nonprofit Publishing and American Literature After 1980” Issue 7: Post45 x Journal of Cultural Analytics,

    • "State money and philanthropic money come with expectations. As nonprofits published writing that the conglomerates deemed unfit for the market, they chose and shaped that writing according to their own financial needs. [...] We discovered that these two different ways of structuring publishers' finances — conglomerate and nonprofit — created a split within literature, yielding two distinct modes of American writing after 1980. This essay characterizes the two modes, explains how the split between them happened, and illustrates the significance of this shift for the rise of multiculturalism."

Open Access

  • Tom Tivnan, “CUP launches 'revolutionary' Open Access monograph pilot,” The Bookseller, June 29, 2021,

    • "Cambridge University Press is trialling a pilot Open Access scheme that it said will 'turn conventional publishing models on their head' by making academic monographs that sell the most copies available online for free. The pilot, Flip it Open, will see monographs published and sold through normal channels, primarily to academic institutions and libraries. But once a title meets a set amount of revenue, CUP said it will make it available online for free."

Visual Studies

  • Dushko Petrovich, "Big Jill, Little Jimmy, Little Rosalynn, Big Joe," n+1, July 2, 2021,

    • "Every day now unfolds to the rhythms of the internet news cycle. The specific items we follow have been diverging, but the following itself is more and more synchronized. [...] I kept looking at the recently infamous—now half-forgotten—picture of the Bidens visiting the Carters. The photo was taken and passed around feverishly almost two months ago, when I saw it repeatedly on my scroll and dragged the file onto my desktop, and I haven’t been able to forget it since. [...] I’ve been staring at the little Carters and the big Bidens, trying to understand what is so transfixing to me there. And I think I finally have an answer. "

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