News of All Sizes

Here’s the latest collection of news and events that’s come my way:

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Post-Docs, Grants, Summer Schools, Etc.

  • I don’t usually post information about medieval jobs that are advertised at philjobs.org, but Jeff Brower asked me to call attention to the very attractive three-year postdoc that Purdue University is advertising, specifically in medieval philosophy! The application deadline is the end of December. Details here.
  • As the Daily Nous reported a few weeks back, a couple of medievalists have recently won grants of around $2M from the European Research Council.
    • Dragos Calma (Cambridge) won for his project: “Neoplatonism and Abrahamic Traditions. A Comparative Analysis of the Middle East, Byzantium and the Latin West (9th-16th Centuries).”
    • Catarina Dutilh Novaes (Groningen) won for her project: “The Social Epistemology of Argumentation.” (This is evidently not an historical project, however.)
  • Enrique Alarcón is directing a conference this spring: “Inteligencia y voluntad en Tomás de Aquino” (April 26-27, 2018, Pamplona).
  • The Maimonides Centre in Hamburg is organizing a summer school for graduate students on “Sceptical Strategies, Methods, and Approaches in the Middle Ages: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions” (July 29-Aug. 3, 2018, in Hamburg). Details here.
  • The Lumen Christi Institute is organizing a summer seminar for doctoral students on “St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice” (June 24-July 4, 2018, Chicago), and a second on “Truth and Authority in Augustine’s City of God” (July 21-28, 2018, Berkeley). Details here.
  • The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec (near Cracow) is hosting a conference next fall: “Altiora te ne quaesieris (Sir. 3, 22): The medieval pursuit of wisdom” (September 2-7, 2018). Cfp deadline is March 31.
  • A useful Aquinas resource to know about is the Aquinas Institute‘s online version of their bilingual editions. Everything they’ve published is available free here, in an easy-to-use, searchable bilingual format. As of now, that consists in Sent. IV dd. 1-25, ST, In Job, In Matt., In Johan., and all of the Pauline commentaries. For scholars, the Corpus Thomisticum is still clearly much better, but for students this could come to be a very useful resource.

Research position in Arabic philosophy, and a summer school in Berlin

The Thomas-Institut (Cologne) is advertising a position to edit Ibn Bāǧǧa’s commentary on Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione. Application deadline is July 30. Information here.

Also, EGSAMP (the European Graduate School for Ancient and Medieval Philosophy) has announced a summer school this September 27-30, 2017, in Berlin, on this topic: ‘A Path Through the Ages’: Philosophy and Doxography from Ancient to Early Modern Philosophy. Details here.

Late Spring News

This will probably be my last post until August. First, some information about upcoming events:

  • The Collège de France is holding a two-day international colloquium, Philosopher au XIIe siècle, at the end of May (Paris, May 29-30, 2017).
  • There’s a conference on Knowledge as Assimilation, ranging over ancient and medieval material, co-sponsored by the Rationality in Perception group in Helsinki and the Representation and Reality group in Gothenberg (Helsinki, June 9-11, 2017).
  • The University of Bonn is holding a conference this summer, on “Time and Modality. Medieval and Contemporary Perspectives” (July 20-22, 2017). Immediately before the conference (July 17-19), they’re running a summer school in conjunction with themes from the conference. The application deadline for the summer school is May 31. Details on the summer school here.
  • The Thomas-Institut has sent out its call for papers for the 2018 Cologne Mediaevistentagung. The topic is The Library: Spaces of Thought and Knowledge Systems. The submission deadline is August 15, 2017. See details here.

Next, some information about people:

  • Nate Bulthius, a recent Cornell PhD, is interviewed at the APA blog, where he discusses in some detail his perspective on studying medieval philosophy.
  • Thomas Ward, currently at Loyola Marymount, is moving to Baylor University, starting this coming fall. With John Haldane already there, as well as Francis Beckwith, and with Tim O’Connor joining the department as well, this makes Baylor quite a prominent option for graduate study in medieval philosophy.

And then some links, both, as it happens, pertaining to Scotus:

  • Tobias Hoffmann’s very useful Scotus bibliography is now available here, where it continues to be updated.
  • Thomas Williams has just come out with an extensive collection of English translations of Scotus’s ethical work (OUP 2017). In addition to the book, there is a website, here. On the website, there are additional translations, links to some of Thomas’s papers, and a remarkable unpublished essay that makes the case for why the Vatican edition of Ordinatio III.26-40 is “so frequently bad that no responsible scholar can rely on it.”

Finally, jobs:

  • There’s a three-year postdoc position at the above-mentioned Helsinki project, Rationality in Perception: Transformations of Mind and Cognition 1250-1550. The application deadline is May 29, 2017. Details here.
  • There’s a two-year postdoc advertised in Munich, connected to the project Natur in politischen Ordnungsentwürfen: Antike, Mittelalter, Neuzeit. Quoting from the ad, “The central concern of the project is the medieval reaction to the ancient idea that God’s rulership to the universe is comparable to that between a political ruler and the state that s/he governs.” The application deadline is June 1, 2017. Details here.

