Public Humanities

Exploring what it means to be human

Each semester the Cook Center hosts a number of public programs designed to engage students, faculty, and the general public with the methods and values that define scholarship in the humanities. These programs invite guests to think deeply about aspects of our everyday lives such as popular culture, food and drink, and our lived environment. 

Chaired!

On September 29, 2022, the Gayle Karch Cook Center hosted a panel discussion on the hit Netflix series The Chair. The discussion was led by Cook Center director Ed Dallis-Comentale and featured six IU faculty members who had previously served as chairs of their respective departments at IU or other univeristies.

Panelists:

  • Valerie Grim - Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Patricia Ingham - Professor of English; Director, Institute for Advanced Studies; Affiliate Professor of Gender Studies
  • Seung-kyung Kim - Korean Foundation Professor; Director, Institute for Korean Studies
  • Stephen Watt - Provost Professor of English; Adjunct Professor of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance
  • Brenda Weber - Provost Professor of Gender Studies; Jean C. Robinson Scholar of Gender Studies
  • Jackobi Williams - Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History; Chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies

Description of the video:

hi folks hello uh can you hear through
00:04
this microphone great great um it's good
00:07
to see you all thanks for coming out to
00:09
the cook center uh tonight we're really
00:12
happy to have this space uh and to be
00:14
able to host these kinds of events
00:16
for for grown-ups and grown-up thinkers
00:19
here on campus the cook center is really
00:21
our trojan horse
00:23
it's designed to get people from the
00:25
bloomington community onto campus and to
00:27
get the campus out into the community
00:29
and we've been hosting a lot of
00:31
crossover events of that sort
00:33
we're part of the gallery walk for
00:34
downtown bloomington and we've also been
00:36
partnering with the indiana arts
00:38
commission on an arts and
00:39
entrepreneurship program and it's just
00:41
great to have this sort of meeting space
00:43
and to make good use of it um so but
00:45
tonight we're here to talk about uh the
00:47
chair uh the netflix series the chair of
00:50
course um and in this job i've been i've
00:52
been developing this um
00:54
this saying it's kind of adapted from
00:57
kurt vonnegut kurt vonnegut said i don't
00:59
know what it is uh but wherever you go
01:01
there's always a hoosier doing something
01:03
important um and and i'm not sure if you
01:06
really believe that i i can't really
01:08
tell it seemed like a joke to me um in
01:10
the book it appears but but i've i've
01:12
developed this idea that that wherever
01:13
you go um there's an english major doing
01:16
something important and something
01:17
interesting um
01:19
and and tonight i just want to give a
01:21
shout out to the the writer and creator
01:23
of the show annie julia wyman who is a
01:26
former english major and actually an
01:28
english phd student
01:30
who who wrote a dissertation on uh the
01:33
comic novel um
01:35
and and annie wyman is doing something
01:38
right uh for sure we've all watched the
01:40
show um we've seen uh the characters the
01:43
settings we've heard the dialogue uh
01:46
butts and seats value added um and she
01:49
just seems like she's ripping off our
01:50
year-end reports uh to create this
01:52
script uh or at least our faculty
01:54
surveys um
01:56
certainly iu is is this kind of giant
01:59
public institution is not
02:01
like pembroke in a lot of ways um the iv
02:04
covered pembroke that's featured in the
02:06
show but there there are definitely some
02:08
similarities um iu's administration can
02:11
definitely definitely be like complex
02:14
and bewildering and and scaring it scary
02:16
at times
02:17
um it's not for nothing we've been
02:19
laughing here that that the show is
02:21
co-produced by the game of thrones
02:23
creators um
02:24
and we can imagine a similar series here
02:27
with sort of house valentine and house
02:28
luddy um taking place on campus um but
02:32
also at the same time uh pembroke is
02:34
presented as a place that that might be
02:36
a refuge from all the um on on
02:39
the series and i think that here at iu
02:41
we really can't claim that uh too often
02:44
um as a refuge and and the last year has
02:47
has been a testament uh to that for sure
02:50
um with student precarity social
02:53
protests um the list goes on and on
02:56
vaccines the administrators on this
02:58
campus um are exhausted because they're
03:01
constantly managing that
03:03
that that comes across onto the campus
03:05
and i just want to thank these
03:07
incredibly busy people uh for coming
03:10
here tonight and talking with us about
03:11
the show so if you can please give them
03:13
a round of applause i'd appreciate that
03:18
[Applause]
03:23
um if if you're in academia watching the
03:25
chair is like definitely like a mixed
03:27
bag of of hot emotions um and and we've
03:30
experienced all of them um there are a
03:32
lot of things that the show uh gets
03:35
wrong for sure i mean those faculty
03:37
members are way too happy to be at a
03:38
department party it seems to me
03:41
um and there are amazing things that it
03:42
gets right you'd be surprised how often
03:45
people leave documents on the printer
03:47
for other people to see
03:49
the list goes on and on
03:52
but we're here just to share our
03:54
responses to the show
03:56
to open up a dialogue
03:58
to show the ways in which they do and do
04:00
not reflect the things that we we might
04:02
have experienced uh at iu over the last
04:05
few years um
04:06
there might be a little bit of navel
04:08
gazing to this um this is what we do
04:10
best i don't know if uh people in the
04:12
mafia have conferences about the
04:13
sopranos or anything like that but
04:16
um this is what we like to do we get
04:18
together and we talk about things and we
04:20
invite the public uh to join us so i
04:22
just want to just do some quick
04:24
introductions
04:26
these are all chairs or former chairs um
04:29
and so we're really lucky to have their
04:31
perspective tonight uh patricia ingham
04:33
is a professor and former chair of the
04:36
english department at iu and she's
04:37
currently the director of the institute
04:39
for advanced study um stephen watt uh
04:42
all the way on the end there provost
04:43
professor also former chair of english
04:45
and former associate dean of the college
04:48
uh valerie grimm is a professor and
04:51
director of undergraduate studies as
04:52
well as former chair of african-american
04:54
and africa diaspora studies
04:57
we have sun kyung kim
04:59
inaugural korean foundation profess
05:01
korea foundation professor in the
05:03
department of east asian languages and
05:05
cultures former chair of the department
05:07
of women's studies and director of the
05:09
center for east asian studies at the
05:11
university of maryland brenda weber
05:13
provost professor and gnc robinson
05:15
scholar in gender studies former chair
05:17
of gender studies and jacoby williams
05:20
the rookie two months into the job ruth
05:23
n hall's associate professor in history
05:26
and the chair of the african-american
05:27
and african diaspora studies department
05:29
thank you all for being here um
05:32
thanks
05:39
i i am not a department chair i never
05:41
have been i am only the chair of this
05:43
panel um
05:45
it's stung a little when they call bill
05:47
like a disaffected white male professor
05:50
type um but i will try to remain
05:53
impartial throughout this discussion i
05:55
don't have a joy division t-shirt at all
05:57
like bill i have a new order t-shirt but
05:58
not a joy division shirt
06:01
we'll have six sections
06:03
each of these fine administrators have
06:05
they've chosen a clip and i'll briefly
06:07
introduce the clip
06:09
and each one will present on that clip
06:11
and then we'll open up for discussion um
06:13
and then at the end we'll have a q a so
06:15
i'm really excited about this please if
06:17
you can there's a bar there's an open
06:19
bar there with beer and wine and there
06:21
are restrooms down the hall when we get
06:23
to the end of each section i have a
06:24
little bell and i'll ring that because
06:26
i know these folks and they like to talk
06:28
and i want to make sure that we're on
06:29
time and we get through it all um so
06:32
let's get started um sun kyung's going
06:34
to present first uh and we're going to
06:36
begin at the beginning of the show uh
06:38
with a scene that helps us think of i
06:41
think about
06:42
who gets to be chair how does one become
06:44
a chair what does it take to be a chair
06:47
what does it mean to go into
06:48
administration they call it the dark
06:49
side here at iu and and what kind of
06:52
authority does the chair really have um
06:54
so please start the clip natalie thanks
06:56
so much
07:02
thank you thank you
07:10
good evening
07:11
so when ed first approached me about
07:14
this panel discussion
07:17
my first reaction was of course i would
07:20
love to participate there are so many
07:22
things that i can talk about
07:25
this series
07:27
and then i begin to think about okay so
07:30
what it is that i really want to talk
07:33
about
07:34
and then i got called fit
07:36
so to say
07:38
and there are many parallels between g
07:41
and kim that was described here and
07:44
myself
07:45
i myself is a korean-american academic
07:49
and
07:50
i have served as
07:52
chair of a department
07:54
and so there are some parallels between
07:57
june's life and mind
07:58
but at the same time there are many
08:00
differences of course do exist between
08:03
us two and i can go back to that later
08:05
on if you have any questions
08:08
the chair has certainly grabbed our
08:10
attention
08:11
those of us who are in academia
08:14
who care about such things as
08:17
who is awarded the distinguished
08:19
lecturer
08:20
or some of you may have looked at your
08:24
um
08:25
the part that what is the
08:26
ratemyprofessors.com
08:28
about your ratings i never did because i
08:31
didn't want to look at it
08:33
but
08:34
those you know
08:36
all of you who are here
08:38
i think you are here because you do care
08:41
you do care about academia you do care
08:44
about what is going on and the chair
08:47
certainly does deliver a slice of what
08:50
is going on in today's academia um
08:55
as you saw
08:57
at the beginning jin kim was shown as
09:00
she is very proud of being
09:03
the first woman and woman of color chair
09:05
and predominantly male you know white
09:08
male older faculty members department
09:11
although we have not seen it
09:13
she walks into her very large opulent
09:17
office
09:18
and as soon as she sits down on her
09:21
chair the chair
09:22
collapsed
09:24
again that sort of you know shows clear
09:27
sign of the kind of precarity that lies
09:31
ahead of her
09:33
so department chairs are in a position
09:36
of authority
09:38
but the job is also a burden
09:41
so many faculty members
09:44
who are qualified
09:46
do not want to serve
09:47
as
09:48
chair after all being a good chair
09:52
does require a somewhat different skill
09:56
set
09:58
to being a great teacher or scholar
10:02
and
10:02
most academics including myself are not
10:06
trained as administrators
10:09
we are just put in there
10:12
and
10:12
we
10:13
live our life as go
10:16
we do go about doing our jobs so some of
10:19
us
10:20
succeed
10:21
some of us
10:22
fail and that's what you know many of
10:25
academic jobs for administrative jobs
10:28
are like that too
10:31
so as a department chair of course june
10:34
is required to handle administrative
10:37
things but she is also a colleague in
10:40
the department of english
10:43
and as you saw that
10:45
she said there's a declining enrollment
10:48
30 percent
10:49
and that did remind me of the university
10:52
of maryland where i was if they were
10:54
showing 30 decline in english major
10:57
it was again just kind of the jarring
11:00
kind of
11:01
memory came back watching that
11:04
the you know of course the
11:05
administration
11:06
is looking at this
11:08
from a cost benefit or what we would
11:10
call as neoliberal perspective
11:12
and wanted to get rid of most expensive
11:16
highly paid tenured faculty who cannot
11:21
attract as many students as they should
11:23
be according to the administrator
11:27
and of course they do resist
11:29
this change
11:32
so
11:33
by the end of this show june does not
11:35
last even last for a whole semester
11:39
so then why was she
11:41
voted into this position
11:44
the stereotype does exist
11:46
that asian american women are demure
11:50
accommodating
