Monday, June 02, 2014

Academic Time Moves Slowly

There are always more projects on my to-do list than I will ever have time to complete. At best, I attempt to advance the projects a little bit here and there, completing those with firm deadlines while not entirely abandoning others.

In the last two years, I placed academic research projects on hold because creative projects were more promising. Sure enough, a play has been staged, another received a public reading, and two more large productions are scheduled for summer. Another three full-length works and two shorter works are written and ready for development.

Academic papers, for all their value both professionally (tenure, promotion) and socially (informing policy debates) tend to enter a time distortion field somewhere between proposal and publication. Maybe this differs in STEM fields, but humanities projects take months, even years, to reach publication. By the time papers appear, they have sometimes lost their urgency. Exigency, kairos, whatever you wish to analyze... It is gone.

I would argue that creative works are no less intellectually demanding, and the artistic disciplines recognize new juried works as academic contributions. Yet, I can submit a 100-page script to a juried event with more than 200 other entries and have a response in mere months. From submission to production might be nine months for a selected work.

I submitted an academic chapter for publication two years ago. By the time I see the book or web text, the issues I addressed might not exist. Yes, I might inform future debates, but the issues I researched have already changed.

By maintaining a long list of projects, I increase the odds something might find a home. But, there has to be better approaches than how the academic publishing system operates.

At least a non-academic blog is instant satisfaction.
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