This is a blog primarily for graduate students lost in the ivory maze, but we also welcome PhDs outside the ivory tower, alternative academics, and anyone else interested in such topics. Our particular focus is within the humanities, but all disciplines are welcome.
You’ll see the neologism #alt-ac a lot around here; it stands for “alternative academic,” a hybrid professional identity within academia. In her 2010 article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Bethany Nowviskie writes:
the #alt-ac label speaks to a broad set of hybrid, humanities-oriented professions centered in and around the academy, in which there are rich opportunities to put deep — often doctoral-level — training in scholarly disciplines to use. Recent #alt-ac conversation online additionally tends to focus on the digital humanities, a community of practice marrying sophisticated understanding of traditional disciplines with new tools and methods.
If they are to serve us well, academic IT, libraries, publishing, humanities labs and centers, funders and foundations, focused research projects, cultural heritage institutions, and higher ed administration require a healthy influx of people who understand scholarship and teaching from the inside. That our culture for many years has labeled these people “failed academics” is a failure of imagination.
We’re a community of PhDs and graduate students at different stages along different paths, but we’re all interested in exploring the possibilities off the tenure-track.
alternative phd: I am a PhD student in English at a small research university (USA). By some estimates, there are approximately 3 times as many applicants as jobs in my field, but my program says that it’s “not our responsibility” to support graduate students in the search for meaningful careers outside the conventional tenure track. So I started this blog.
If you would like to contribute or commiserate, please email me: alternativephd [at] gmail [dot] com
Additional contributor bios will be up soon!