11:51
always pleasant and do not push too much
11:56
race along with gender
11:59
is central to the storyline of the chair
12:03
with asian americans occupying an
12:05
awkward position
12:07
outside america's central racial drama
12:11
between the drama of black and white
12:14
asian americans may be perceived
12:17
as relatively less threatening
12:20
by the white establishment
12:23
but their acceptance can be interpreted
12:26
as inadequate solidarity by black or
12:30
brown people aspiring for change
12:33
then why was she brought down
12:36
just it's all because she was not
12:38
easily controlled
12:40
and she did push too much that's how she
12:43
was broke down
12:45
so before coming to indiana i taught for
12:48
25 years in the department of women's
12:51
studies at the university of maryland
12:53
i was chair for five of those years
12:57
being the chair in a department where
12:59
almost all faculty members were women
13:02
and most were women of color
13:04
is quite different from the english
13:07
department at pembroke
13:09
but i remember
13:11
what the dean told me
13:13
when i started in that position
13:16
she said the chair is the front line in
13:20
the battle between administration and
13:22
faculty
13:25
and faculty members will be
13:28
in my face every day
13:31
and that is exactly what jian faced
13:34
during her short tenure
13:37
i would like to end my remarks with a
13:39
comment about the name of sandra oh's
13:42
character
13:43
jiun kim
13:45
is an interesting assertion of identity
13:49
i appreciate that the full korean name
13:52
is being used especially for an english
13:55
professor
13:57
and that it was not anglicized because
14:00
it would have been very easy to
14:01
anglicize june kim
14:05
of course her name is a bit easier to
14:08
pronounce for americans than my name sun
14:11
kyung thank you
14:13
[Applause]
14:22
would uh would any of our our panelists
14:24
like to comment on the scene or have a
14:26
question for sun kyung
14:29
what are those remarks
14:36
uh any other panelists want to comment
14:38
on the scene
14:39
i do i do have a question for you um
14:42
the the recognition of the character as
14:45
asian american was interesting on the
14:48
show um she makes the comment that she's
14:50
always on the the college's brochure on
14:52
the cover of the college's brochure
14:55
and yet when when the students or other
14:57
faculty talk to her about people of
14:59
color they don't seem to include her
15:01
in in those characterizations and i was
15:03
kind of wondering about
15:05
the work that she needs to play
15:07
representationally
15:09
in the job
15:15
well we always talk about asian
15:17
americans as
15:19
when it
15:20
when money is counting asian americans
15:23
are not included in the traditional
15:26
character
15:28
underrepresented minority
15:30
otherwise asian americans are
15:33
counted as minorities
15:35
so it is a quite awkward kind of
15:38
position of course and i remember
15:41
in the department that
15:42
we had one doctoral student who was a
15:45
filipina american
15:47
and
15:48
he
15:49
said
15:50
that
15:52
it feels like
15:54
yellow doesn't exist
15:56
in this department at that department at
15:58
the time
15:59
so
16:01
it is a
16:02
kind of awkward and uneasy kind of
16:04
conversation that sometimes we may have
16:08
to do
16:09
talking about
16:11
what how we perceive of racial ethnic
16:14
hierarchy
16:16
and how we think about so
16:19
you know this one says a little bit
16:21
about it but it did not go into it as
16:24
much as it should have been i think
16:27
thank you yes brenda i'm going to steal
16:29
some of my own thunder and i just wanted
16:31
to talk a little bit about sandra oh
16:33
because
16:35
sandra owe have been following her
16:36
career for a lot of years since she was
16:38
christina yang on grey's anatomy for
16:40
anyone who followed that shonda rhyme
16:42
show
16:43
she was in sideways but she's in a show
16:45
called killing eve on bbc
16:48
and one of the things that she said
16:50
about that character is that when her
16:51
agent sent over the script she kept
16:54
reading through looking for her part
16:56
not
16:57
not seeing anything that was marked as
17:00
the asian character
17:02
and it completely shocked her when she
17:05
was being asked to play the title
17:07
character she is eve on killing eve and
17:11
and she said when she had that
17:12
recognition it was a moment of shame at
17:14
her own
17:16
internalized racism because she hadn't
17:20
expected that she would be asked to play
17:22
that kind of a role
17:24
and since we're talking about english i
17:26
can go back to my roots right which is
17:29
you know i remember a line from david
17:31
copperfield where he says you know it
17:33
will be it will remain to be seen if i
17:35
can be the hero of my own narrative and
17:37
i think that's a really interesting
17:39
thing about sandra oh in terms of the
17:42
larger
17:43
star text that she has and how um
17:46
in this one there's there's really no
17:50
kind of precarity about this is her show
17:53
this is all about eve
17:55
in many ways yeah yeah thanks so much um
17:58
yeah i think i think we'll move on to
18:00
the next clip which uh patty ingham is
18:02
going to introduce for us and we'll play
18:04
the clip in a second yeah go ahead
18:08
thanks ed good evening everybody um so
18:10
the clip i chose is from episode four
18:13
called and the name of the episode is
18:14
don't kill bill this was the episode in
18:17
which bill is first suspended bill
18:19
dobson the sort of near-duel charming um
18:22
uh
18:23
uh jokester who is uh suspended for his
18:28
um really incredibly
18:30
kind of dunder-headed
18:32
um actions
18:34
which use of which some of some of which
18:36
you just saw
18:37
um
18:38
so
18:40
i have to confess that i think i chose
18:41
something from this episode because
18:43
until this episode i sort of hated this
18:45
show
18:46
i found it incredibly the caricatures
18:49
and the satire incredibly annoying um i
18:52
found it um incorrect on in many in many
18:56
instances and yet subsequent there's
18:58
been so much talk about the show that
19:01
subsequent to watching it
19:03
um i've begun to hear that many of the
19:05
things that are depicted that i saw as
19:08
completely out outlandish and ludicrous
19:11
people report to me did actually happen
19:13
at
19:14
this or that particular institution so
19:16
you know
19:17
uh so um
19:19
so i've been lucky apparently in some in
19:21
some instances but so this um
19:24
this scene was that i've chosen is about
19:26
12 minutes into this 30 minute episode
19:29
and it it features not
19:31
bill but the senior americanist elliott
19:34
who is the one who is trying to really
19:37
deep six yaza's tenure case
19:41
um and we've already seen by this time
19:44
we we've seen june's efforts to persuade
19:47
elliot of yaza's many accomplishments
19:49
particularly her innovative teaching and
19:52
she tries um the chair tries to open
19:54
ways for elliott to identify with yaz
19:57
comparing yaza's ability to excite
19:59
students with elliot's own ability to do
20:01
that um
20:03
she says in his heyday in your heyday
20:06
and elliot immediately claps back
20:08
how do you know now's not my heyday he
20:11
he cries and with that he flings his hat
20:14
toward a coat tree in the corner and of
20:16
course it misses
20:18
so we get a hint there of what we're
20:20
going to see more of in this particular
20:22
clip of elliott on the decline longing
20:25
for a heyday that's gone so this is the
20:28
back story to some of elliot's
20:31
motivations about um his antipathy
20:34
toward yaz's tenure
20:36
great uh natalie please play the
20:40
great
20:41
great thanks um
20:44
so elliot's treatment of yaz is here
20:46
revealed at least in part and this is
20:47
obviously not the whole story as
20:49
motivated by the bad treatment of his
20:52
academic wife the quote best of us
20:56
that she received at the hands of his
20:57
own department she didn't write the ten
20:59
year book because she was raising three
21:01
kids and making dinner and he didn't
21:03
stand up up for her
21:05
they should have stopped your ten tenure
21:07
clock and i should have put more
21:09
pressure on them i'm sorry
21:12
the eye here elliot's eye here is
21:15
distinct from a department they
21:17
and he didn't exert enough pressure to
21:20
make it happen
21:21
so family life becomes the proximate
21:23
cause of this wound but elliot's
21:26
membership in the faculty
21:28
seems not the solution to that problem
21:31
once a bystander to what he clearly sees
21:33
at an ingest as an injustice eliot is
21:36
now about to perpetrate the next one
21:38
whatever complex wound he remembers he
21:41
is clearly inclined to pass it on to the
21:44
next generation to yaz even though she
21:46
has quote published in all the highest
21:48
venues
21:49
something other than merit is at issue
21:52
and how can a chair like ewan persuade a
21:55
senior colleague in the grip of this
21:57
kind of ray santimont
21:59
of the righteousness of yaza's cause
22:02
eliot's unnamed wife seems less bitter
22:04
than he does and we could think a little
22:07
bit about this why is it framed in this
22:10
way
22:11
so part of what seems to me kind of
22:12
brilliant here however is what the scene
22:14
does next elliot facing nighttime
22:17
incontinence presented by his wife with
22:20
quote tranquility briefs
22:23
what a brilliant name
22:25
this doesn't spell doom old man she says
22:28
and then he i used to besto uh bestride
22:31
the narrow world like a colossus
22:34
well now you are going to bestride it in
22:36
tranquility briefs
22:38
that gets a well-deserved laugh
22:41
it's funny on its face but also on
22:42
account of its intertext shakespeare
22:45
julius caesar act one scene two i'm an
22:47
english professor i can't help it
22:51
in that scene cassius works to persuade
22:53
brutus to stand up to caesar and
22:56
ultimately assassinate him here's the
22:58
fuller
23:00
passage
23:01
why man he i.e caesar doth bestride the
23:05
narrow world like a colossus
23:07
and we petty men
23:09
walk under his huge legs and peep about
23:13
to find ourselves dishonorable graves
23:17
men at some time are masters of their
23:19
fates
23:21
their fault dear brutus is not in the
23:23
stars but in ourselves
23:26
that we are underlings
23:28
eliot identifies his past self as a
23:31
caesar bestriding the narrow world
23:34
it is his present self that is
23:36
diminished and he among the petty men
23:39
here meaning small of little consequence
23:42
peeping about to find dishonorable
23:45
graves
23:46
this sympathetic view of a sad sac
23:48
elliot is deftly done his classes
23:51
underenrolled sleeping in tranquility
23:53
briefs no longer the master of his fate
23:56
we can feel i think and are meant to
23:58
feel as viewers a little sympathy for
24:00
him at that moment
24:01
but when exactly was elliott's caesar
24:04
moment
24:05
not apparently during his wife's tenure
24:06
fight
24:08
they should have stopped your tenure
24:09
clock and i should have put more
24:10
pressure on them
24:12
the fault dear brutus is not in the
24:14
stars but in ourselves and we are
24:16
underlings having once submitted to an
24:19
injustice meted out by his higher-ups he
24:22
is only now ready to occupy their role
24:25
this is precisely what makes him one of
24:27
the petty men in the other sense of the
24:29
term small-minded
24:32
marked by narrow interests and
24:34
sympathies
24:35
it may moreover be something of a
24:37
compensation for his need for
24:39
tranquility briefs that he will lord it
24:41
over yaz a junior colleague with plenty
24:44
of accomplishments and with whom he
24:46
shares apparently a love for melville
24:50
it seems important in this context to
24:53
grant yaz the last word or at least a
24:55
last word near the end of the episode in
24:57
a conversation with yaz about elliott's
25:00
negative letter the one he has left on
25:02
the copy machine for her apparently to
25:04
see
25:05
juan expresses a kind of sympathy this
25:08
earlier scene has raised at least in the
25:10
in me as a viewer for elliot elliott
25:13
still has a lot of institutional power
25:15
she notes but he feels bad no one wants
25:18
to take his classes anymore
25:20
i see what you i see why you feel sorry
25:22
for him yaz retorts sharply he only got
25:26
to rule the profession for the last 40
25:28
years
25:29
in its representations of interpersonal
25:31
dynamics the chair offers some pretty
25:34
brilliant moments i think including a
25:36
view of elliott's limitations and our
25:38
sympathies for those his willingness to
25:41
pass on the wound
25:43
if only the series could have have a
25:45
could have offered a bit more
25:46
imagination
25:48
similarly smart accounts for the
25:50
