New York Times recently reported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits, as the ever-insightful Sarah Kendzior writes in Al Jazeera this week.
“Most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the poverty line. Some are on welfare or homeless. “Others depend on charity drives held by their peers. Adjuncts are generally not allowed to have offices or participate in faculty meetings. When they ask for a living wage or benefits, they can be fired. Their contingent status allows them no recourse.
“No one forces a scholar to work as an adjunct. So why do some of America’s brightest PhDs – many of whom are authors of books and articles on labour, power, or injustice – accept such terrible conditions?
“Path dependence and sunk costs must be powerful forces,” speculates political scientist Steve Saidemen in a post titled “The Adjunct Mystery”. In other words, job candidates have invested so much time and money into their professional training that they cannot fathom abandoning their goal – even if this means living, as Saidemen says, like “second-class citizens”. (He later downgraded this to “third-class citizens”.)
With roughly 40 percent of academic positions eliminated since the 2008 crash, most adjuncts will not find a tenure-track job. Their path dependence and sunk costs will likely lead to greater path dependence and sunk costs – and the costs of the academic job market are prohibitive. Many job candidates must shell out thousands of dollars for a chance to interview at their discipline’s annual meeting, usually held in one of the most expensive cities in the world. In some fields, candidates must pay to even see the job listings. Continue reading “The academic underclass”
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has delivered a historic national apology in parliament to the thousands of unwed mothers who were forced by government policies to give up their babies for adoption over several decades, reports Al Jazeera
“More than 800 people cried and cheered as they listened to the apology in the Great Hall of Parliament House on Thursday. They responded with a standing ovation when it was finished.
“A national apology was recommended a year ago by a senate committee that investigated the impacts of the now-discredited policies. Continue reading “Australia’s forced adoptions”
Now that the Sistine Chapel’s makeshift chimney has been dismantled, the American Sunday talk show pundits have speculated on Pope Francis’ potential, and all the religion correspondents have departed Vatican City for home, it is time to reopen a mystifying chapter in the most recent saga of American Catholic ecclesiastical missteps. As Al Jazeera reports:
“On the eve of President Obama’s signature on the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, five leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier last week attacked the necessary legislation. This move not only confirms that the bishops are out of touch with American society, but also proves that they are ready to disregard their own longstanding justice commitments – and millions of domestic violence victims – for the sake of a few unrelated legal points. Continue reading “The bishops against women club”
A new study adds a gendered dimension to the rise in adult obesity, suggesting a correlation between women who work outside the home and women who are overweight.
This news is sure to feed conservative arguments favoring traditional gender roles, although fortunately one media outlet – Al Jazeera -takes issues with such assumptions, as excerpted below Continue reading “Working women, weight, and biased science”
Facebook Inc has said that it been the target of a series of attacks by an unidentified hacker group, but it had found no evidence that user data was compromised, reports today’s Al Jazeera.
“’Last month, Facebook security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack,’ the company said in a blog post posted on Friday afternoon, just before the three-day Presidents Day weekend. ‘The attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised.’
“The social network, which says it has more than one billion active users worldwide, also said: ‘Facebook was not alone in this attack. It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well.’ Continue reading “Facebook hacked again”
A Cairo court has ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for a month for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world, reports Al Jazeera.
“Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered on Saturday Youtube’s suspension in the country over the film, which he described as “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad)”. Tawfiq made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, leading to the deaths of more than 50 people.
“YouTube’s parent company, Google, declined requests to remove the video from the website last year, but restricted access to it in certain countries, including Egypt, Libya and Indonesia, because it says the video broke laws in those countries. At the height of the protests in September, YouTube was ordered blocked in several countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah issued an order blocking all websites with access to the anti-Islam film in the kingdom. Continue reading “Egypt blocks YouTube”
Alternative news sources from around the world are reporting today about findings from the Open Society Justice, documenting how 54 countries have been helped the American CIAin it’s kidnapping program, known as “rendition,” in which terrorism suspects were held in secret prisons overseas or turned
over to foreign governments for interrogation.
Governments in Europe, Asia and Africa have been secretly involved in global kidnap, detention and torture of at least 136 people on behalf of the United States after September 11, 2001 attacks, reports Al Jazeera.
“’By engaging in torture and other abuses associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, the US government violated domestic and international law, Continue reading “CIA gets kidnapping help from around the globe”
Over 50 years ago the United States launched a comprehensive embargo against Cuba, aimed at isolating the country and bringing it to political and economic ruin.
But Cuba keeps chugging along, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and its other bigger friends.
And yesterday they just had another election, as reported by Al Jazeera:
“Ailing Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has made a surprise appearance in Havana to vote in parliamentary polls, expressing confidence in the revolution despite a decades-long US trade embargo. Castro’s visit to the voting precinct in Havana’s El Vedado neighbourhood was the main event in Sunday’s elections, during which Cubans chose 612 members of the National Assembly as well as deputies of local legislatures.
“The 86-year-old is said to have spent up to an hour talking to other voters and the media after casting his vote. About 8.5 million Cubans took part in the polls that featured no opposition candidates. Continue reading “Fidel’s revolution continues”
Globally speaking, not much money goes to schools. Which is too bad since so many other issues can be traced back to education. How about a billionaire like Bill Gates taking up global education?
“This week, business leaders are gathering in Davos to debate global priorities at the World Economic Forum” reports Al Jazeera. The forum declares itself to be “committed to improving the state of the world”. So why isn’t education higher up on the agenda?
“On the face of it, there should be little need to make the business case for education. It is intrinsically tied to all positive development outcomes. Economic growth, health, nutrition and democracy are all boosted by quality schooling. If all children in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, poverty would fall by 12 percent – and that’s good for business. The private sector benefits directly from an educated, skilled workforce. Continue reading “Billions for the world’s schools?”
A national operation in China has busted nine child abduction gangs, arresting 355 suspects and rescuing 89 children. According to Al Jazeera,
“China’s Ministry of Public Security said on Monday that it conducted the nine-province operation in December after receiving reports of child abductions from southern China’s Fujian and Yunnan provinces.
“The ministry said the child trafficking activities spanned several provinces and that the suspects bought abducted children in provinces including Yunnan and Sichuan and transported them to other provinces, where they were sold for huge profits.
Continue reading “China acts to stop child trafficking”
A classic example of “worlding” in it’s imperialistic application is discussed in an essay entitled “The fallacy of the phrase. ‘the Muslim world” by Sarah Kendzior, appearing in Al Jazeera. As Kendzior writes, “The day after the attacks on the US diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, the New York Times set out to explain what it called the “anguished relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.’ According to the Times, the ‘Muslim world’ was prone to outbursts of violence, and the reaction to the 14-minute anti-Islam movie trailer The Innocence of Muslims was both baffling and predictable. ‘Once again, Muslims were furious,’ wrote reporter Robert F Worth, ‘and many in the West found themselves asking why Islam seems to routinely answer such desecrations with violence.’ Continue reading “Fallacy of the term, ‘the Muslim world’”