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How Professors Think : Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment - Michele Lamont

How Professors Think

Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment

Paperback Published: 1st October 2010
ISBN: 9780674057333
Number Of Pages: 336

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Excellence. Originality. Intelligence. Everyone in academia stresses quality. But what exactly is it, and how do professors identify it?

In the academic evaluation system known as "peer review," highly respected professors pass judgment, usually confidentially, on the work of others. But only those present in the deliberative chambers know exactly what is said. Michele Lamont observed deliberations for fellowships and research grants, and interviewed panel members at length. In "How Professors Think, " she reveals what she discovered about this secretive, powerful, peculiar world.

Anthropologists, political scientists, literary scholars, economists, historians, and philosophers don't share the same standards. Economists prefer mathematical models, historians favor different kinds of evidence, and philosophers don't care much if only other philosophers understand them. But when they come together for peer assessment, academics are expected to explain their criteria, respect each other's expertise, and guard against admiring only work that resembles their own. They must decide: Is the research original and important? Brave, or glib? Timely, or merely trendy? Pro-diversity or interdisciplinary enough?

Judging quality isn't robotically rational; it's emotional, cognitive, and social, too. Yet most academics' self-respect is rooted in their ability to analyze complexity and recognize quality, in order to come to the fairest decisions about that elusive god, "excellence." In "How Professors Think, " Lamont aims to illuminate the confidential process of evaluation and to push the gatekeepers to both better understand and perform their role.

Industry Reviews

Balanced, informative and largely persuasive. -- Adam Kuper Times Literary Supplement 20090918 How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment gives the reader keen insight into the decision-making process behind the awarding of prestigious fellowships. Lamont's book is an enjoyable read, even a bit of a page turner at times...It is a "must-read" for graduate students and new professors. -- Marybeth Gasman Academe 20100101

Opening the Black Box of Peer Reviewp. 1
How Panels Workp. 22
On Disciplinary Culturesp. 53
Pragmatic Fairness: Customary Rules of Deliberationp. 107
Recognizing Various Kinds of Excellencep. 159
Considering Interdisciplinarity and Diversityp. 202
Implications in the United States and Abroadp. 239
Appendix: Methods and Data Analysisp. 251
Notesp. 259
Referencesp. 289
Acknowledgmentsp. 316
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780674057333
ISBN-10: 0674057333
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st October 2010
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.9 x 14.4  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.41