perplexing institutional issues it also
25:52
alludes to the so-called two-body
25:55
problem
25:56
institutional histories that are not
25:58
shall we say family-friendly
26:01
structures that undermine intellectual
26:03
generosity or faculty solidarity
26:06
but those are unlikely to make for very
26:08
good satire
26:11
[Applause]
26:19
that's that's wonderful patty and if
26:21
anyone else would like to jump in please
26:22
do but i did want to ask you i love this
26:24
this idea about
26:26
um wounding and passing on the wound and
26:29
when you mentioned it a few weeks ago
26:30
i've been thinking about other
26:32
wounded characters and i didn't want to
26:33
let the moment go without talking about
26:35
joan
26:36
who is it's just such a remarkable
26:38
performance in the show
26:40
um but joan is also harboring certain
26:43
wounds um from the past
26:45
um that i'm just kind of curious about
26:48
the the gendering of this because i
26:49
really the concept of petty man is very
26:52
useful but i'm wondering how the the
26:54
narrative surrounding joan
26:55
might inflict this in a way
26:57
right i think that's a great question so
26:59
i'm a medievalist and joan is a
27:01
chaucerian and and a lot of my
27:03
medievalist friends like loved her
27:05
because she was so salty and edgy and
27:07
had so much and was so and clearly the
27:09
kind of wittiest member of that faculty
27:12
it seemed um
27:13
i i found her disdain for her students
27:18
a little
27:19
more troubling and um and so i do think
27:22
that there is a way in which
27:24
until that scene that actually happens
27:26
later in the same episode
27:28
where she
27:29
finds the kid in the library that has
27:32
given her the negative um rating on um
27:35
my professor ratemyprofessor.com and
27:38
does this kind of really breathtakingly
27:40
brilliant rant about how chaucer is
27:42
amazing and has all these you know can
27:44
and can you know outlast this kid's
27:47
negative review of her um
27:50
and you're right that there is a way in
27:52
which
27:53
there is a kind of sympathy
27:56
for
27:57
um
27:58
for wounds that have that are sort of
28:00
doubled and trebled by way of race and
28:03
class um uh uh race and class
28:07
disadvantage but i kind of think there
28:09
should be a little bit i mean i think i
28:11
don't i i did really i was very fond of
28:14
the character of elliot in certain ways
28:16
even as i felt
28:19
that
28:20
you know there were structural aspects
28:22
of his position
28:24
and his experience in that faculty that
28:28
helped produce his lack of generosity
28:30
right so if he didn't rise to the
28:32
occasion
28:33
um some of that is also structurally
28:35
produced but he wasn't he didn't have
28:38
somebody talking about his ass when he
28:39
went when you know a colleague passed
28:42
jones say on the on the staircase and
28:45
says you still have a nice ass and she
28:48
quite brilliantly says um too bad i
28:50
can't say the same for you
28:52
um so you know there i i do think there
28:54
are ways in which
28:56
um this is kind of a um
28:59
uh
29:00
you know
29:01
there's a certain sadness about the
29:03
wounds that get passed on i don't think
29:06
you know i don't think pathetic men like
29:08
like either bill or
29:11
or elliot are the only ones that pass on
29:13
wounds
29:14
but um but i do absolutely think that
29:17
there's something about that structure
29:20
that is also related to
29:23
elliot's advantage vis-a-vis
29:26
his academic wife who didn't get that
29:29
same advantage
29:30
could i just add something to that i
29:32
mean the most objectionable line in that
29:34
scene for me is
29:36
i should have had the tenure clock
29:38
stopped
29:39
and put more pressure the issue of
29:41
stopping the tenure clock when i came to
29:44
iu knowny and i came to iu in 1985 was
29:47
not an uncommon practice but that
29:50
practice was wielded largely by people
29:52
of affluence that is faculty of
29:54
affluence who could afford not to be
29:56
paid for a semester
29:59
that practice was put under as it should
30:01
have been
30:02
pretty strong
30:04
scrutiny
30:05
and was done away with save in the cases
30:08
of physical illness
30:10
adoption
30:11
childbirth in paternity maternity and
30:14
health leaves of that kind but just to
30:16
say i'm going to stop
30:18
the tenure clock because i can afford to
30:20
do that
30:21
and you can't because you can't afford
30:23
to do that is not the way to conduct a
30:25
tenure review
30:27
it's inherently classist it's inherently
30:29
unfair
30:32
brenda
30:33
now's the moment where i have to be sure
30:35
i don't say anything i'm not supposed to
30:37
say about my department so
30:40
i will say i just speaking about
30:42
academia not about the show that i think
30:45
having the wound and protecting the
30:47
wound and passing on the wound is very
30:50
much a part of what academia is about
30:53
and
30:54
it wasn't clear to me that bill's
30:56
overall letter was negative
30:59
elliot sorry um but that
31:02
that there were
31:03
negative elements to it because he talks
31:06
about raving about the scholarship for
31:08
instance and so
31:09
i i think in his mind while he did have
31:13
either a chip on his shoulder or a wound
31:16
about his own personal experience it was
31:19
couched as if that's going to make my
31:22
letter more plausible because it has
31:24
some negativity but i think
31:26
more broadly for instance when when a
31:29
department sits down to think about what
31:31
should its comprehensive exams look like
31:34
there's very much
31:36
a commitment to whatever it is you had
31:38
to endure is what graduate students now
31:41
should have to endure
31:43
and it's very much a notion of
31:46
not just wounding but of almost hazing
31:49
right that
31:50
um and and all done under the guise of
31:53
rigor so that that we do this so that
31:56
people will be more successful in the
31:59
profession and
32:00
um so i think i think that the show's
32:03
missing a larger opportunity even while
32:05
i understand it's comedy and it's only
32:07
six episodes and they were only 30
32:09
minutes so i'll give it a pass but it's
32:13
it's touching on a much more complicated
32:15
systemic problem in academia
32:19
about
32:20
um
32:21
a kind of fetishization of wounding
32:23
that's a part of who we are and what we
32:25
do and self-sacrifice
32:30
so um
32:33
i find this conversation
32:36
about
32:37
woundedness
32:40
interesting because there's an
32:43
assumption
32:45
that everybody get to say they're
32:46
wounded
32:49
there are a lot of us who don't even get
32:51
to say
32:52
i'm wounded
32:54
i've been injured and i'm hurt
32:57
without fear of
33:00
consequences of articulating that
33:03
as well as who caused it
33:06
so i even find
33:08
woundedness and pain
33:12
also a privilege
33:14
for some to articulate
33:17
and for others to keep silent about
33:20
and i think that dynamics
33:22
really makes for
33:25
unhealthiness
33:27
in a department where sometimes the
33:29
wounding of
33:31
a certain individual is so obvious
33:34
that
33:36
it makes it very difficult for those
33:38
persons to function
33:40
in that space so i just wanted to point
33:42
out that
33:44
everybody doesn't get to say
33:46
i'm wounded
33:48
and i think that is
33:49
so unfortunate
33:51
and just
33:52
to your point i think yaza's point at
33:55
the very end
33:57
of this same episode is exactly that
33:59
point it's like you know
34:01
i'm glad you feel sorry for him but
34:04
you know
34:05
i don't i'm not there's a there's a
34:07
there are 40 years of privilege
34:10
that contribute to the sympathy that
34:12
you're
34:13
you know that you're um evincing
34:16
right now
34:17
yeah jimmy kobe
34:19
to turn the page a bit um away from the
34:22
the wounding concept
34:24
what's underlined here is ego
34:27
and academia is an institution of egos
34:31
and that's permeated from the first clip
34:33
through this clip from bill to
34:36
elliott and to jones so it's almost
34:39
consistent across the board that
34:41
academia is an institution of egos and
34:44
everyone responds or projects their egos
34:46
in different ways wounding is one
34:48
obviously but what's what it's at play
34:50
here uh in this particular clip is the
34:53
way in which bill
34:55
uh is not willing to relent right and
34:57
that's much to do with his ego uh and
35:00
elliot i'm sorry in this clip and the
35:01
previous clip bill even though it's it
35:04
is
35:05
uh
35:06
the chairs first day on the job much of
35:08
that clip is is is beginning the the the
35:12
underlying aspect of
35:14
the the freedom and white privilege
35:16
white male privilege that these academic
35:18
academicians have so instead of
35:21
celebrating her first day in this first
35:22
clip it's all about bill's silliness and
35:24
his drunkenness and his his way to steal
35:27
a goat card and so forth that she's
35:28
trying to balance this real
35:31
academic rigorous and um very
35:34
disciplined position as the first person
35:36
to hold that office and dealing with the
35:38
egos in the room and she has to balance
35:41
those egos so ego's is another very
35:44
important
35:45
trope this permeates throughout the uh
35:47
besides the obvious white male privilege
35:49
i don't want to keep focusing on that
35:51
but the ego aspect is consistent
35:53
throughout all the various class
35:55
dynamics that are brought up and so
35:57
forth and so on yeah and i want to
35:58
emphasize in that scene that you're
36:00
talking about jacoby like the carnival
36:03
music is playing while she's giving her
36:05
important speech and it's it's
36:08
completely undermining
36:10
her gravitas and authority with his
36:13
antics
36:15
yeah yeah
36:16
we should move on um the scene that
36:18
haunts me about colleagues is when and
36:20
about egos is when joan goes back to the
36:23
um title ix office which now seems to be
36:25
legal counsel um because they're short
36:27
staffed and she says that she demands
36:30
that she wants someone to acknowledge
36:32
what happened
36:33
and and and this the staffer says i'm
36:36
acknowledging it sounds it sounds
36:38
totally illegal and says i want someone
36:40
other than you to acknowledge it and
36:42
it's there's such a a craven need for
36:46
acknowledgement from students from your
36:48
children from other colleagues on the
36:50
show and that was really painful for me
36:53
to watch
36:54
in terms of like a way of framing
36:55
collegial interactions but maybe we
36:58
should talk um move from colleagues to
37:00
more pers like pervasive structural
37:04
issues within the academic system and i
37:06
and steve is going to help us out with
37:08
the next scene um this is the scene
37:10
where june gets her uh charge from the
37:12
dean i know steve has spent a lot of
37:15
time in the dean's office i'm very
37:16
curious as to what he's going to be able
37:17
to reveal today um so why don't if we
37:20
could play the clip and uh and then
37:23
steve will take it from there thank you
37:29
thank you
37:31
thanks steve
37:34
um
37:35
before i comment on that scene can you
37:37
hear me okay
37:38
uh
37:40
uh full disclosure
37:42
uh i'm 70 years old
37:44
i know my flowing hair could maybe
37:47
confuse you on this point
37:49
uh
37:50
and i retired two years ago at age 68.
37:55
i did so
37:56
because i wanted to
37:58
um
38:01
this scene really rings true
38:06
in a series that caricatures savagely
38:09
older faculty
38:11
who bring their pills
38:13
to department meetings carol and i we're
38:15
talking we never have seen that we've
38:17
been around a while
38:18
uh
38:20
who
38:22
aren't sure if they've passed gas or the
38:24
person next to them did
38:26
a perennial problem in faculty meetings
38:30
uh
38:33
and so it raises the question
38:37
which we dealt with in the college and
38:39
had to take a pass on
38:41
what do we do with faculty who are no
38:44
longer really capable of doing their
38:46
jobs when we are multiple million
38:49
dollars in debt
38:51
i was just a junior dean let a little
38:53
tiny dean so they never let me talk
38:55
about money
38:57
but it was
38:59
more than the three salaries there if
39:00
you notice the top salary there was 132
39:03
000 and change okay
39:05
we're not talking about that
39:07
we're talking about several million
39:08
dollars
39:10
so
39:10
i am not by what i'm going to say is
39:13
advocating in any way
39:16
that every faculty member over 65 or 70
39:18
or whatever
39:20
should be given their walking papers or
39:22
a cushy retirement package or whatever
39:24
that dean couldn't do that anyway
39:26
legally
39:27
in fact it would be a real mess
39:30
if he tried to so
39:32
three historical points
39:34
in 1967 the adea
39:38
act
39:39
age discrimination employment act was
39:41
passed
39:43
it offered protection for employees
39:45
between the ages of 40 and 65.
