martes, 2 de febrero de 2010

Corregido y aumentado

The management at King’s have decided to embark on an ill-conceived, immoral, and irrational attempt to make academic members of staff, including full professors, within the King’s philosophy department, redundant or retire under pressure (some details can be found here: Not only is this happening in an arbitrary and unaccountable fashion, but it will undermine the integrity and academic culture of one of the world’s best research departments. As is to be expected, the proposed changes entirely contradict King’s self-professed attempts to foster “an intellectually rigorous environment” (quote from the KCL website).

Nor is it true that “ all current students…will be largely unaffected by these proposals”, as many will lose their supervisors, or be affected by the ensuing academic deficit that is likely to linger indefinitely as the department attempts to counter the harm caused by the actions of King’s administration.

This group illustrates our complete disavowal of the content of these proposed changes, our disgust with the manner in which this process is taking place, and our solidarity with any member of staff who finds their job or career under threat.

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2010

A los britones (i.e. a todos nosotros) el cielo se les cae en la cabeza

Subject: Paleography/Musicology/King's College London
Date: 31 January 2010 04:57:22 GMT+09:00


From: Daniel J. DiCenso []

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over the last year or so, many of us have experienced the impact of the economic downturn first hand. Some of us have seen budgets frozen; others have seen more extreme cuts--even lost jobs. Drowning in a sea of constant bad news, I admit that even I have become numb to news of academic downsizing. I was not, however, too numb to notice some truly shocking news from King's College, London, where the cuts proposed would not only be bad for King's, but also bad for the academy, musicology included.

As detailed in a recent story in the Times (see link below), King's College London is not only doing away with 22 positions in the Arts, the administrators of the College have devised a system by which even the most senior ('tenured') academics will have to re-apply for their own positions under a massive reorganization scheme. Applicants (or re-applicants) will not only have to demonstrate the number of students taking up their particular subject (proving their economic worth), but also demonstrate the amount of research money they've brought in to the university. Though the Arts are not the only field on the chopping block at King's, we all know that when economics is the only guiding principle, the Arts are more at risk. How can any of us, after all, prove our economic worth?

While the losses at King's are staggering across the board, one of the most shocking losses is the complete elimination of the Department of Paleography, including the prestigious Chair in Paleography, currently held by David Ganz. This is a devastating loss to musicology. It's not just that so many of us who study medieval music rely on the work of King's paleographers each and every day, but that the loss of paleography at Kings and the loss of the prestigious chairship (the only of its kind in England) demonstrates just how dangerous the current economic climate can be for academic specialists of any kind.

In the end, many musicologists may not care about Medieval music or about paleography, but in my view the King's story is a danger to us all: how soon before King's becomes an example--a model, not only for the UK but also for the rest of the academic world? If Kings can eliminate 22 tenured faculty in its most revered departments and ask senior faculty to reapply for their own jobs, what else will be taken from us under the guise of economic reform or, as King's puts it, 'strategic disinvestment'.

The story at King's is still developing and good press is lacking. The link below from the Times is an awkward start. For those interested, Jeffrey Hamburger, Chair of the Medieval Studies Committee at Harvard, is organizing a letter-writing campaign. The person to write to is: Professor Rick Trainor, The Principal, King's College, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS and copy to Professor Jan Palmowski, Head of the School of Arts and Humanities. If you'd like more information about how to get involved, there is a Facebook group "Save Paleography at King's" ( or feel free to write to me off list: d

Best wishes,

Daniel DiCenso

Department of Music
College of the Holy Cross

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