Exile at State U: Stories from the Outer Edges of Academe

Douglas Higbee's picture
Call for Papers
December 31, 2022
South Carolina, United States
Subject Fields: 
Teaching and Learning, Intellectual History, Humanities, Graduate Studies

Seeking abstracts for an edited collection of essays about life on the tenure track, especially for those working in the humanities and social sciences at non-R1 colleges and universities.

Because full-time, tenure-track jobs in the humanities and social sciences are hard to come by, we are often told to be grateful and to be quiet. And indeed, there is much to be grateful for and relatively little to shout about. But there are still important stories to be told, and relatively little nonfiction has been written about the subtle but life-changing personal and professional vicissitudes of a career spent in the academic hinterlands of branch state campuses and non-elite private colleges. Especially for those from highly rated grad programs, often in metropolitan locales, a career in a rural area or small town is an eye-opening and life-altering experience.

The goal of the collection is to tell it like it is, warts and all. Essays should be autobiographical, not scholarly, and can be focused on a particular career episode (and thus relatively short) or broader in scope and longer in length. The most important thing is to be compelling, or at least interesting. Humor is more than welcome. Writers are welcome to publish under a pseudonym, or anonymously.

Possible topics or areas of focus

--job application process: interview and campus visit stories; first impressions; deciding whether to take the job

--on the tenure track: the challenges (or lack thereof) of meeting tenure and promotion requirements; interactions with other faculty, administrators, community members; networking and conferences; deciding to stay or leave

--community in exile: relationships with colleagues; relations with neighbors; location details

--after tenure/the middle years: career evolution; putting down roots, professionally and personally; non-academic pursuits; changing jobs

--toward retirement: taking stock; successes and regrets


Please email 1-2 pp. abstracts and a short bio or CV to douglash@usca.edu by Feb. 1, 2023.

Contact Info: 

Douglas Higbee

Department of English

University of South Carolina, Aiken

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