39:48
some of you who are old enough may
39:50
remember seeing faculty retire because
39:53
they had to at age 65 i remember seeing
39:56
that
39:57
in the 1970s it was extended and revised
40:00
to offer that protection to 70 year olds
40:04
and then during the reagan years
40:06
it was actually extended
40:10
in perpetuity
40:13
thus effectively tying a university's
40:15
hands legally
40:18
and making the issue of helping older
40:21
faculty in need of help much more
40:23
complicated
40:25
i was in
40:26
several conversations just like that one
40:30
um so too in 2018
40:33
uh was the vermont school of law who
40:35
sent 14 faculty members a letter
40:39
asking them actually telling them that
40:41
by july 1st they must
40:43
resign their tenured positions and
40:45
accept a non-tenure eligible position at
40:47
a lower price or they would be
40:49
terminated the aaup did a long case i
40:52
did a long study of that case
40:55
so the median salary was 110 000 a year
40:58
and let's remember that the senior
41:00
faculty are going to make more than the
41:02
median
41:03
as is the case here so just to do the
41:05
math
41:06
make it simple
41:08
let's say they made 150 000 a year
41:11
let's remember that benefits packages
41:14
obviously they vary from institution to
41:16
institution
41:17
but let's just say for the sake of ease
41:19
of math that's only one it's one-third
41:22
33 percent that would mean that
41:25
the several faculty members over 70 and
41:28
approaching 80 at the vermont law school
41:32
were taking 200 000 of money from a
41:34
school that was a million dollars in the
41:36
red
41:38
okay
41:39
so then the question ray is raised
41:43
could you actually do that with impunity
41:47
the answer is not really
41:50
but you can see
41:51
the temptation our tenure is predicated
41:55
on the notion that the state is not and
41:58
university are not in a case of
42:00
financial exigency
42:03
that's a pretty strong stipulation in
42:05
most tenure cases so you can see how the
42:08
temptation would be
42:09
enormous
42:11
if you're facing a financial
42:13
catastrophe
42:16
i would also say
42:18
that the case of harold bloom teaching
42:20
from his living room at age 89
42:22
at yale
42:24
and hiring two former yale graduate
42:26
students at ten thousand dollars a
42:28
semester or so
42:29
to proctor those classes strikes me as
42:32
being offensive which leads me to the
42:34
next point there's a faculty party
42:37
in which june eugene tells the dean
42:40
we're 85 percent white
42:42
and the camera cuts to those three and
42:45
some other older faculty
42:47
saying as soon as one of them or some of
42:49
them
42:50
retire die or are fired
42:52
we might be able to hire some more
42:54
faculty my response to that would be
42:56
proven i don't believe it
43:00
so here's what i did and then i'm going
43:02
to stop i wrote the mla three years ago
43:04
after the vermont law school and again
43:06
after harold bloom's passing god bless
43:09
him
43:11
and wondered what kinds of professional
43:14
and shared governance can actually be
43:17
mustered
43:18
not to make post-tenure review a
43:21
negative entirely negative phenomenon
43:24
but to make sure that faculty who need
43:27
help get help
43:29
and then faculty as we saw in my eight
43:32
years in the college did we have a
43:34
faculty member come to a class wearing a
43:37
raincoat took it off and forgot to put
43:39
anything else on yes we did
43:42
did we have a faculty member not able to
43:44
make class and have his spouse come and
43:45
teach the class
43:47
yes we did did we have a faculty member
43:50
older faculty fall slip cut her head
43:53
appear before her class bleeding
43:55
and get calls then from the students
43:58
yes we did
44:00
did the business school have someone
44:01
dropped dead from a heart attack in
44:02
front of
44:03
students
44:04
yes they did
44:07
and so the question
44:08
it's a real question it's not a fake
44:11
question
44:12
why do faculty continue
44:15
on many are afraid
44:17
we don't have an adequate support
44:19
structure for senior faculty that even
44:22
comes close to the support structure we
44:24
provide our graduate students
44:26
frankly in my experience many are not
44:28
terribly financially literate
44:31
they're afraid to retire for both
44:33
economic and psychological reasons so my
44:36
first suggestion is we need to do better
44:38
on that
44:39
and the second suggestion is we need to
44:42
have a real conversation about what
44:45
a post-tenure review that is not an
44:47
automatic
44:50
firing slip or pink slip would look like
44:52
my old friend karen nelson used to argue
44:54
with me all the time when we were
44:55
writing together
44:56
if you have post-tenure review you're
44:58
effectively doing away with tenure if
45:00
you have post-tenure there is no tenure
45:02
i disagree with that but it's a
45:04
complicated matter and third and finally
45:07
i would like to know to what extent
45:10
the money made by senior faculty
45:14
actually would free up positions in the
45:17
academy for struggling graduate students
45:19
for whom now there is
45:22
very little optimism on the job market
45:25
as all of you know two jobs in victorian
45:27
advertised this year five in medieval
45:30
when i was department chair it was
45:31
almost always 20 or 25 for those
45:33
disciplines
45:34
is there a relationship and is there a
45:36
way that we can help some senior faculty
45:39
and then tell other faculty like the guy
45:40
who doesn't know if he passed gas or the
45:42
person next to him did to say the time
45:45
has come for you to find something else
45:46
to do
45:48
that's
45:49
my response to that
45:51
because there are a lot of great faculty
45:52
who are over 70 and over 75 who do a
45:55
really good job
45:56
and are still doing a really good job so
45:58
i don't want you to leave my comments or
46:01
misconstrue my comments to say this is a
46:03
blanket indictment of older faculty
46:05
which is what this satire does it
46:07
absolutely blankly condemns all the
46:10
older faculty that we meet
46:12
and i i oppose that i don't like it but
46:15
it points to a real issue
46:17
thanks thank you steve thanks so much
46:20
yes
46:24
uh yeah panel responses to see
46:27
and then patty thank you
46:29
so i have a question about
46:32
this
46:33
system
46:34
that is
46:35
when i came to iu
46:37
i heard about this system of
46:41
golden shake
46:43
golden handshake yes and
46:45
so one of our department
46:48
colleague
46:50
was able to
46:52
was able to retire
46:54
at age 65
46:57
with
46:58
a guarantee of
47:00
five years of salary
47:03
guaranteed okay so if we have that you
47:07
know maybe again the system that you're
47:10
talking about
47:11
can be
47:14
imagined but i doubt
47:16
the university can afford that well uh i
47:19
i cannot tell a lie
47:21
for a year and a half i retired at 68
47:23
and a half
47:24
i was the beneficiary of what was called
47:26
the 1820 retirement program that was
47:30
terminated in 88 89 there was a little
47:33
fudge year
47:34
there
47:35
and you're quite what it said is if you
47:38
worked 20 years in the iu system you
47:40
could retire at age 65 and for five
47:43
years you would receive a sum of money
47:45
approximating but not equaling your
47:47
salary by the way there's a lot of
47:48
misnomers about that it's actually a
47:50
very byzantine calculation assuming for
47:53
all your years you had half in ti double
47:55
a half and craft what would those two
47:57
piles of money be divided by the number
47:59
of months you're eligible and that
48:00
becomes the benefit i'm sorry for that
48:02
stuff but that was done
48:04
away with because it was an unfunded
48:07
mandate
48:09
so but that does not that no longer
48:11
exists
48:12
yes except for old codgers like me
48:15
because i turned 72 months ago my golden
48:18
handshake has turned to copper
48:20
so
48:22
uh patty yes this is just really more
48:24
comment just the point that um
48:27
i completely agree with steve's point
48:29
that the problem with the job market and
48:32
the problem of um senior faculty not
48:34
retiring are linked because so many
48:37
uh people get to a certain point and are
48:40
fairly confident that their field will
48:42
never again be hired in and so if they
48:44
retire there will not be
48:47
any longer
48:48
the teaching of whether it's you know
48:50
classical arabic or you know whatever
48:53
whatever you know field is this isn't
48:55
true across the board but it's and it
48:57
really does
48:58
uh incentivize people staying on for the
49:02
sake of their graduate students and and
49:04
for the sake of a program that they've
49:05
worked 30 40 years to develop it's
49:08
absolutely correct
49:10
i've heard that line
49:12
a couple times with
49:14
larry singel dean and i had her have
49:16
heard that line before
49:18
and it's only part of the story because
49:19
the person who usually utters that line
49:22
has enormous hostility toward the
49:24
college and the fact that their subfield
49:26
in a in a discipline is no longer as
49:29
prominent as it used to be so the anger
49:31
is understandable i i that i get but it
49:34
be then becomes a device a wedge
49:37
to use to stay way beyond
49:41
uh what one should
49:43
and it's really kind of awful frankly
49:46
thanks thanks so much um we're gonna
49:49
move to the the next scene um which
49:51
which valerie will be uh
49:53
talking about
49:54
um you know events of the past few years
49:56
have shown yet again
49:58
how power is distributed through
50:00
seemingly
50:02
neutral structures at the university
50:04
system
50:05
when i
50:06
put out the
50:08
the announcement about this event we had
50:10
such a great response
50:12
from people who wanted to to come and
50:14
and hear the discussion but i also
50:17
received a number of responses from
50:19
people telling me that the show was uh
50:21
triggering and and and traumatic to
50:23
watch because it's so closely uh
50:26
reflected their difficult experiences
50:29
with university administration uh we
50:31
talked about wounding but also trauma
50:33
and
50:34
i did not it was my own subject position
50:37
being revealed here i did not realize
50:40
that that was generating that response
50:43
um but the next few scenes i think where
50:45
we're dealing with younger faculty
50:47
members and and particularly issues of
50:48
race and protest um are striking a
50:51
different kind of nerve very powerfully
50:54
in viewers of the show
50:55
this scene is um a very brief scene um
50:59
when when students uh come to gene's
51:02
office to talk with her about uh tenure
51:06
particularly tenure for uh a colleague
51:08
of color in the polyside department so
51:11
let's uh start the scene thank you
51:15
so
51:16
i chose probably the shortest clip
51:20
which is 29 seconds
51:24
but that 29 second resume probably the
51:26
longest historical conversation
51:29
that's probably
51:31
happening
51:33
in this
51:34
series
51:36
because those 29 seconds
51:39
resonate the struggle
51:42
of african-american
51:44
women
51:46
and people of color
51:48
to be integrated not only in higher
51:50
education
51:52
but to have positions
51:55
where they are
51:56
treated equally
51:58
treated fairly
52:00
and valued for who they are
52:03
so those 29 seconds
52:05
really stuck with me
52:07
they kind of
52:08
shot me through the ribs like
52:12
i don't know what
52:14
but i remember when i heard it i just
52:16
stopped and then
52:19
just the flash of time
52:21
i could see an experience in my mind's
52:25
memory
52:26
all the stuff debbie dubois had talked
52:29
about carter g woodson had talked about
52:32
he franklin frazier ida b wales
52:35
anna julia cooper many other black
52:37
intellectuals
52:39
about the value of black people
52:41
intellectual thoughts
52:43
and about the value of what african
52:46
americans contribute
52:47
to
52:49
higher education
52:51
and so it resonated for a minute and
52:54
then i began to run my mind through my
52:56
own experiences
52:58
and i begin to think about the
53:00
conversations i've had with black women
53:02
all over this country about how they are
53:05
valued within the academy from yale to
53:09
the fake ivy's
53:11
to others
53:12
and so
53:14
it raised the question when when the
53:16
students said
53:18
that palestine has denied their only
53:20
faculty of color
53:22
now that was a
53:24
indicator for the students
53:27
something is not going well at that
53:29
school at pembroke's
53:31
that was also an indication for the
53:33
student
53:34
that they had to begin to think
53:38
organize and get ready for
53:40
a struggle
53:42
i don't know how many other students on
53:44
