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The importance of not reproducing aspects of academia and politics that you disagree with.

About an hour ago I read a post on Afarensis about Shelley Batts' legal troubles with Wiley over one of her blog posts in which she explains, or rather writes about, data presented in a Wiley journal. The specific aspect of her post that is (wrongly) in question by Wiley is the chart and graph in the post.

Essentially what Batts is doing is providing free advertising of the data in the article and ultimately for the authors and publisher. In my opinion, and the opinions of many of the commenters on various blogs, there is nothing wrong with what she has done. She presented the data, the chart, the graph and offered some commentary. She didn't slander the data or anyone associated with it, nor did she take credit for their work. However, it appears as though some folks at Wiley disagree with her use of a chart and graph in the post. In my opinion, Wiley really, really should find better ways to use their resources, rather than bullying a PhD candidate at U of M into taking down visual elements that support her blog post that was dedicated to an article in their journal. It's absolute silliness.

So what does the "The importance of not reproducing aspects of academia and politics that you disagree with" part of the blog post mean? Well, it is in reference to myself. My initial reaction was to get up on my soap box (see above) and shout about how I feel this is completely ridiculous. However, before I could login to my blog I had a thought; "what could this mean for me?". Now, I know that this is totally selfish and I now realize that it was actually completely out-of-character for me. BUT it happened and I want to share the rest of the process. In a hypothetical situation, what could jumping into a role of advocate for a fellow blogger (I don't know her- but aren't we all in this together :) against a publisher mean? Well, it could make a publisher mad at me (they are clearly not busy doing real things, but rather cruising the blogosphere for little guys to pick on).

Aspects of the habitus of academia are to accede to bureaucracy, abide by the "rules", and to get through grad school without pissing anyone off. I've never been very good at doing any of these things- reason #1 why I'm in an online program... to stay as far away from the academy as I can. So, why should I start being mindful of these things now? What's really on the line?

My conclusion; I'm not going to censor myself in order to stay under the radars of the more-powerful than I. It's unlikely that this post would draw such attention- so it's really the principle of the matter. By censoring myself, by being mindful of the ways of academia that I disagree with, and giving in- I'm reproducing those qualities. How will anything in academia (the bad of course, not the good) change if we surrender and reproduce those qualities? And, most importantly to me, how will I live with myself if I become a "reproducer" of these qualities?

Another passing thought before I end this self-reflection, I've never branded the podcast project as an open access project for fear that people may misunderstand the movement, shy away from the project, and (at worst) shut the project down. Although my intent for the project is by no means to start the movement within anthropology, I avoided the mentioning of it (after I realized that it does indeed have a small bit to do with it) for strategic reasons, with the thought that if "open access" was associated with the podcasts people might disapprove of it. In a way it was a very political thing to do- and again, out of my character. Blah. I need to take more moments of reflection if I'm going to stay true to myself in the very influential world.

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