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King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography (Read 67343 times)
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King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
01.02.2010 at 16:55:03
 
Most of you will already know about this, but just in case that not:
 
King's College London (KCL) apparently is not only cutting jobs in contemporary philosophy (see here), but also poised to eliminate its chair in palaeography (which seems to be the only one in the UK): see e.g. here.
 
Or, if you want a shorter version: here is something (by Jeffrey F. Hamburger and/or Richard Raiswell) which I received via the FICINO email distribution list:
Quote:
Kings College London is undertaking what they call strategic disinvestment
and have informed our colleague, David Ganz, on Tuesday that funding for
the Chair in Palaeography will cease from 31 August this year, when David
will be out of a job. This is part of a wider context whereby all academic
staff in the School of Arts and Humanities at Kings have to re-apply for
their own jobs before the 1st March. They think this the most humane way
of losing 22 academic posts.

Kings Chair is the only established chair in Palaeography in the UK (held
by our late members Julian Brown and Tilly de la Mare). I am, naturally,
writing on behalf of the Comite to express dismay at the loss of the Chair
but the more people who write in protest the better.

The person to write to is: Professor Rick Trainor, The Principal, Kings
College, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS and copy to Professor Jan Palmowski,
Head of the School of Arts and Humanities.

 
The email addresses of the two persons mentioned above (professores Trainor & Palmowski) seem to be principal@kcl.ac.uk and jan.palmowski@kcl.ac.uk .
I mailed there, but up to now I have received no response.
 
If you are using twitter and want to tweet about this: suggested hashtags are #savepalaeography and #KCL.
 
There's a facebook group ("Save Paleography At King's London") on this at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=303202385890&ref=nf .
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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #1 - 01.02.2010 at 17:03:44
 
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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #2 - 01.02.2010 at 17:50:12
 
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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #3 - 01.02.2010 at 17:58:49
 
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MAA  King's College London cuts: palaeography
Reply #4 - 02.02.2010 at 08:29:48
 
Now there is a statement by the Medieval Academy of America: http://www.medievalacademy.org/pdf/KingsCollege.pdf .
 


 
Found thanks to http://twitter.com/kindofpalejewel/status/8516636688 .
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ITM: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #5 - 02.02.2010 at 17:03:03
 
Now there's also a posting on this at In the Middle: http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/2010/02/palaeography-at-kings-college-london. html .
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Online petition: KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #6 - 03.02.2010 at 12:09:02
 
Thanks to http://twitter.com/kindofpalejewel/status/8583328978 I learned about the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/spkcl10/ - and just signed it.
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Re: Online petition: KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #7 - 03.02.2010 at 13:56:58
 
Quote from hck on 03.02.2010 at 12:09:02:
Thanks to http://twitter.com/kindofpalejewel/status/8583328978 I learned about the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/spkcl10/ - and just signed it.

 
Within a few hours this petition has received more than 500 signatures (511 as of now): see http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?spkcl10 .
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Some statistics re KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #8 - 03.02.2010 at 17:07:59
 
Some statistics: today at 16:26h GMT+1 this thread here had 315 "views" via the web interface (plus an unknown number of readers via the RSS feeds).
 
Mary Beard's 2010-01-28 text which probably was extremely influential in starting reactions to King's College London's plans to eliminate their chair for palaeography when last visited by me (a few minutes ago) had received some 50 comments (the last one yesterday).
 
There were several dozen tweets on twitter with the hashtag #savepalaeography. Sever new ones seem to be added (almost) every hour, but #savepalaeography has not (yet) made it into the "trending" topics.
 
The facebook group "Stop Philosophy Faculty Cuts at King's College London" at 16:33h GMT+1 had 2556 members, the once dedicated to the threat to palaeography ("Save Paleography At King's London") had a few more: 2577.
 
I don't know how many mails opposing the plans to cut the palaeography chair Prof. Trainor has received by now (electronically and/or on paper and/or via fax <and/or via owl post>).
 