the campus
53:46
think about
53:47
that as part of their work too
53:50
your class work is enough
53:52
but now you have to prepare for battle
53:55
to secure the position of the only
53:57
faculty of color who has taught you
54:00
during your educational journey in the
54:02
institution
54:04
so one of the things that the young
54:06
woman said was
54:09
that
54:11
faculty of color
54:13
are not perceived as rigorous
54:16
they don't meet the standard they're not
54:18
there they don't get invited to the same
54:21
places
54:22
so in essence what this student was
54:24
saying was the
54:26
assumption
54:28
that is often made about
54:30
faculty of color but in this context i'm
54:32
gonna emphasize black people because
54:34
guess what i'm one of them and so um
54:38
what i want to emphasize here is the
54:40
assumption that is made
54:42
in a lot of instances about standard
54:45
and that
54:46
people of color don't offer me the
54:50
standard
54:51
you hear this encoded language
54:53
in searches for example
54:55
when dean's office said i want to
54:57
diversify the faculty
55:00
a lot of faculty come back and say
55:02
well
55:03
we can't find any qualified person of
55:05
color
55:07
so
55:07
or they might say um
55:10
if we can't find a
55:11
qualified person of color is it all
55:13
right to get to hire white male
55:16
but it's always what we can't find and
55:19
if we find that it's going to be less
55:22
than the standard and we wonder then if
55:26
that person if we find them you think
55:27
they'll be able to get tenure here so
55:30
the assumption is that
55:33
embodied in them is for that for those
55:36
person is this idea that they represent
55:39
not only differences but deficiencies
55:42
and there's no way we can hire a
55:44
deficient person because we want to be
55:46
in the u.s ranking and that person is
55:48
going to pull us down
55:50
in the u.s ranking
55:52
so what those students resonated was
55:55
the struggle and pain
55:58
of inferior order to being mapped on you
56:02
and it happens
56:03
here all the time
56:05
so we're not talking about pembroke's
56:07
i'm talking about iu
56:09
the struggle
56:11
that people of color women of color have
56:14
women in general have of dealing with
56:17
this
56:18
mapping of being less than and inferior
56:22
the interesting thing about it is that
56:24
the students know it
56:26
because they hear also the things that
56:29
faculty say by faculty of color
56:32
in their departments they come to us and
56:34
say they saying this about you all over
56:36
in afro studies they saying that about
56:39
you an afro study and i just want to
56:41
pause for a minute and just
56:43
thank steve
56:44
steve was a buddy in the struggle at one
56:46
time and i'm just gonna leave at that he
56:48
knows what i'm i'm talking about but the
56:50
point i'm making is
56:53
when you when
56:54
when when you mapped as inferior
56:58
as brilliant as jazz was
57:00
she was a victim of that mapping
57:03
it's hard to
57:05
overcome that no matter what you're
57:07
doing she was publishing in the right
57:09
journal but she wasn't quite doing
57:11
enough it's never enough that's one
57:13
thing the students know
57:15
the other thing the student student
57:17
resonated for me was
57:19
the problem when you are part of a
57:21
culture and calamity otherwise
57:24
when the coaching climate otherwise
57:26
people who are not member of the
57:27
majority the white majority
57:30
it's a problem in the cultural climate
57:31
of the university this is why a lot of
57:34
the major pwi's failed with their
57:36
diversity prop
57:37
policy
57:39
because diversity for a lot of schools
57:41
are being counted one black man we got
57:43
him
57:44
ikea i know dakir that's why i'm
57:46
pointing to him
57:48
so the failure of that but when you can
57:50
point to one
57:52
you know you celebrate you dance a jig
57:54
as if you've done something
57:56
and so the coach of other rising seeing
57:59
different as deficient this is why the
58:01
student's saying if she doesn't get it i
58:03
want you to know we coming at you
58:06
because this is one of the most
58:07
outstanding person
58:09
the struggle will raise the intersection
58:11
of race and space and higher education
58:14
what i heard those students say
58:17
resonated so much for me of the study of
58:20
africana studying black studies and
58:22
higher education at pwis and it'll take
58:24
a whole night and 15 rounds of whiskey
58:27
to tell you that story but it is a
58:30
battle
58:31
just to be treated equally to be
58:33
respected equally as a department
58:36
to be
58:37
to be seen as a unit that is
58:39
contributing to the
58:41
the campus more than the color of your
58:42
skin that's a battle
58:45
the stress and trauma that those
58:47
students were preparing for if she
58:49
doesn't get it we're going to we going
58:51
to organize we're going to march well
58:53
they need to study students need to
58:55
study
58:56
but the stress that they were feeling
58:58
and the trauma they were anticipating by
59:01
having the only black person that they
59:03
knew who had been a great instructor for
59:05
them
59:06
likely to be fired
59:09
these are things when students are
59:10
talking about
59:12
when the institution doesn't feel good
59:14
these are the kinds of things they're
59:16
pointing to
59:18
and then i want to talk lastly i want to
59:22
mention
59:25
how the students were thinking about
59:28
not only marginalization
59:30
isolation
59:32
standards that
59:34
are arbitrary that only certain people
59:36
are going to meet and a lot of that has
59:38
to do with networking and connecting
59:40
with people
59:42
but that the students
59:44
comments really point to the problem
59:47
when there's only one viewpoint one way
59:50
of thinking about how you get to
59:52
somewhere there's only one way to get to
59:54
this you either do it this way
59:57
or it's not acceptable you either think
59:59
about it this way is not acceptable
60:02
the need for a more inclusive expensive
60:05
way of thinking about pedagogy
60:08
scholarship
60:09
tenure promotion
60:11
has
60:12
arrived the way that the gatekeeping is
60:16
done in the academy by those who keeping
60:18
the gate
60:20
has to stop
60:22
the gate is going to get forced over or
60:25
open
60:26
because of the rival a new disciplinary
60:28
way of thinking about encounters and
60:30
experiences
60:32
years ago no one would have thought that
60:33
would have been department of gender
60:35
study human sexuality studies
60:38
black studies interdisciplinary study
60:40
culture studies and i'm saying this
60:43
because if we don't
60:45
widen the tent
60:47
that little narrow tent
60:50
that exists
60:51
it's just gonna fall in on our heads
60:54
and we're going to be left underneath
60:56
that tent
60:57
wondering
60:59
who caused the sky to fall we are
61:02
causing the sky to fall
61:04
because rather than grow and change
61:08
we are trying to force everybody to
61:10
conform to our little narrow way of
61:12
thinking
61:13
and that is not going to cut it in the
61:15
21st century
61:16
so
61:18
those 29 seconds just said to me
61:21
get ready
61:23
the students are coming
61:25
and they're not taking that crap
61:27
and they're going to stand up
61:29
for justice they're going to stand up
61:31
for fairness and they're going to push
61:33
for ways of thinking about things that
61:35
are more inclusive than we imagined and
61:38
i cheer them on
61:40
i'm going to be there with them
61:43
[Applause]
61:58
thank you valerie
62:00
responses to valerie's comments
62:02
yes
62:04
hearing you speak and i just
62:06
remembered reading
62:09
one of the news items from iu bulletin i
62:12
guess this morning
62:14
our new president
62:16
you know
62:17
announcing 30 million dollar diversity
62:20
faculty hiring
62:24
and i kept saying when i came to iu it's
62:26
been only six years but when i came
62:29
i immediately realized
62:32
this is
62:33
why country this is and
62:36
what i felt was again what valerie just
62:40
saying
62:40
the kind of isolation and
62:42
marginalization and the kind of support
62:45
not giving
62:47
to especially for african-american
62:49
faculty i have to say
62:51
and
62:52
so whenever i had a chance what i spoke
62:55
about is
62:56
hiring is one thing
62:58
hiring all you can do
63:01
if you cannot keep the faculty at iu
63:05
that's money wasted
63:08
and that's something that the
63:09
administration really they have to think
63:12
about how to keep the faculty of color
63:16
here
63:17
to give them the kind of power that they
63:20
need to keep them here that's the
63:23
important part i think
63:26
thank you thank you jacoby
63:28
well i promised myself i wouldn't
63:30
personalize any of these damn clips
63:33
shoot here we are uh
63:35
dr graham opened the gate
63:38
there's too many episodes of incidents
63:40
and episodes that just i wouldn't use
63:42
the word trigger but resonates and it's
63:45
just too close to home um your point
63:48
earlier about um yaz finding that letter
63:52
for her tenure file
63:54
that happened to me
63:55
the ways in which students are on campus
63:58
fighting
63:59
or
64:00
i say threatening to protest and
64:03
organize around
64:05
the one faculty member the lone one
64:07
which i'm often in four different
64:10
institutions including this one often
64:11
the only one advocating on behalf of
64:14
that particular faculty member that was
64:16
me
64:17
and ironically as i ended up here at iu
64:20
from my previous institution in kentucky
64:22
one of those same instances some of the
64:24
same things that yaz is dealing with in
64:26
this episode of these episodes i should
64:28
say was my experience at kentucky that
64:30
pushed me here to push her out from
64:32
pembroke to another university um some
64:35
of those same microaggressions some of
64:37
those same incidents so yeah it's just
64:39
some of them just hit too close to home
64:41
the ways in which um those
64:44
uh
64:45
for lack of a better word tokenization
64:47
so as dr graham
64:48
articulates bean counting as um filling
64:52
the void so to speak and then what
64:54
happens when you're there it's very hard
64:56
to retain recruiting is only half the
64:59
battle you have to also retain those
65:00
faculty and you at least i was
65:04
thrown into a hostile environment where
65:06
i spoke my mind as i'm supposed to and
65:09
that rub people are the wrong way
65:10
meaning you have this unwritten code for
65:12
graduate students in the room about good
65:15
citizenship and what does that mean when
65:17
you're going up for promotion in tenure
65:19
you meet all the marks but they see a
65:21
good citizen
65:22
for our department even though that's
65:24
nowhere in the damn p t guidelines
65:27
but they're holding you to that standard
65:29
so i sued them
65:31
and won which actually
65:33
spring was a springboard to this
65:36
particular opportunity here at iu but
65:39
those were summer's issues that students
65:41
were upset about
65:43
the various incidents taking place on
65:44
campus and it will then come to my
65:47
office and then i have to navigate this
65:49
as a continued faculty person with these
65:51
senior colleagues many of which
65:53
never invite you to their home never
65:55
invite you to to dinner never invite you
65:58
even here i've been here nine years i
65:59
can't i don't know 90 people in history
66:01
department i'm sure they hang out all
66:03
the time i don't get those invitations
66:05
but so some of those things are still
66:07
very real just to be quite honest about
66:09
it um one small anecdotal example would
66:13
be
66:14
the hiring practices of recruiting and
66:16
retaining dei folks but we just can't
66:18
find a qualified person one incident in
66:21
kentucky we
66:22
have a hiring africanness
66:25
and the criteria seem to change
66:28
across these particular searches so for
66:30
one search it was very um very
66:33
remarkable to have experience outside
66:35
the academy um in the community maybe
66:38
working for a non-profit or a government
66:40
union or the or the united nations for
66:43
example right and i was very very looked
66:45
up as very promising and then that
66:48
changed when that the actual african
66:51
from the continent is one of the
66:52
candidates who can speak multiple
66:54
languages it was
66:55
seen as a a negative there's not enough
66:58
rigor and so of course the white male
67:00
was hired over the africans even though
67:02
the ding told us if we hire an
67:04
africanist or
67:06
someone from the continent we can get
67:08
two positions
67:09
but these folks are ego they're so
67:11
arrogant we're not going to let their
67:13
exact words we're not going to let the
