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!


7 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 Craig Bellamy November 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Hi mate. You should put you name on your blog.

    • 2 alternativephd November 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, that’s probably true. But given the reception of this kind of (apparently wildly deviant) thinking in my department, I prefer anonymity for now. Thanks for stopping by, though!

  2. 3 Mrs. H. March 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I understand your need for anonymity. I’m with you on that, big time. I just wanted to stop by and thank you for the advice and support. I’ve actually just printed off three of your posts so that I can read them and share them with fellow ABD friends as needed (with attribution, of course!). I’m currently writing a dissertation (nearing halfway drafted, too) and planning to graduate on August 6th (this year). I’ve come round to the realization that although I’ve enjoyed being a student, I really am not cut out to be a professor like I originally thought. I just hate the job, lol! I’m getting my PhD in English literature (Shakespeare and stage cross-dressing, specifically…obviously super-marketable…sigh), and am planning on leaving Academia behind and never looking back after I walk off that stage in August. I haven’t had time to read through your blog completely just yet, but I know I’ll love it. I also discuss my shift from professorial training to…the wild blue yonder…in my blog as well, if you’re interested. Thank you in advance for your suggestions and support. Lord knows there’s very little support coming from our programs when we decide to “deviate” from the plan.

    • 4 alternativephd March 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. H! I’m really glad you’re finding this outlet of mine useful in some way. I’m looking forward to reading your blog, too. Even if not super-marketable, Shakespeare and stage cross-dressing sounds pretty cool! =)

  3. 5 disposable critic August 26, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Hello alternative,

    thanks for setting up this website. It’s important for us to be visible on the net. I started a blog that’s more about the cultural and political side of being on the margins of academe. It’s a bit incoherent, but it might be of some interest to others who are in this situation and considering alternative jobs.

  1. 1 Snagged from the cloud recently « Hope's Centre-Table Trackback on November 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm
  2. 2 10 best non academic blogs | Trackback on January 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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