The probably most successful platform for and means of protest against these plans that I know of is the electronic petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/spkcl10/petition.html , which hasn't been active for a very long time (I learned about it near noon today, almost immediately signed, and am listed there as signatory number 141), and which as of now (16:54h GMT+1) has received 1151 signatures - and quite a number of splendid persons, great scholars, etc. amongst the signatories.
Both facebook (via normal interpersonal relations and via the above mentioned group) and twitter have been used (successfully) as tools to point people to this petition.
 
 
 
Whatsoever the outcome will be: There are several lessons about coalition building in a virtual world and the use of more than just one tool for the dissemination of information and for discussion that can be learned from this. And I myself am still continuing my learning process.
Perhaps in the end we will find out that palaeography at King's was saved by a single letter written in Latin and on parchment in a 21st century imitation of a highly abbreviated early 15th century "gothic" script?
 
 
 
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Re: Some statistics re KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #9 - 04.02.2010 at 08:20:50
 
Quote from hck on 03.02.2010 at 17:07:59:

Perhaps in the end we will find out that palaeography at King's was saved by a single letter written in Latin and on parchment in a 21st century imitation of a highly abbreviated early 15th century "gothic" script?

 
Of course I assume that such a letter would be addressed to the Queen, not to the principal of KCL.  
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Ken Mondschein on KCL vs KCL palaeography &c.
Reply #10 - 04.02.2010 at 14:22:57
 
Now there is also an article by Ken Mondschein on this affair (and the protests) at http://thefastertimes.com/academicpolitics/2010/02/03/a-bunch-of-pissed-off-medi evalists/ .
 
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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #11 - 04.02.2010 at 18:15:30
 
Now there is also this letter by Medium Aevum.
 


 
Found thanks to a posting by David Rundle in the facebook group.
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ICMA letter re KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #12 - 05.02.2010 at 09:24:26
 
A letter to The Principal of King's College London and Jan Palmowski by/on behalf of the International Center of Medieval Art  can be found at http://archiv.twoday.net/stories/6173563/ .
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KCL doc re cuts: i.a. in palaeography
Reply #13 - 05.02.2010 at 10:24:18
 
A King's College London Arts & Humanities Restructuring Consultation Document can be found at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/06/80/12/AHConsultationDoc.pdf .
 


 
Found thanks to http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2010/02/full-kcl-restructuring-plan-releas ed.html .
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Com.int.paleogr.Lat. re KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #14 - 08.02.2010 at 11:48:41
 
Letters by members of the Comité International de Paléographie Latine can be found at http://www.palaeographia.org/cipl/actu/paleoatkings.htm .
 


 
Found thanks to a posting by Adam Ganz in the facebook group which has now been renamed to "Save Palaeography At King's London".
 


 
BTW: The petition which can be signed at http://www.petitiononline.com/spkcl10/petition-sign.html now has 5204 signatures.
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« Last Edit: 08.02.2010 at 16:54:05 by hck »  

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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #15 - 08.02.2010 at 16:55:48
 
Craig Melson, a former student of KCL,  seems to have received a reply to a letter concerning this affair: http://kingscuttagelondon.blogspot.com/2010/02/official-response-from-kcl.html .
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John Crace on KCL plans to eliminate palaeography
Reply #16 - 09.02.2010 at 08:50:55
 
Probably from a classicist's perspective: John Crace: Writing off the UK's last palaeographer ("The Guardian", 2010-02-09).
 


 
Found thanks to a pointer by Heather D. Baker in the facebook group "Save Palaeography At King's London".
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Harvard Crimson on KCL cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #17 - 10.02.2010 at 09:18:47
 
James K. McAuley & Julia L. Ryan: Cuts Threaten Unique Post ("The harvard Croimson", 2010-02-02) focussed, well, very much on Jeffrey F. Hamburger's activities to try to save the King’s College London chair in palaeography.
 
