URGENT: Support Job Security for College Teachers
Response to article on South Asia search
i lend you my name

please be polite, not disruptive, at south asia job talks to find my replacement

(A letter sent on 2/4/07):

Dear students and other friends,

Just a note to inform you of an upcoming job talk, probably part of the ongoing search to replace me, this Friday (please see "Open Searches"). I have not been asked to give a talk, nor have I been informed of this (I had to pull this information off the website). For the past year at least, I have not been kept informed of what is going on (for reasons obvious now).

As you know, I would welcome a colleague, so I don't have to do all the work, teaching all the South Asian religion classes. If the History Department wants to hire someone to teach post-colonial theory, as Satadru Sen used to do, that would be wonderful. The students would indeed have more choice (although Hindu students may or may not appreciate an instructor who regards religion as [nothing but?] a "historically constituted category, embedded in power relations.") It seems to me, however, that we need someone with this speaker's specialty, and her course offerings would complement mine very nicely. So, under the right circumstances, I may endorse her employment, but not at my expense. (Please see "call me old-fashioned").

For my views, see www.jeromebauer.com. Please support Lecturer's Policy Reform, not just for me, but for all Teaching Faculty here and everywhere. This is becoming quite urgent.

Please do not disrupt this talk, that would reflect badly on all of us, and this University, and would be in every way counterproductive. Please be polite and civil, and give the speaker, and this search process, the benefit of the doubt.

Thank you!

Jerome Bauer


Sacred Cows? The Politics of Religion in Colonial North India

Catherine Adcock, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

Friday, February 9, 2007, 11:00 am, Cohen Lounge, Busch Hall room 113

Catherine Adcock will receive her PhD from the University of Chicago in the History of Religions in the summer. Her dissertation, titled "Modern Religion and Political Culture: The Arya Samaj in Nothern India, 1877-1927," focuses on religion as a historically constituted category, embedded in colonial power relations in order to illuminate the contribution to the Indian nationalist imaginary of an organization which scholars commonly class with contemporary organizations for the Hindu right.

Sponsored by the Religious Studies program. For more information please contact Sarah Massey at 935-8677 or smassey@wustl.edu.



To All My Students, Alumni, and Other Friends:

I was not able to attend the job talk described above, due to a conflicting doctor's appointment. I am hearing about it from my students. Just a few observations, while we await the next job talk in this series, and the outcome of our effort to reform the ambiguous and deeply flawed Lecturer's Policy.

First, it is a discourtesy for me not to be invited to give a talk in this series, even if I had not formally applied for the job, as I did (under protest). This is most inappropriate. Perhaps the Committee wants someone who thinks as they do, instead of someone who is open and fair to all points of view. Or perhaps my Lecturer's job is being renewed without troubling me to defend it (as it should be). We would all like to know.

Second, it is ironic, but not unexpected, that someone taking a "Neo-Marxist," "post-colonial," "post-structuralist" stance ("focus[ing] on religion as a historically constituted category, embedded in colonial power relations..."), would be the first to cross a [virtual] picket line. I have nothing at all against Marxists, but I much prefer those who actively support worker's rights (including the living wage, and Lecturer's Policy reform). I want to know the candidates' record on these issues, not theory but action. (Please see "No, You Can't Have My Job," and "My Courses Are My Intellectual Property, Not Yours").

It is important to remember that this sort of approach is the PC view, the ideologically orthodox perspective, in this discipline at this time. I remember having many conversations with fellow graduate students in South Asian studies, who just wanted to hand in their dissertations and get out of this business. They asked me, in frustration, "What is post-structuralism, anyway, and how do I write that way? (because you have to be a post-structuralist to get your degree)." I have learned to watch my back around people who genuinely think this way, but not every graduate student who employs these cliches, or this research methodology, is a true believer in this particular orientalist perspective, or a power reductionist.. Let us hope not. This is only one potentially valid approach, not the only one. So let's give these PhD candidates the benefit of the doubt.

(By the way, "Neo-Marxist" and "post-structuralist" are often used interchangeably and imprecisely; these are "big box" words, like "fundamentalist" or "postmodern" or "New Age," an interesting topic for sociologists of knowledge, and students of the cultural politics of academia, to pursue),

Just in case you haven't noticed, the issue really is, what kind of Religious Studies Program will we have here in the next few years, a "religion-friendly" one, or the opposite? Should Religious Studies be annexed by, or under the controlling influence, of so-called "cultural studies" or "area studies"? Let the tuition-paying students and alumni help us decide. (Please see "Questions About Religious Studies: Science Marches On?")

Sincerely and respectfully,

Jerome Bauer, proud to be Lecturer in Religious Studies for the last eight years