Welcoming Richard Dawkins to Substack
I'm getting ready to write my PhD...on substack! (Not 100% of it, but putting out major excerpts as I write for feedback and communal engagement). Coming this summer!
I’m an academic considering starting a Substack. The hesitations I feel are less related to time (although that is a factor for all of us). Instead, I worry that I am overly trained in scientific writing and won’t be able to translate my ideas in an engaging way for the public. I know I just need to try it and learn as I go!
I have been a Lawyer and Bioethicist for 30 years, most of my career as Legislative Advisor. I have also been in Academia for nearly 20 years, not full time but very much engaged. During the last years I felt very constrained and limited in my work and in Academia. I got tired of talking among “ourselves”, the so called academics. During the pandemic this tiredness became frustration, and last year I decided to quit and to follow another path, that involved a different form of communication. I decided to organize Online Literary Salons, where we can talk about the interaction between Science, Art, Politics and Literature. And I found Substack, only starting, but so far I think is a fantastic platform for communicate serious stuff in a more friendly way and to a wider audience.
We desperately need academics who are academics, not just public intellectuals. I'm a former academic historian, now writing for the public, and my Substack is practically a full-time job. It would have been extremely difficult to do this and an academic job well at the same time. Plus I'm keenly aware of the pressures that attend writing for a public audience, and how those can skew what we write. It concerns me that, as support falls for university careers, the pressure to indulge confirmation bias grows, whether academics join think tanks or write newsletters. It's something I point out to my readers, and the reason why I'm so grateful that my paying subscribers support my work. I would be rich if I only wrote for an audience that doesn't want to be challenged.
I am a 20+ year police supervisor, and I’ve been writing on Substack since February. I encourage your readers to enjoy a perspective from someone who’s been there tackling current issues with Integrity. Courageous Nobility with Jeff Daukas.
Substack has provided a forum for me to release stress through the gift of writing, and to help enhance the lives of the people around me!
Intellectual democracy: it’s high time. Amen.
This was so interesting to read, thank you. I’m a recently first published academic and about to start my PhD this autumn. I’m keen to get into the habit of using Substack to share ideas, research, and gain insights.
God, I love this place. Thank you, Substack people.
I'm an English and Women's and Gender Studies professor and Substack has helped do what seemed impossible: make my scholarship and teaching public facing. There's been a big push to break down the walls of academia through a commitment to public humanities scholarship, and I feel like the newsletter (where I translate WGST concepts to understand local South Carolina culture and politics) is helping me to finally join in making what we do at colleges and universities more widely available. I wonder if Substack could partner with foundations like Mellon or NEH to help sponsor more of this work? Will be interesting to see what the future holds!
Can't let you only highlight the fellows.
I am a professor and I have a free Substack about books, libraries and censorship. Today I have 759 subscribers. I use Substack posts as outside reading in my classes.
Ebla to E-Books: The Preservation and Annihilation of Memory.
Well...I am a professor but because I am an adjunct...no publishing and no push. Which makes me kinda sad. I teach because my students are awesome, but the idea that I could expand my thinking here is intriguing.
However, I teach a really really narrowly technical subject...food safety auditing. But maybe I can figure out how to create a whole set of writing that reflects the whole me.
Welcome Richard. (Why cant we tag writers in comments Substack???)
I first came to know Richard when i read 'The God Delusion' back in 2006. Since then, i have enjoyed his books. i am kicking off my Masters of Law degree later n September so i will be writing about my journey as well in academia and share excerpts of my thesis.
And stimulating dialogue”
i started my substack when I was shut out of academia
Making Peace With Never Doing a PhD
So far my favorite refugee from academia is euggypius from a plague chronicle. My second-favorite is me. Neither of us have yet used Substack to write much or really at all on the subjects that occupied our minds in academia - I think partly because they are very niche subjects, and partly because having been canalized for so long into these narrow capillaries of thought, we'd rather right about almost anything else.
Nevertheless the possibilities of using Substack to build out an ersatz academia have been on my mind a lot. The utility for conventional writing and even instruction are obvious enough. I do wonder about the natural sciences though - technical papers are an enormous amount of work, of relatively negligible general interest, but extremely important to scientific progress. Can an audience-supported model support scientific research? Jury is out I think.
Incredibly good to read this. As a student ending my studies years ago it was a great letdown to think I’d never again have a professor who inspired awe or humbled us to rethink a position. Just as important were the rare few who allowed students to freely challenge them without shame and then, of course, we were expected us to explain our logic & defend our positions. I rarely go to any other forum now so Substack is like a new home!