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Why I’m Giving Up Tenure at UCLA

Joseph Manson

Common Sense with Bari Weiss, July 7, 2022

“… one colleague told a meeting of the biological anthropology subfield that he regarded the GRE as the most informative part of an applicant’s dossier, but that we had no choice but to vote to stop requiring it.”

Defenestration of a Colleague

I’ve been a professor in the Anthropology Department at UCLA since 1996; I received tenure in 2000. My research has spanned topics ranging from nonhuman primate behavior to human personality variation. For decades, anthropology has been notorious for conflict between the scientific and political activist factions in the field, leading many departments to split in two. But UCLA’s department remained unusually peaceful, cohesive, and intellectually inclusive until the late 2000s.

Gradually, one hire at a time, practitioners of “critical” (i.e. leftist, postmodernist) anthropology, some of them lying about their beliefs during job interviews, came to comprise the department’s most influential clique. These militant faculty members recruited even more militant graduate students to work with them.

I can’t recount here even a representative sample of this faction’s penchant for mendacity and intimidation, because most of it occurred during confidential discussions, usually about hiring and promotion decisions. But I can describe their public torment and humiliation of one of my colleagues, P. Jeffrey Brantingham.

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