5 thoughts on “Inside Higher Ed on The Smoker

  1. So Shrader’s comment about the Smoker is that the room isn’t really that dimly lit. Jesus. I’m not sure if he’s taking the piss or he’s just tone-deaf.

    One interesting thing in this article is the intimation that the Smoker is no longer that integral to getting a job. I suppose you have to ask: was it ever *officially* part of the job-getting process?

  2. Wow, as admirable a scholar as Debra Nails is, the second half of her letter to Inside Higher Ed really rocks me back on my heels
    “As for the statistics about women in the profession, some of the more logic-oriented among us think philosophy has more in common with mathematics, where the data are comparable, than with the other humanities disciplines. Suggestion: The APA should make available a table at the reception for the Placement Committee and Ombudsman where interviewees of any gender can park, trade stories, and leave their coats without having to pay. Advice: To avoid the few drunks, don’t stay late. If you’re hit on, say ‘Go away.’ If you don’t like receptions, don’t go; when an interviewer invites you to drop by her table at the reception, say ‘Thanks, but I’ve made other plans for the evenings.'”

    Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/12/12/women-job-candidates-philosophy-appalled-smoker#ixzz1gL5fDDRY
    Inside Higher Ed

  3. @profbigk: Yes, I thought the ‘math-minded means fewer women’ meme was pretty shocking.

    However, as an [older] woman, I do find some of the storm over the receptions ( 2 – neither offically called ‘smolers’ anymore, thanks to the efforts of some of us oldsters back when) a bit .. kicking at sand? There are so many serious problems for women in philosophy (at least, in the U.S.), that this seems a bit beside the point.

    In fact, I too pointed out that the receptions are far from ‘dimly lit.’ They are brightly lit crowd scenes – one of the features that I dislike about them.

    I never had anyone suggest I ‘had’ to appear at a reception to get a job, and most of my grad profs back then found it very uncomfortable to have candidates sitting at the dept table for hours, trying to continue the interview.

    Perhaps I simply had a very different experience from many others. Still, I like to stop by, see people from my grad program and visit folks from places I have worked. Once in awhile, I run into someone I have no idea how to contact anymore.

    We clearly need to get rid of the ‘ required further interview’ element, to whatever extent it exists. But, I worry we will throw out the baby with the bathwater (substitute your preferred metaphor).

  4. Oh, agreed, I love to stop by the reception too, catch up with old friends, and so on. The older I get, the more I enjoy it! But the reception really should be decoupled from the interview process. As Shannon Dea so valueably reminded readers in the comments at IHE, the interviewing schools reserve tables and are featured on a printed-out list so that candidates can find the schools. They only need this if the reception is an extension of the interview experience. I can easily imagine a future in which we keep the reception and do not make it about the interviewing departments.

    I totally agree that this isn’t the greatest problem women in the profession face, but I think the story got such traction because it’s so specific, and so emblematic of the profession’s tendency to keep old structures going in a way which seems a surprising failure of critical thinking, given that we’re philosophers!

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