67:14
digging dictate what we do in our
67:15
department and so they didn't hire this
67:18
person who was highly way more qualified
67:21
and hired the white male who is still
67:22
there
67:23
so these kinds of episodes and incidents
67:26
happened across the academy in all shape
67:28
forms and and and and processes
67:32
and so i spoke up at that meeting and i
67:34
and not to challenge them but just to
67:36
highlight the contradictions just we
67:38
have white boards in our rooms let's
67:40
look at the candidates here's the white
67:42
male here's the the brother from the
67:44
continent let's look at all his
67:45
publications accolades and these other
67:48
avenues that you think are our
67:50
positives and they far outweigh the
67:53
other one so why are we considering this
67:54
person he can't even speak a foreign
67:55
language which is the requirement of our
67:57
job advertisement but you still hire
67:59
this person and because i spoke up i was
68:02
considered not a good citizen so you get
68:04
these kinds of
68:06
examples all the time that's quite nice
68:08
about
68:08
it thank you for sharing that um jacoby
68:12
says since you have the the floor i'm
68:14
wondering if we could show the scene now
68:15
now this is kind of unfair i asked
68:17
jacoby to talk about the scene
68:19
and uh he didn't pick it himself uh but
68:22
mostly because of his
68:23
area of study and expertise um but this
68:27
is this is the scene on the quad uh
68:30
bill's quote-unquote apology that turns
68:32
out to be anything
68:34
but an apology um this is one of the
68:36
most controversial scenes of the show uh
68:38
because of the way that it depicts the
68:40
students uh of pembroke college and
68:42
maybe we could talk for a few minutes
68:43
about activism and then we'll have one
68:45
more scene with brenda and uh that'll be
68:47
the last one so um can we get this one
68:49
queued up and started thanks i haven't
68:51
used my bell at all because you've
68:53
seduced the timekeeper i for been
68:56
distracted
68:57
uh just listening to you all
68:59
so thank you for that
69:01
this is
69:03
literally the proverbial cast catch-22
69:05
right
69:06
damn it if you do damned if you don't um
69:09
but bill took a chance at it you know he
69:11
he gets some things right but he gets
69:12
much
69:13
much wrong
69:14
uh frankly
69:16
what's taking place in this scene i'm
69:18
hoping i'll have to describe all that um
69:21
it's i i i personally i should say
69:24
uh
69:25
love such engagements with students
69:28
personally
69:29
but that unfiltered but informed
69:31
conversations and debates about
69:34
emotional issues and subjects
69:37
the classroom for me is in my opinion is
69:40
one of the few places we have in our
69:42
society where we can have open honest
69:45
discussions about controversial and
69:47
emotional issues without the fear of
69:50
repercussions that's the purpose of the
69:51
classroom kind of what bill is trying to
69:53
allude to but he fails to do so
69:55
so he's right when he's talking about
69:57
the
69:58
university's values of discourse and
70:00
engagement we're going to disagree with
70:02
some things but civil discourse is what
70:04
we do in institution of higher learning
70:07
and enlightenment
70:08
me personally i've been on both sides of
70:11
this example in the clip unfortunately
70:15
uh i teach what many on the right may
70:18
believe is um
70:19
controversial subjects
70:21
like critical race theory protests
70:23
social justice movements civil rights
70:25
black power i mean heck my most popular
70:27
class is on the black panther party here
70:30
in indiana of all places to be teaching
70:32
that so
70:34
as a professor you know engaging
70:36
students that may be
70:38
what i call super invested in a
70:40
particular subject
70:42
i'm usually not willing for them but
70:44
super invested in in their positions
70:46
against my courses subject areas we have
70:48
these open honest robust conversation
70:50
debates it's good teaching moments and
70:54
also several times as a student um i've
70:56
led many protests and campaigns against
70:59
um professors who i thought were just
71:01
quite frankly racist
71:03
um and they were at the very least at
71:05
least racially insensitive regarding
71:07
some of their pedagogy approaches and
71:10
just needed to be challenged in some
71:12
ways so aside from um bill's obvious
71:15
white male privilege i don't want to
71:17
keep throwing that trope out it's
71:19
just his belief that he could joke about
71:21
using a white supremacist symbol in the
71:23
classroom
71:25
none of the context of what bill was
71:27
actually doing in the classroom was
71:28
conveyed by bill during the incident so
71:30
in the earlier clip
71:32
bill is actually teaching a lesson and
71:35
he's using this salute as a
71:38
attention getter then he goes into this
71:40
remarkable lecture about
71:42
these ideas of tolerance and so forth um
71:44
the problem is one student takes a
71:46
picture in which our 21st century social
71:49
media campaign sends it out and it goes
71:51
viral without any context and so what
71:54
bill does in this clip is fail to not
71:57
defend indefensible don't do that but at
71:59
least provide some context about what
72:01
you were doing
72:03
in the classroom to engage the students
72:06
and to continue the conversation and
72:08
maybe introduce those students who are
72:10
not there to the kinds of conversations
72:12
you have in the classroom he doesn't do
72:13
that
72:14
instead
72:16
what bill does he gets angry
72:18
and defensive and in my opinion just
72:21
becomes very arrogant and paternalistic
72:24
which is why
72:25
you can see the music
72:27
trending in the beginning of the clip
72:28
everything's going well then the music
72:30
starts and he gets silent and then it
72:32
snowballs down here from there
72:34
so at the very least
72:36
in part of those kind of conversations
72:38
um what he should have done in my
72:41
opinion which i've done in the past is
72:43
listen
72:44
and accept criticism when none of us are
72:47
above critiques
72:48
agree to disagree in some areas but all
72:50
parties are heard and respected and
72:52
engagement continues and hopefully also
72:54
evolves uh simply apologizing and
72:57
respecting their position is the
72:58
simplest thing to do there and accept
73:00
responsibility
73:01
and then also possibly use it as a
73:03
teaching moment for some context which
73:04
he tried to do in the beginning um for
73:07
me
73:08
the student's town hall regarding racial
73:11
justice that's mentioned by one of the
73:12
students i think that was the most
73:14
important aspect of that clip for me at
73:16
least in that scene
73:19
it demonstrates both the faculty
73:21
administration's lack of support and
73:22
involvement and an issue that is deeply
73:24
significant to most of the student body
73:27
so you can see that that
73:29
this this disconnect between the
73:31
students the faculty administration
73:34
but that's also consistent with the
73:35
academy we have those same episodes and
73:37
incidents here
73:39
this also speaks to
73:41
valerie's earlier point about why some
73:42
students don't what some students feel
73:44
about
73:45
not feel good about i'm sorry about the
73:47
about certain academic institutions when
73:49
they are here to engage these kinds of
73:51
higher learning episodes so i personally
73:53
appreciate the student's passion their
73:55
spiritual continue to fight and
73:56
challenge both legs of power on their
73:58
campus
73:59
regarding social justice because
74:01
students should hold us accountable but
74:02
at the same time
74:04
we must hold them accountable too
74:06
hence my
74:08
my comments earlier about being super
74:10
invested in a particular position
74:12
without being well informed in some
74:14
areas but that's why we are here to
74:16
learn and engage so what bill does there
74:19
is
74:20
uh quite frankly uses his his arrogance
74:23
and paternalism to attack the students
74:26
to become defensive and not respect
74:28
their positions not engage them and
74:30
that's just not what we should be doing
74:32
in as academics but also i do believe as
74:35
i began it's a catch-22 he's damned if
74:38
he does he dams he does it that incident
74:40
is not going to end well um i know he
74:43
had positive intentions there's no way
74:45
that kind of controversial episode after
74:48
image has gone viral in this day and age
74:50
is going to have a positive outcome um
74:52
so i know i wouldn't have called a town
74:54
hall to put myself in that situation
74:56
quite honestly
74:58
thank you jacob thank you
75:06
other comments on this scene
75:10
the depictions of students therein
75:14
go ahead stephen
75:19
i totally agree it's it's a really
75:21
difficult scene but i like your comment
75:24
it's amazing how often people will
75:26
simply not apologize for making a
75:28
mistake
75:29
and then when that gets rolled into the
75:31
subject position of the person declining
75:33
to admit
75:34
some kind of overstatement or
75:36
exaggeration or in his case just
75:39
stupidity i mean it was just a stupid
75:41
joke he's talking about fascism as
75:44
opposed to existentialism or absurdism
75:46
actually and
75:48
it's just stupid
75:49
but
75:51
he couldn't bring himself to say that
75:53
you know
75:54
it was consistent with all the other
75:56
bonehead things bill did in the academy
75:58
i'm not sure what
76:00
professor he's supposed to represent
76:03
at any institution i've been to that can
76:05
just get drunk
76:07
don't stop pornography on the screen
76:09
[Music]
76:10
miss class and there's no repercussions
76:13
whatsoever
76:15
so of course some of this is hyperbolic
76:16
and exaggerated but in this particular
76:19
scene the catch-22 is students when they
76:21
are invested they are going to respond
76:24
in these very emotional ways
76:26
so we have a responsibility as academics
76:29
to um to try to temper some of that
76:32
respect it here but also engage it but
76:35
what bill does is go on the defensive
76:38
uh and begins to have the the wrong kind
76:40
of approach which spout some of this out
76:42
of control you know with the dean and
76:43
the police officer
76:45
some of those things that he couldn't
76:46
could manage but he started the fire he
76:49
lit that fire but you can't keep doing
76:51
these bonehead things i will say one
76:52
thing um that i eliminated from my
76:55
comments but i guess i'll say now
76:57
is
76:58
because i keep trying to avoid going
76:59
back to the what i think is the obvious
77:01
undertones of the the program is white
77:03
male privilege i'm trying not to keep
77:07
bringing that that subject up but
77:09
i don't have that freedom as an
77:11
african-american male i don't have any
77:13
of these freedoms built
77:15
seems to present in this in these
77:17
episodes none whatsoever uh when i enter
77:20
the classroom uh the boys is right this
77:23
idea of double conscience here we are
77:25
still revoking the boys over 100 years
77:27
100 years later i'm often the only
77:29
african-american in the room um hell i
77:32
can go to church and director's meeting
77:33
still we don't have to make it in the
77:34
room so my race is sailing so when i
77:38
teach i'm very conscious how i'm
77:40
perceived when i'm in those meetings
77:41
chairs directors meetings and so forth
77:43
i'm very conscious of how i'm perceived
77:45
my blackness comes first
77:47
i'm teaching these students but i'm
77:50
black first who happens to be a
77:52
professor and i'm very conscious of that
77:54
and so the way i approach my pedagogy or
77:57
any meeting i'm very conscious of that i
77:59
don't have the ability to have the
78:01
freedom of bill to make bonehead
78:03
mistakes because that may somehow
78:06
indirectly
78:08
tarnish the opportunity for others who
78:10
come behind me or graduate students or
78:12
my representation of my department and
78:14
so forth and so on so i just don't know
78:16
what that freedom is i kind of envy him
78:18
i wish i could just be
78:19
willy-nilly and do stupid all the
78:21
time and
78:24
throw a finger up at the administration
78:25
where my job was on the line i don't
78:27
care like who who wrote this part for
78:29
this guy
78:30
this is not realistic honestly
78:34
it's actually
78:36
i don't think we have time to show it
78:37
but there's a
78:38
2016
78:40
similar moment right brenda at yale with
78:42
a with a white male professor who
78:45
goes out to the quad to talk about
78:47
incidents in the classroom um and it's
78:49
it's scripted exactly the same way do
78:51
you want to say something about uh yeah
78:53
