Ghostwriting, Public Colleges, and The Problem of Busyness

Field Notes headerThis week, our article picks span a wide range of topics — from an inside look at a contentious ghostwriting situation, an expose on higher education funding, and a case for free time in the academic field. Enjoy!


Andrew O’Hagan’s longform piece in the London Review of Books offers a fascinating look at the process of ghostwriting.  In 2010, O’Hagan was contracted to ghostwrite the autobiography of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  Like his life, Assange’s biography is fraught with controversy — it was published in 2011 without Assange’s approval after he continually delayed the drafting process.  O’Hagan’s piece goes into compelling detail about Assange and his tendencies toward narcissism, paranoia, and grandstanding.  In between the crazy tale, though, he also brings up important considerations about the nature of truth, fiction, and storytelling.

An Era of Neglect: How Public Colleges were Crowded Out, Beaten Up, and Failed to Fight Back

This special report from The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles six men who represent different aspects of the public education funding crisis.  By highlighting separate parts of the crisis, they attempt to explain how support for public colleges has gradually, but decisively eroded.

In Search of Lost Time

Philip Nel, Kansas State University Distinguished Professor of English, questions why academics work so much.  How has constant busyness become part and parcel of an academic career? In proposing answers to this question, Nel also suggests that there is a creative downside to this busyness and that maybe academics should try to be a bit less productive.

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