Distractions in the lab – and elsewhere in academia

The comments made by the famous scientist and Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt at a recent conference in Korea show that sexism is alive and kicking in academia and elsewhere. Apparently, “three things happen when (women) are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise… Continue reading Distractions in the lab – and elsewhere in academia

EU referendum raises questions about voting rights and citizenship

The news that foreigners would not be allowed to vote in the planned EU referendum came as a bit of a shock earlier this week, if not as a major surprise. The rules are based on those for the General Elections. Besides, it seems the Tories are keen to exclude anyone from voting who might not… Continue reading EU referendum raises questions about voting rights and citizenship

On e-mails that should never be sent

Following a recent staff survey which saw many of my colleagues complain about long working hours and an unhealthy work-life balance our Faculty recently introduced an e-mail curfew. According to this curfew no work-related emails should be sent before 7.30 am or after 6.30 pm Monday to Friday or at the weekend. While the Faculty’s… Continue reading On e-mails that should never be sent

Life outside academia

There is life outside academia, and by that I don’t mean that people are having more fun elsewhere. I am only suggesting that an academic career is not the natural, or even the most desirable outcome of a university degree. As a lecturer in early modern history at a post-1992 university I know that only… Continue reading Life outside academia

How to get some quiet time over lunch

I dispensed with proper lunch breaks about six months into my first permanent full-time academic job. With lessons to prepare, essays to mark, admin to do, and – heaven forbid – research somewhere on my list, it seemed frivolous to set aside an hour or even thirty minutes each day just to eat a sandwich… Continue reading How to get some quiet time over lunch

Keeping the customer satisfied

Strike action might be entering the hot phase later this year as the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has approved ‘a marking boycott to be implemented from 28 April if university employers still refuse to thrash out a deal over pay’. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association ‘have so far refused to engage in any… Continue reading Keeping the customer satisfied

The survey that didn’t surprise us

Some surveys shock us, others fill us with a sense of relief that it’s not just us. The recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) survey undertaken by the University and College Union (UCU) does both. The summary of key findings  states that nearly two thirds of the 7,000 respondents said they thought the REF had ‘a… Continue reading The survey that didn’t surprise us

Why transnational history doesn’t work quite yet

Most historians would agree that transnational history is a good thing in theory. Yet, as an article by Jeroen Duindam of Leiden University in the European History Quarterly (2010) has reminded me, many of the same historians would also agree that it doesn’t quite work in practice. There are a number of reasons for this… Continue reading Why transnational history doesn’t work quite yet