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Eighty percent of life …

…says Woody Allen, is just showing up; but UD wonders if he’s ever read Baudrillard on the postmodern simulacrum. Not showing up, these days, is far more powerful. Having your name appear as an instructor in a course catalog, a faculty member in a new university’s promotional materials, or a co-author on a scientific article, is pretty much the whole deal these days for a lot of people. You go to Harvard because Professor Famous teaches there; her picture’s plastered all over the glossies Harvard sent your secondary school. But when you get to Cambridge it turns out PF plus many other luminaries are on rolling leaves without pay. A few other PFs are in residence, but they’re teaching vast lectures and manifest themselves to you as pinheads at the dark end of a cavern.

Paul Fain, in Inside Higher Education, has a good piece on Cambridge Graduate University which features an

ambitious list of faculty members, many of whom had never heard of the university… [CGU’s head] said the university created its website only a few months ago, and that the concept is still evolving.

Wherever the concept goes, it’s going to be cutting-edge.

Margaret Soltan, October 20, 2012 9:14AM
Posted in: where the simulacrum ends

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2 Responses to “Eighty percent of life …”

  1. Derek Says:

    Which of course brings up the question, is it more embarrassing to be listed on that faculty without having heard of it, or given the exigencies of status anxiety in the academy, not to be considered elite enough to be on the list? Imagine the awkwardness in the faculty lounge, running into a colleague who is not seen as elite enough to make the cut at good old CGU when you were featured. Sure, you were furious, but how must poor, inconsequential Professor Dixon feel, not even good enough to feature on a fake excellent faculty!


  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Derek: A complex and sad scenario.

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