Published on September 17th, 2012 | by Kevin


Episode #2: On Tenterhooks, On the Tenure Track

“So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
–Edward Abbey, “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

Flexing Our Podcasting Muscles

It’s week two for us at 3620 and we’re so excited to bring you this episode, a meditation on the tenure process and, therefore, on the academic life. We speak with Prof. Steve Anderson of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, who tells the story of his tenure review, which just ended this past spring.

If the episode makes you a bit sad, we apologize. But in the end, this is not a sad story at all. It’s about learning how to make the most of the industry we’re in. And that means recognizing the pitfalls, but also claiming and celebrating the creative potential of the academy.

This is the first time we’re really flexing our new podcast muscles and we’re delighted to hear from you. Please send us feedback!


“Fineshrine” by Purity Ring (0:00)

“Cashanet (prod. by Brian Eno)” by Akron/Family (1:28)

“Knorrpromenade” by Alaska in Winter (5:08)

“Window” by the Album Leaf (6:23 & 14:05)

“Familiar Ground” by The Cinematic Orchestra (10:06)

“Sleep Talkin'” by Architecture in Helsinki (11:42)

“The Fall (Clams Casino Remix)” by The Weeknd (13:07)

“Work Hard Play Hard (feat. Kay)” by Tiesto (17:56)

Related Links

Check out Steve Anderson’s project, Get Tenure Not Cancer.

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145 Responses to Episode #2: On Tenterhooks, On the Tenure Track

  1. Lisa Parks says:

    Great piece!! I just emailed it to a former grad student who is now on the tenure track. Keep up the great work!

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  3. sam says:

    I like the content, but lose the music (or pull it back)…and the long pauses. It feels manipulative.

  4. Pal Cine says:

    This article insidiously exploits Anderson’s life-threatening illness to justify the privatization of academia. Instead of emphasizing the need to restore labor rights and to critique the political ideologies and economic policies that overdetermine hiring and promotion decisions, the interview expresses sympathy with the “liability” of administrations while displacing responsibility onto faculty members’ attitudes and behaviors toward an ultimate “unknown.” Such depoliticizing is disheartening to anyone interested in finding and implementing a genuine remedy to the deep structural problems facing academia today.

  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Pal. But I think you’re mischaracterizing a lot of what is actually said in the piece. Go back and have a few more listens. I can’t imagine how we would be “insidiously exploiting” anyone. Quite the contrary.

  6. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the comment, Sam. I wonder what the difference actually is between the content and the music, if you’re suggesting there is one. If you’d like to try your hand at producing an episode yourself, we’re happy to listen!

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