It does not mention the (considerable) other activities on this behalf (but a comment by Daniel DiCenso there does).
 
 
 
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Halford on KCL cuts:  palaeography
Reply #18 - 10.02.2010 at 09:52:03
 
Macy Halford: It's Tuesday. Why Not Post Some Sad Paleography News ("The New Yorker", 2010-02-09)
 
i.a.:  
Quote:
On a symbolic level, it seems the most significant: historical manuscripts are not just primary sources, they are the source—the final material link (with art and architecture) to our intellectual past. That they will all inevitably be digitized, sent into the cloud, and parsed by the hive is little consolation—no more than what would be offered by a digital photo of Chartres cathedral. As my medievalist friend and I learned the year we took an introductory paleography course together, the ability to read a manuscript written in medieval Latin has basically nothing to do with the ability to read medieval Latin.

 


 
Found thanks to http://twitter.com/krisrich/statuses/8862619800 .
 
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Some updates re KCL cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #19 - 11.02.2010 at 09:43:29
 

  • The petition to save institutionalised palaeography at King's College London now (2010-02-11, 09:27h GMT+1) has  6123 signatures.
     
  • Lynette Eyb: Can the Power of Social Networks Save Palaeography at King's College London? (2010-02-10, "The Ancient World in London" (found thanks to a pointer by Daniel DiCenso in the facebook group "Save Palaeography At King's London" <click on the tab "Wall" there>).
     
  • John Morgan: International scholars decry the 'madness' of King's (2010-02-11, "THE")  (found thanks to a pointer by Adam Ganz in the facebook group "Save Palaeography At King's London" <click on the tab "Wall" there>):
    Quote:
    Proposals to make redundant two leading computational linguists, Shalom Lappin and Wilfried Meyer-Viol, and to abolish the UK's only chair in palaeography - the study of ancient scripts - have become rallying points for campaigners.

    A Facebook group, "Save Palaeography at King's London", which includes a letter of protest by Jeffrey Hamburger, chair of the medieval studies committee at Harvard University, had attracted about 4,500 supporters by 8 February, while an online petition has more than 5,500 signatures.

    In addition, academics have sent more than 20 letters to King's management protesting against the treatment of Professor Lappin and Dr Meyer-Viol, members of the department of philosophy, which was rated in the top three for its subject in the 2008 research assessment exercise.

    ...
    Quote:
    Helen Beebee, director of the British Philosophical Association, warns in a letter to Rick Trainor, principal of King's, that "few people are happy to work in an institution that treats its staff in this way", warning that other scholars may "seek employment elsewhere".

    Academics have also warned that the loss of the palaeography chair, currently held by David Ganz, will have wide-ranging implications.

    Daniel DiCenso, Gates scholar in the department of music at the University of Cambridge, said that the plan would leave "manuscript-rich England without a hub of palaeographic study, giving way to centres in the US and Canada".

     
  • Sheila Lawlor: Labour's dumb university cuts (2010-02-10, "guardian.co.uk") (found thanks to a pointer by Daniel DiCenso in the facebook group "Save Palaeography At King's London" <click on the tab "Wall" there>):
    Quote:
    As elsewhere in the public sector, the problem is not just boom-to-bust funding – it's that cuts are in all the wrong places

    ...
    Quote:
    The government seems set on attacking the academic subjects in the humanities while promoting its agenda for "access". If those in the universities who do the government's bidding have their way, the effect will be to undermine the chances of students and destroy the jobs of academics. It will be one more stage in the decline of Britain's once proud university system; and with it not just the education of new generations, but the income earned for this country from one of its most successful industries.

    ...
    Quote:
    In Leeds biological sciences is to be cut; in King's College London the UK's only paleography professorship is to go and cuts will focus on engineering and American studies. Not only that but academics will have to reapply for their jobs. And KCL is one of the universities with reserves.