you can find it on youtube it's 2015
78:56
halloween incident at yale
78:59
and basically what happened was that
79:01
yale university sent out a note to its
79:04
students asking them not to dress in
79:06
costumes that would be perceived as
79:08
appropriating anyone's cultural heritage
79:11
and
79:13
one of the faculty fellows in a dorm
79:17
felt that the students in the spirit of
79:21
debate and critical thinking should have
79:24
that conversation with themselves
79:27
and they were angry at the privilege she
79:30
showed a white woman in
79:33
dis
79:34
allowing the experience
79:36
that the university was trying to
79:39
acknowledge not that we can give yale a
79:41
whole lot of credit
79:43
and um
79:45
in that case her partner went out and
79:48
had
79:49
exactly the same kind of interaction
79:51
with the students
79:52
as bill does here and it's almost word
79:56
for word it's it's uh situated in the
79:59
same way where he's standing in a quad
80:02
with the students all around
80:04
[Music]
80:05
trying to
80:07
kind of direct the discourse by allowing
80:11
certain kinds of rational speech and the
80:14
students just having none of it and um
80:18
but that got picked up in
80:20
um you know national newspapers and
80:22
magazines as an egregious violation of
80:26
free speech right so it i it's clear
80:30
that amanda pete and
80:33
julie wyman the the screenwriters here
80:35
were aware of that incident and we're
80:37
bringing it into it as a kind of
80:40
intertextual moment to talk about
80:42
sort of flash points in the academy
80:44
right now as well as kind of other
80:46
things you know around cancel culture
80:48
and the meet you moment and things like
80:51
that yeah what what the main difference
80:53
that i notice in the youtube clip and
80:56
which is real and this
80:58
show
80:59
is that um
81:00
bill looks scared here um at times uh he
81:03
seems misunderstood and scared uh which
81:06
is not something he shows in other
81:08
scenes
81:09
and i'm i'm
81:10
kind of curious about that
81:12
the white guy scared um
81:15
he comes off as a sympathetic figure you
81:17
feel sorry for bill
81:19
poor bill i mean it's another
81:21
sentimentality that's written
81:23
let's undergird the series i don't feel
81:26
sorry for bill um
81:27
honestly
81:28
i don't know many people like bill i
81:30
think it's exaggerated in some ways but
81:32
there's some truth to some of the
81:34
privilege though
81:35
for sure for sure i think we should turn
81:37
to our last scene
81:38
um which also concerns bill
81:41
you know one of the things that we
81:42
really haven't discussed yet is that
81:43
there there seems to be two main
81:45
narrative threads to the show one is the
81:48
the sort of the administrative dramas um
81:50
on the campus and then there is an
81:53
entire family drama slash romance
81:55
between bill and june and they
81:57
crisscross in really really interesting
81:59
ways um particularly around the
82:01
character of bill who often seems like
82:04
another child at the at the
82:06
gene's home um but brenda's gonna talk
82:08
about this scene um it's it's between uh
82:12
bill and june and we'll just play it and
82:14
we'll take it from there
82:16
um so i it's warm in here and i i my
82:21
panelists have had such amazing things
82:22
to say that i'm going to be pretty brief
82:25
um i completely agree with you i think
82:27
that the the part of bill is written as
82:31
a
82:32
a kind of indulgent white male
82:34
heterosexual guy that can kind of get
82:36
away with anything and and and we see ji
82:39
yoon can't do those same things so if
82:42
you think of the chronology of the show
82:44
that the diegetic time of the show that
82:46
it offers to you it seems to open
82:49
in january it's super cold and it seems
82:51
to close in what early
82:54
spring so she basically she she
82:57
does not stay the chair i'll just
83:00
spoiler alert and
83:02
it pisses me off honestly that she can't
83:06
continue to be the chair that somehow
83:09
whatever he did so undermined her
83:12
position
83:13
that she needs to step away and that the
83:16
overall logic of the program actually
83:19
endorses that
83:21
suggesting that they're both happier
83:24
living outside of that administrative
83:27
role or any kind of claim to authority
83:30
or decision making because they're there
83:32
for the teaching
83:34
and uh and in fact there's you know a
83:37
kind of moment in the hearing that
83:39
happens later in this episode where
83:42
bill is sort of talking about the text
83:45
and ji yoon hears him talking about the
83:47
text and it's a sort of moment of minds
83:49
meeting together and so therefore she
83:52
doesn't need to be the chair anymore
83:54
because they'll always have the text
83:56
it's like casablanca right
83:58
so i i found that really irritating um
84:02
and and uh as many of my panelists i've
84:06
been on both sides of both of the town
84:08
hall
84:09
and of the debate where um there are
84:13
differing notions about what is the
84:14
right thing to do
84:16
and i don't think that the show itself
84:20
is willing to give credit to the
84:22
possibility that there could be multiple
84:24
truths happening here at once
84:26
it has the students speaking truth to
84:29
power
84:30
and yet it also kind of pushes them off
84:32
as an anonymous mob
84:34
that and can just sort of scream outside
84:37
the windows and not really have a very
84:40
nuanced position of what happens and as
84:43
we get to know bill and g yoon moore the
84:46
credibility of those critiques is
84:48
further and further undermined so we
84:52
feel sympathetic toward bill or we see
84:54
he's a good guy he can take care of kids
84:56
he can make dinner
84:59
all of these ways that are supposed to
85:01
make him redemptive
85:03
as this figure and
85:06
and that the kind of romance plot that's
85:08
happening there in some ways is meant to
85:11
bring him back around now when the show
85:14
starts at the very beginning
85:16
ji yoon opens a plaque says like chief
85:19
85:20
big charge or something like
85:22
that um
85:23
and and she has gotten that from bill
85:26
and so bill had just been the chair
85:30
now we also know bill is a hot mess and
85:34
he's lost his wife in the last year he's
85:37
you know peeing in public places he's
85:39
like drunk he's late for class
85:42
he doesn't verge into all of these other
85:45
academic media stereotypes like the
85:47
wonder boys where he's sleeping with his
85:50
students and all of that and i was
85:51
really intrigued that they they never
85:54
really wanted bill to do something in
85:57
their mind that was irrevocable right so
86:00
he does do the nazi salute but he does
86:03
it uh you know in this sort of moment of
86:06
really bad choice in the classroom not
86:09
as some sort of ideological
86:11
gesture and they are kind of bent over
86:14
backwards trying to make clear to you
86:16
that bill's just a misunderstood kind of
86:20
guy
86:21
and that he really loves to teach and so
86:24
therefore ought to be allowed to teach i
86:27
think that's the kind of
86:28
larger logic of the show and again i i
86:31
found i found it really concerning that
86:35
what they did with ji yoon's part in
86:37
relation to that that she has a
86:41
ineffective power
86:44
management style that people really
86:46
don't listen to her she can't get much
86:48
done she doesn't have vision she gets no
86:51
learning curve she just got thrown into
86:53
the job and then yanked right back out
86:55
of it again and that's never held up as
86:58
any kind of
87:00
um
87:02
what a violation of of
87:05
for her um that it really was
87:08
it's all to the good that she's not
87:10
having to do this position of authority
87:13
and i found that quite disturbing
87:15
um i also there's
87:17
you don't see it here but june has a
87:19
daughter juju
87:20
uh who is adopted and that's really a
87:23
huge part of the
87:25
the narrative that's being laid out here
87:28
but there's a very disturbing kind of
87:30
logic about
87:31
natural
87:33
gender happening where the the mother
87:36
figure is undermined because of her
87:39
incapacities
87:40
to mothers so juju always picks bill
87:43
before she picks ji yoon
87:46
and
87:48
what what isn't really talked about that
87:50
i think could have and should have been
87:52
talked about and it sort of speaks steve
87:54
to your par to your point
87:57
is
87:58
that she probably had to adopt because
88:01
she didn't continue until her mid-40s
88:04
and because she was working so hard on
88:07
her own economic security that her
88:09
biological clock elapsed before her
88:11
tenure clock did and
88:14
so not becoming a mother until you're in
88:17
your mid to late 40s is not an uncommon
88:19
phenomenon
88:21
for women in the academy another reason
88:23
why many people don't retire
88:27
is because like for instance me i didn't
88:29
even start my job until i was 41 because
88:31
it took so long to actually get the phd
88:34
right so there's a way that those
88:36
temporalities
88:38
are
88:39
obscured in this kind of a program that
88:42
makes it looks like obviously if you're
88:44
this age you're an old codger and you
88:46
should be gone and uh or if you're an
88:49
adoptive mother you're not as good a
88:50
mother as their real father and you know
88:53
there were just a lot of kind of
88:54
disturbing sorts of messages even as it
88:58
was telling this so-called amusing story
89:01
that being said i do think you should
89:03
watch the show
89:05
and i want to give full credit not only
89:07
to
89:09
the screenwriter the english phd but to
89:11
amanda pete because a lot of people have
89:13
undermined her
89:15
um as being partnered with david benoit
89:18
from game of thrones and that feels to
89:21
me like a really
89:23
unfair
89:24
kind of critique to suggest that she
89:27
can't be a viable screenwriter or
89:29
showrunner because it's her husband that
89:32
got her the job
89:34
valerie and then patty yes
89:36
so um
89:38
i i like your perspective on on bill and
89:42
um
89:44
professor g
89:46
i want to sort of go in another
89:48
direction
89:49
having
89:50
said as um
89:52
chair for 12 years when i was the chair
89:55
and when i became chair i um
89:59
so i was the
90:00
the youngest person
90:02
in my department
90:03
i was a woman and obviously i'm
90:06
african-american
90:08
so
90:09
the person we haven't talked about and i
90:12
lay
90:12
75 of the mess at his feet is the dean
90:16
i think the dean is awful in this
90:18
situation and i think most dena office
90:21
awful
90:22
in conflict because they want to smell
90:25
like a rose
90:27
chairs are only the
90:29
the first among
90:31
their colleagues you're the first to
90:33
take the hit
90:34
and the last to get credit for anything
90:36
that's happened that's good
90:38
but deans have power and that dean could
90:41
have taken control of bill in a way
90:44
where it wouldn't have undermined the
90:46
chair in the way that it did
90:49
it left me wondering whether if the
90:51
chair g had been a man how would that
90:54
dean had dealt with the male tear
90:57
whether he would have dealt with the
90:58
male tear any differently than dealing
91:01
with that woman he almost forced
91:03
her to be like bill's mama you take care
91:06
of your boy and make sure he gets to
91:08
where he needs to go until we have made
91:10
a decision
91:11
and i think women chairs are often
91:14
forced to be mamas
91:16
not only with khalid but with graduate
91:18
students and i think that is because of
91:21
the lack of
91:22
invested power and authority that the
91:25
dean has to help with situations
91:27
and they don't and so i think the dean
91:30
is the most awful person in this scene
91:32
in in this storyline
91:35
yes i've never heard of a d knowing the
91:38
love song of j alfred prufrock that just
91:40
would never happen
91:42
he knows proofrock that could never
91:44
happen
91:46
i just wanted to um
91:48
say that
91:49
you know it it's
91:51
clear in a lot of places that the only
91:53
power that june has is suasive power she
91:57
keeps going around and she has to try to
91:59
persuade
92:00
people to do the kinds of you know sort
92:02
of so-called soft power um whereas the
92:06
dean is laying down the law that he
92:07
can't enforce
92:09
and the only way she can enforce it
92:11
without everything blowing up right is
92:13
by trying to persuade and manage people
92:16
by being kind of emotionally intelligent
92:18
in certain ways even though she's also
92:20
on the other hand
92:21
um sort of depicted in the way brenda
92:23
was pointing out as as a i don't know
92:26
maybe good enough mother or not quite
92:28
good enough mother um in ways that are
