Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

New blog name: Ph.D. Octopus

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by weiner

We started with the Wcubed, but that doesn’t work anymore, as we’ve added a fourth whose name doesn’t begin with w. We moved to CaNaRd, but that conjured up all sorts of quackery.

So now we’re at Ph.D. Octopus.

The name comes from pragmatist philosopher William James‘ 1903 article, which laments the pursuit of the doctoral degree as a “love of titles” unbefitting a country that spurned knighthood and nobility.

This is not to say that we doctoral students of history believe the Ph.D. to be a mere “academic bauble.” We look forward to earning our doctorates (and hopefully tenure-track positions not long after that) and entering the Ivory Tower of Higher Learning.

But, like James, I think I can speak for my fellow bloggers (at least some of them) in asserting that, to borrow the old cliche, we value learning for learning’s sake. We believe that universities “ought to keep truth and disinterested labor always in the foreground.”

At the same time, like James, I think we’ve all been inspired by the rallying cry of the Dreyfusards, to be pragmatic with our historical knowledge, to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom (and the libraries and archives) in order to “know a good man” (or woman) when [we]  see him (or her).” So that’s why as best we can, we’ll try to incorporate the historical facts, theories and methods we’ve learned in school in our posts about modern politics and pop culture and everything in between.

And so, with both the snobbish elitism and the ever-present humility and self-doubt befitting a bunch of under-paid and over-educated graduate students,  we present you with “Ph.D. Octopus.” Enjoy.

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Written by David Weinfeld

March 30, 2010 at 17:38

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