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Re: King's College London cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #20 - 11.02.2010 at 10:26:03
 
Now there is also a (somewhat strange?) 2010-02-10 entry at Nugatorius scriptor: King’s Palaeography Gets Press:
Quote:
On Apilist, the APICES mailing list, some important mails suggested that people focus efforts on writing letters to the principal rather than on a publicity campaign. I suspect that it was felt that publicly voiced animosity would not be productive, and as far as I know that hasn’t happened. This may explain why there isn’t a prominent (western-oriented) medievalist taking up the role Finkel has presently. The upshot of the (in)action is that the publicity now appears to be coming from the press rather than an embittered group of cloistered professors of archaic studies. That is it’s a story, not a letter to the editor, and so, one hopes, more noticeable.

In looking at some of the signatures on the on-line petition (6042 signatures at present), it is a delight to see the number of librarians and archivists who have lent their names, the good number of people working in humanities technologies (also known as digital humanities, humanistic informatics and so on) and all the calligraphers, freelancers and others. The number of letters from outside the strictly medievalist or classicist communities should reinforce the public role palaeography plays (never mind how arcane the whole ‘palaeo’-thing sounds).

 
 
 
On Apilist you can read at http://www.palaeographia.org/apices/apices.htm?P=apilist :
Quote:
• La liste est réservée aux membres des organisations concernées. Ceux-ci sont automatiquement inscrits dans la liste par les responsables de ces organisations.
• Seuls les membres de ces organisations peuvent diffuser leurs messages par l'intermédiaire de la liste.
|
• The list is exclusive to the members of the aforesaid organisations, who will be registered automatically by the staff.
• Only the members of these organisations are entitled to send messages via the list.

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Re: Some updates re KCL cuts: i.a. palaeography
Reply #21 - 12.02.2010 at 08:41:52
 
Quote from hck on 11.02.2010 at 09:43:29:

 
By now there are updates and comments to this text. The situation at King's College London as of now (2010-02-12, 8:39h GMT+1) is not mentioned in the updates, but in the comments it is.
 
And the petition now has 6346 signatures (see here).
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Brian Leiter on King's College London cuts
Reply #22 - 12.02.2010 at 13:19:50
 
Brian Leiter by now has obviously decided to get rid of any velvet gloves he might ever have used when typing his blog entries on what is or might be happening at KCL: see The King's College, London Scandal Deepens: Using a Budget Crisis to Impose an Administrative Agenda and Attack Academic Freedom (2010-02-11) (palaeography is mentioned in the comments section), and especially Jan Palmowski of King's College, London: The Most Disgraceful Academic Administrator Alive? (2010-02-11) (no comments visible to that posting up to now (2010-02-12, 13:15 GMT+1), but comments at Leiter's blog are moderated, and hence do not appear immediately).
 
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Nugatorius scriptor on: KCL cuts: palaeography
Reply #23 - 12.02.2010 at 13:24:22
 
There is now a new item on this in/by Nugatorius scriptor at http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2010/02/the-kings-college-london-scandal-d eepens-using-a-budget-crisis-to-impose-an-administrative-agenda.html . (There are also some interesting comments there - and I'm not talking about the one by me.)
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Re: Brian Leiter on King's College London cuts
Reply #24 - 15.02.2010 at 09:47:33
 
Quote from hck on 12.02.2010 at 13:19:50:
Brian Leiter by now has obviously decided to get rid of any velvet gloves he might ever have used when typing his blog entries on what is or might be happening at KCL: see The King's College, London Scandal Deepens: Using a Budget Crisis to Impose an Administrative Agenda and Attack Academic Freedom (2010-02-11) (palaeography is mentioned in the comments section), and especially Jan Palmowski of King's College, London: The Most Disgraceful Academic Administrator Alive? (2010-02-11) (no comments visible to that posting up to now (2010-02-12, 13:15 GMT+1), but comments at Leiter's blog are moderated, and hence do not appear immediately).


 
Jan Palmowski of King's College, London: The Most Disgraceful Academic Administrator Alive? seems to be no longer available.
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