Positions in Cologne and Munich

  • The Thomas-Institute is advertising a junior professorship in medieval philosophy, focused on the Latin history of science in the Middle Ages. The position is affiliated with the Averroes Edition project, and so requires expertise in text editing. The application deadline is April 25, 2017. Details here.
  • Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus is advertising a three-year PhD position, for a Latinist or Arabist. Application deadline is May 31, 2017. Details here.

New Postdoc, and Job Roundup

St. Andrews is now advertising a three-year postdoc on editions and translations of fourteenth-century logical texts. Details here. Application deadline is February 17.

Here too is a summary of the medieval positions that were listed on philjobs this past fall. This is for those readers who might like to have a summary report, but who were blissfully able to ignore the job market as it unfolded.

1. Sacred Heart University
Junior Faculty
AOS: Medieval or Early Modern
AOC: Open

2. Seattle University
Assistant Professorship
AOS: Medieval
AOC: Open

3. Seton Hall University
Assistant Professorship
AOS: Medieval or Ethics (but must be qualified to teach upper division medieval philosophy)
AOC: Feminist Philosophy

4. Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Old Dominion University
Islamic Studies – Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies (Tenure-track or similar)
AOS: Islamic Studies
AOC: Medival Philosophy/Philosophy of Religion

5. University of Southern Maine
Assistant Professor of Philosophy (Tenure-track or similar)
AOS: Philosophy of Religion, Comparative Religion
AOC: Medieval Philosophy, Islamic Philosophy, Asian Philosophy

6. Providence College
Assistant Professor (Tenure-track or similar)
AOS: Medieval Arabic Philosophy
AOC: Open

7. NUI Maynooth
Assistant Lecturer (Fixed term)
AOS: Medieval Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Religion
AOC: Moral and Political Philosophy

Job Market #3

My last guest post on this topic comes from Turner Nevitt, who received his PhD from Fordham in 2016 and is now an assistant professor at the University of San Diego.

My first year on the job market, while still ABD, I applied for about 30 tenure-track jobs. I got three first-round interviews, two on-campus interviews, and one job offer. That might seem like an encouraging thought: it only takes one job offer to have a career in philosophy. But the reality is that most people on the job market nowadays will never get a job offer. Philosophers my age (millennials) should consider themselves a lost generation: most of them will not get academic employment. I did my best to accept this fact before I went on the market. I spent years resigning myself to the very high likelihood that I would have to leave the profession.

Accepting that I likely wouldn’t get an academic job helped me to distance myself from my job search. While I continued to see philosophy as intrinsically valuable, I came to see a career in philosophy as merely instrumentally valuable—just one among many ways that I might find to support myself and my family. This instrumental view of the market enabled me to consider an important question: Under what conditions am I willing to stay in the profession? On reflection I realized that I was not willing to make my family wait for more than three years while I tried the market, I was not willing to move my family cross country from one visiting position to another, and I was not willing to teach a heavy load for meager pay at a community college.

This approach to the market affected my entire job search. I sent out fewer applications, spent less time tailoring them to the hiring institutions and departments, worried much less about my search, and was a lot less miserable than most people I knew looking for a job. If you’re going on the market, I encourage you to do the same. Accept that you likely won’t get an academic job, decide what you are and aren’t willing to do to stay in the profession, and then try your luck.

Luck: that’s what it takes to get an academic job in philosophy. Yes, you need a good cover letter. Yes, you need a strong CV. Yes, you need stellar teaching evaluations. Yes, you need an impressive writing sample. Yes, you need awesome letters of recommendation. But at the most those things will get you a few first-round interviews; they won’t get you a job. Yes, you need to present well in your interviews. Yes, you need an effective teaching demonstration. Yes, you need a brilliant job talk. Yes, you need to be a god among academic philosophers. But that still won’t get you a job. Olympus is over-crowded. There are just way too many highly qualified candidates for way too few jobs. That’s why we should stop thinking of a successful search in terms of faring well on the market, and start thinking of it in terms of being well on the market.

And the most important factor to being well on the market is relating well to your job search.   The second most important factor is relating well to other people during your search. While the support of friends and family is indispensable, being well on the market (and perhaps even faring well) has a lot to do with the culture among graduate students in your department.

I was fortunate to have an incredibly supportive community of fellow students looking for jobs, encouraged by an incredibly supportive jobs placement officer. We all met once a week to help each other prepare to go on the market. We shared ideas and resources about every aspect of the application process. We read each other’s job application documents (CVs, teaching statements, research statements, etc.). We watched each other’s teaching demonstrations and job talks. We practiced our three-minute dissertation spiel and our five-minute dissertation spiel. We reflected on the mock interviews we did with other faculty. We read each other’s works in progress, which we were all trying to get accepted for publication in time for the next jobs season. And so on.

I don’t know what I would have done without this community of support, and I don’t know how anyone survives the academic job market without one. If you’re going on the market, I suggest you find such a community. If there isn’t one already in place in your department, then form one yourself. If there aren’t enough students in your department, then go to other departments. The care of such a community can help to redeem even the most disappointing job searches. I hope your job search won’t end in disappointment. But if it does, I hope you’ll be able to look back and say that you did your best with the best of friends.