It’s not what you know, but who you know. It’s not what you do, but where you do it. Underlying such facile assertions, there lies at least a little truth—and, for academics, a complex web of relationships. Academic affiliations confer value and identity on individuals, disciplines, and institutions. They have a formative and formidable role in determining the status and self-image of academics and institutions. The subtleties and implications of such a system—in personal and professional terms—are the subject of this timely and thought-provoking volume. Here writers from all walks of academic life interweave personal experiences and critical insights to reveal the inner workings of affiliation in contemporary academic culture.
These essays take up topics ranging from scholars’ attitudes toward their affiliated institutions to publishing in academic journals, from the phenomenon of the academic star system to activism among tenured professors, from the perils of crossing disciplinary boundaries to the merits of mentoring through affiliation. Together they offer a frank, firsthand view of the ways and means and the uses and abuses of affiliation in higher education today—a view that is sure to provoke discussion throughout academia.
Jeffrey R. Di Leo is an assistant professor of English and philosophy at the University of Houston–Victoria and editor of the journal symploke.
“Contributors lay bare the myth of an academic meritocracy, provide insight into the importance of relationships among individuals and between individuals and their institutions, and analyze the influence of personal, disciplinary, and institutional relationships on professional identities. . . . The essays illuminate a troubling aspect of academic culture.”—Kristen A. Renn, Academe
“Affiliations is a guide, with ideas and insights, into the modern languages and literature during a period of stress and change. . . . One of the most attractive elements of these essays is their genuine commitment to—and genuine delight in—reading, writing, and teaching.”—Catharine R. Stimpson, American Book Review