The Academic Self

An Owner’s Manual

Donald E. Hall



130 pp. 6x9

$18.95 paper 978-0-8142-5099-0
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$18.95 PDF eBook 978-0-8142-8124-6
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$50.95 cloth 978-0-8142-0907-3
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Donald E. Hall offers a self-help book designed for academics, from graduate students to tenured faculty. He helps readers engage in an active process of career management, goal setting, prioritization, and reflection on the norms that constitute what he calls “academic selfhood.” Drawing broadly on the insights of Anthony Giddens’ notions of reflexivity and self-identity, Hall encourages new and seasoned scholars to “own up to” the behaviors, attitudes, and complicities that compromise their professional identities. This book couples all its exhortations with clear, concrete, and practical strategies for responding productively to the many uncertainties of academic life.

Separate chapters of the book examine the textuality of the academic self, profession, academic processes and collegiality. Among the topics candidly discussed are careerism, burnout, procrastination, and insecurity. Throughout the book readers will find anecdotes, real-life examples, and concrete tips for constructing and maintaining a successful career defined on their own terms.

The Academic Self: An Owner’s Manual opens up a new and frank discussion on academic life and academics’ basic responsibility for their own actions and attitudes.

“Hall’s advice is courageous and sensible. It is about time that someone applied the insights of the self-help movement, as American as Emerson, to the fluctuations and uncertainties of the academic career. Hall is a wise guide to overcoming the accidents and dysfunctions of professional life, and an inspiring advocate for being true to oneself as the way to find genuine happiness and success.” —Elaine Showalter, Princeton University

Donald E. Hall is professor and Associate Chair of English, California State University, Northridge, and author of The Academic Community: A Manual for Change.