the economics of academia: an open question

This post is about language and about travel. And this is a post directed more toward my readers who have served time, as it were, in academia, either professionally or as a student. But, of course, it is certainly not limited to those folks. Whatever your background, feel free to chime in!

In the days of yore, when Buddhist Studies was just emerging as a distinct discipline in European and American higher education, it was more or less expected that if you wanted to do Buddhist studies work, you were going to have to learn the traditional Buddhist languages: Pali and Sanskrit. Probably some classical Chinese and maybe even Tibetan. Serious east-Asian scholars would need to learn Japanese as well and to the extent that 99.9% of academics back in the day were well-educated white men with a classical education, they were no doubt coming to their fields having learned Latin and French and/or German in secondary school or college. Polyglots ruled the school.

To this day, there remains a certain breed of scholar who believes that real Buddhist Studies work requires language study. Real Buddhism is to be found in the texts, in the words of the Buddha, and to read those texts you need to know the language. And these folks will be quick to tell you what a travesty it is that the number of mono-linguists seems to be outpacing the number of polyglots.

how to get people to comment on your blog

Here’s three easy steps to get people commenting on your blog: Write a very articulate, insightful, thoughtful piece about anything, preferably something controversial that’s liable to get posted to Digg or some other social bookmarking site. Misspell some very common word, preferably a homonym, homophone, or use both the British and American spellings of a […]

an entry about nothing

The author, Mr. McIntire, is not earning his keep, along with the Editor, and as such they should both be fired. Immediately. I would never allow such incompetent people to work for my company. This is inexcusable. What rubbish! from the comments on the NYT’s “The Caucus.” You know what I love? Hyperbole. My favorite […]

i have something to say

It’s about grammar and punctuation and correct spelling and elements of style on the web. Here’s why. Well, actually, more it was this. What sticks in my mind is the amount of anger and frustration people have toward those of us who post things on the internet, in Craigslist, chat rooms, or blogs and don’t […]

academic name dropping

So right now, as we speak, I am in the center of a typhoon of academic name dropping. A little while ago, two women I work with ran into Judith Butler in the cafe in our building. It’s not that uncommon to see high profile, “famous” academics from Berkeley in these parts. But the encounter […]