92:30
really
92:31
uh difficult there were two um
92:34
other points i just wanted to say and
92:35
one is that she does this brilliant
92:37
thing with the david duchovny subplot
92:40
where she gets an endowed chair
92:43
for the department
92:45
right so that he steps aside and doesn't
92:47
do that right
92:49
an incredibly brilliant and fantastic
92:52
success and yet she still has to step
92:55
down as chair i mean like why isn't she
92:58
being like high-fived on the island
93:00
so then the kind of fundamental question
93:03
i have is
93:04
it seemed to me that the satire sits
93:06
really uneasily
93:08
with a lot of these these really serious
93:11
power
93:12
questions that we've been bringing up
93:13
and so i i guess i just have a question
93:15
for everybody which is you know
93:18
should this not be a satire is there
93:20
something about the satire that makes it
93:22
impossible to to
93:25
you know to
93:27
to think about the really serious issues
93:30
in anything but these sort of
93:32
interpersonal kinds of
93:34
you know satirical ways character flaws
93:38
in this guy or that guy you know it's
93:40
her dissertation she's she like is an
93:42
expert on the comic novel right but this
93:44
is really a tragedy
93:45
i know we're running late but i i just
93:47
have to agree with valerie
93:50
no dean worth a nickel
93:53
would throw a brand new department chair
93:56
into you got to get these three senior
93:58
people out
93:59
you got to take care of this guy who's
94:01
made a terrible mistake and is going to
94:03
get fired
94:05
and no dean i've ever met would have
94:07
ronnie in the room
94:09
discussing a personnel decision that
94:12
would never and should
94:14
never happen
94:15
plus she's supposed to be the um
94:18
prosecutor she's supposed to present the
94:21
evidence against him which was a massive
94:24
massive
94:25
but the the one thing that we didn't
94:27
talk about is the lack of support of her
94:29
colleagues
94:30
that she's trying to man manage this
94:32
ship at the same time she had all these
94:34
colleagues working against her um even
94:37
the the female the women colleagues as
94:39
well right so yeah all this is just too
94:41
much to handle it's just ridiculous
94:43
well i we're almost at the end of our
94:45
our our time if not have exceeded it but
94:47
i i would like to just take maybe one or
94:49
two questions from the audience if
94:50
that's okay just to hear what everyone's
94:52
thinking about or comments yes jen may
94:54
thank you so
94:59
of you for being much this was wonderful
95:01
i look forward to just so much i did
95:03
also want to add that there's a kind of
95:05
elephant oh we can't have any let me see
95:08
that there's a bit of an elephant in
95:10
this room which is very clever to have
95:14
chairs talk about chairs one thing that
95:16
is also not represented on this show
95:19
that is triggering for many of us
95:22
economics wise is that there's no
95:24
representation and i don't know that's
95:25
what i study pop
95:31
[Music]
95:34
and that is the biggest
95:37
ever so while i have enormous
95:40
sympathy for people that are making a
95:41
hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars
95:43
a year and are afraid of retiring
95:46
there's a step there's a certain part of
95:48
this that is also really
95:51
you know upsetting and compelling the
95:53
fact that students are this pissed off i
95:55
think has something to do
95:57
with the fact that their administrative
95:59
budgets that include that guy who's
96:02
supposed to be the chair of a diversity
96:06
mandate whatever his freaking name is
96:10
uh who thinks more than all faculty
96:12
right
96:13
um and i just wanted to say that i think
96:16
that there could be a kind of class
96:18
analysis also to this so i think all of
96:21
your readings were really really really
96:24
good
96:24
um in particular you know i studied
96:27
about those returning so i've been
96:28
texting my son because i'm a single
96:30
mother without tenure
96:32
so
96:33
uh that's why i had to go so soon so i
96:36
just wanted to not as a critique of the
96:38
panel or anything anybody said but i do
96:40
think it's an important thing
96:42
and uh our students
96:45
are also probably anxious and angry
96:48
because they're excluded
96:50
as workers
96:52
right
96:53
uh and i think that that needs to be uh
96:57
acknowledged the university runs
97:00
them
97:01
and they're not getting these salaries
97:03
remotely so i just i wanted to thank you
97:05
all for that but i didn't want to leave
97:08
without saying something about what a
97:12
huge
97:13
uh gap is
97:15
thank you jen that's definitely
97:16
appreciated for sure um and there's a
97:19
lot of interesting articles about the
97:20
the soul graduate student
97:22
um and the way that
97:24
she's kind of caught in the crosshairs
97:26
of all of this um can i can i say too
97:28
that annie julie wyman
97:30
talks about having fallen into harvard i
97:33
don't know how you fall into harvard but
97:36
the reason she was available to
97:39
go into television and to write scripts
97:41
is because she couldn't get a job in
97:43
academia so it
97:45
she had a story to tell
97:47
and and
97:48
it didn't make it into this
97:51
text
97:54
thanks jan thank you good to see you
97:56
any other comments from the audience
97:58
yes sir
98:00
[Music]
98:13
that's not a
98:14
question yeah
98:17
well i
98:18
i spend a lot of time with my colleagues
98:21
and one on one time i would go to lunch
98:25
with them
98:26
when they would take their smoke breaks
98:28
i don't smoke but i would go down and
98:30
and
98:31
and just take the smoke inhale the smoke
98:34
because i
98:35
i wanted to hear what they were thinking
98:37
i learned
98:39
i learned
98:40
what they could take i had one colleague
98:43
i know
98:44
um if i had to vote on something very
98:46
critical i know his patient for a lot of
98:48
craziness wasn't long so i would say to
98:52
him we'll start the meeting with the
98:53
vote
98:54
20 minutes we're going to this vote is
98:55
going to happen if you can hang on 20
98:58
minutes you can go
98:59
and so i think it's it's i think that is
99:02
one part of it but what i tried to do
99:05
was to keep the department out in front
99:08
that this is our house and this is where
99:10
we live we're either going to
99:13
make it strong together we're going to
99:14
burn it down separately and i think i
99:17
just kept trying to say
99:19
we have to stick together we have to
99:21
stick together and some people heard
99:23
that mess and that just comes out of the
99:25
struggle of
99:26
of of of black people and and
99:29
understanding when you're small in
99:30
numbers you have to stick together and
99:33
and and so some people bought into that
99:35
other people didn't quite understand the
99:38
idea that that that in in the house we
99:41
can have what issues but outside of the
99:44
house
99:45
you can't and i try to push a lot about
99:48
how you be professional you can talk
99:51
about your colleagues at around the
99:53
table but when you outside of
99:55
your department you don't bash your
99:57
colleagues you don't
99:59
you don't do you don't talk about your
100:01
department and so i tried to
100:04
model for them
100:06
what i thought was a healthy way of
100:08
being both open about if you got told
100:10
them you got an issue with me you could
100:12
come to my office cause i can get you
100:14
off of me and so but but but if you got
100:18
something you want to say outside of me
100:21
then there's a way we can talk about
100:23
about that too so i think just saying
100:26
this is what we have you know this is
100:28
the house that working together is going
100:30
to build or not working together is
100:32
going to destroy and i said that every
100:34
faculty we're going to have to choose
100:37
which one of these roads we want to take
100:39
and so the buy-in comes from that and
100:42
it's not easy because faculty members
100:44
are also individuals and you always got
100:47
somebody who is greater in their eyes
100:49
than what the record indicates
100:51
and you have to
100:53
you have to deal with that
100:55
if if i can just add in here i
100:57
completely agree with everything you
100:59
said the other thing i would just say is
101:01
that one of the rules i had when i was
101:03
chair and i was the i was the second
101:05
woman chair in this english department
101:08
here in its history and the first one in
101:10
like 25 years so there was some learning
101:13
curve of the department i think getting
101:15
used to right but but one was i i
101:18
um
101:19
i made a commitment to myself that i was
101:21
never gonna be defensive that i was
101:23
gonna let people say what they wanted to
101:26
say
101:27
and and part of how i managed that for
101:30
myself was by thinking about
101:32
um
101:33
the fact that part of p part of the way
101:35
people were reacting to me wasn't about
101:37
me patty it was about the fact that i
101:40
was in this role and there was you know
101:43
there's this thing called the king's two
101:44
bodies that i study in you know in
101:47
medieval history where there's the body
101:49
of the kid the actual physical person
101:51
who's the king but then there's just the
101:53
the body of the king in the position i
101:55
began thinking about the chairs two
101:57
bodies and so really trying not to take
102:00
things personally even though there were
102:02
believe me plenty of
102:04
opportunities when and things may even
102:07
have been meant personally but but that
102:09
kind of helped me be better able to
102:12
listen
102:13
to people
102:14
and hear what their
102:17
why they were acting in the ways that
102:20
they were acting that was destructive
102:22
right or that was not you know sort of
102:25
helpful in moving forward
102:27
so and it was it's exhausting so it's
102:29
why
102:30
you know you know i was four years in
102:32
out
102:33
well i also i also think that the
102:35
question about dealing with all those
102:37
people i'm i was chair for five and a
102:39
half years and
102:40
a dean for eight and a half years
102:42
and i learned i think the first my first
102:45
term as chair
102:46
there are going to be a certain
102:47
percentage of faculty at that time
102:48
they're patti 55 or 60 faculty and 125
102:52
graduate students so there are a lot of
102:54
people to talk to
102:55
they're going to be five or six people
102:56
that you are not
102:58
going to let
103:00
push you around and bully you
103:02
raise your blood pressure you know i had
103:04
a faculty member email on friday night
103:07
10 45 p.m 11 15 pm 12 05 a.m 1 30 a.m 1
103:12
45 and so i just said i'm not reading
103:14
any more of your emails
103:16
you're just not going to do it
103:18
you're not going to bully me by email
103:20
and i know other people on this panel
103:23
analogous situation
103:27
i think i think maybe
103:29
we should stop there i wanted to say
103:30
something about this that
103:32
um there's an interesting article i
103:33
think it's in in maybe the the atlantic
103:36
by kevin detmer who is a chair at pomona
103:39
uh right now
103:41
and
103:41
he makes his point that just really run
103:44
true with me that's that
103:46
certainly at a big university like iu
103:48
there's there's an economy of
103:50
enrollments and big salaries and big
103:53
egos and an economy of rankings that we
103:57
all hear about all the time
103:58
and then there's this other economy that
104:00
you don't see or hear about and it's a
104:02
this it's an economy of care
104:05
between the people that like work in in
104:07
the buildings here and
104:09
that's that's the economy that really
104:11
makes the university tick and and hold
104:14
together
104:15
um all these people just even doing this
104:18
panel which is an uncompensated panel um
104:21
right they're doing this because they
104:23
care
104:24
for and for no other reason
104:26
and
104:27
these chairs care and my staff cares and
104:30
our student interns care
104:32
and they're all here right now like
104:34
keeping this this all together it
104:35
doesn't run without that at all and i
104:39
think the show at its best shows that
104:41
people caring um and trying to trying to
104:44
make it work for each other um so i just
104:46
wanna i wanna thank everyone that was
104:48
involved in this wonderful production
104:50
tonight and i want to thank everyone who
104:51
showed up um we're recording it it'll be
104:54
online soon i hope so you can share it
104:57
with others but i'll email you all
104:59
to let you know it's out but thanks
105:01
again please a round of applause for
105:02
these wonderful
105:11
[Applause]