Feedback on First Draft

From: "Jonathan Sterne, Dr." <>
Date: July 5, 2011 2:27:34 PM GMT-04:00
To: Ted Striphas <>
Cc: Arlene Luck <>
Subject: ijoc academic labor comments -- revisions due 8 August

Hi Ted,

Thanks for your submission.  I really like the 3rd part especially on what I’m now calling (see your marginal notes) the “visible college”.  Although I like the beginning, I don’t think that it’s actually a solution to the social problem of professors looking out windows and thinking in movies.  But it is a solution to a much more local problem in academia, which is the reification of authorship and creativity.  I always start out my seminars by telling them I’m going to perpetrate a massive fraud.  I assign articles that are heavily revised yet I treat them as if they sprung forth from their authors’ minds as fully formed objects.  Ditto for the case of the single author, as if the person did it all on their own.  How we talk about labor in our publications matters because it also helps locate journal articles and books as community property, and thus further diminishes the warrant that big publishers have for assuming all control over IP rights.

I originally thought that the first three pages could be condensed, that you could basically start the same way, make the Hollywood point, and then get into “we need to better represent our labor” which is the original contribution and the positive move of the essay.  But now I want to make a more radical suggestion: start with part 3.  Make it the essay and build out to some of the broader issues I’m suggesting above and that you talk about in the acknowledged goods piece.  I think that would make for a stronger essay, and it also really nicely connects labor issues with future-of-academic publishing issues, which is a theme you should make explicit in the piece.  Also, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the politics of acknowledgements but I haven’t read a good analysis of them in print, so you’d be doing people a favor that way as well.  The piece doesn’t need to be terribly long so don’t make up things to say but you get where I’m headed with this.

And of course you’ll need to get all the citations in order.

I hope these comments make sense and that they help.  I am of course happy to talk more about it.


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