How are pieces in pop culture volumes viewed?

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In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

How do people (especially those on hiring committees, tenure committees, etc.) view publications in special volumes on pop cultural topics? E.g., Philosophy and Dragons, The Ethics of Middle-earth? Is there any professional value? Does it leave a negative impression?

Good questions. My sense is that the answers to them may depend a lot on the kind of college or university in question. One reader submitted the following reply:

I was editing a volume for a leading press, and one of the referees objected to the inclusion of a paper by an author of one of these popular pieces – this is merely a correlation. They never explicitly mentioned the publications. But I doubt this helped the person.

It’s honestly a bit shocking to me that someone would object to including an author in an edited volume simply because the author published a pop culture piece. Then again, the longer that I’ve been in academia, the fewer things surprise me. There are always naysayers, and I have little doubt that some people may look down on these kinds of publications. On the other hand, I know someone at a teaching-focused university whose pop culture piece was one of the main things their tenure committee focused on in favor of tenure. They loved it, as apparently did the university’s administrators. 

I’m curious to hear what other people think, particularly people who have served on hiring or tenure committees. I’ve written two pieces for pop culture volumes, and frankly I don’t care what anyone thinks of it! I doubt they’ve had much (if any) “professional value” for me, but I’ve enjoyed writing them tremendously and think philosophy as a discipline can only benefit from this kind of stuff.

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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