Original Preface and Front Matter | Pierre van den Berghe

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Author's Notes (1970) [Original Preface]

This is very much an insider's book. I wrote it because, as a third generation academic, I find writing the best way of expressing myself, a kind of conditioned reflex. But, of course, my debt to my colleagues is immense, for their behavior constitutes my subject matter. They are too numerous to mention, and in any case, most of them would rather not be named here, I am sure. I will make an exception, however, for my friends Edward Gross and John F. Scott, who have too good a sense of humor to mind, and who gave me the benefit of a critical reading of parts of the manuscript. The majority of my colleagues will have to be satisfied with the assurance that any resemblance between themselves and characters between these covers is not purely coincidental. In last analysis, this book is not directed at my peers who are, by and large, beyond redemption, but at the students who will have to decide whether to play the game for what it is worth or to use their creativity to change the rules.

My personal hope is that they will help make this book obsolete. Among my distinguished predecessors in the study of academia, I am especially indebted to Thorstein Veblen whose Higher Learning in America is an undeservedly neglected classic of American social science. I regard Veblen as one of the few truly great American social scientists, whose honesty and brilliance caused him to be hounded and persecuted by his more meagerly endowed colleagues.

Finally, I am grateful to my wife, Irmgard, who wisely chose the bliss of domesticity over the hustle of academia, and strongly advised me against publishing this scandalous tract under my own name. After duly considering her sound advice, I decided as usual to disregard it and to give free rein to the vanity of seeing my name in print once more. As a tenured full professor I have not got much to gain; but, then, neither do I have much to lose.

P.L.v.d.B.
Seattle, March 1970

 

Contents

Author's Notes (1970)
1. The Protective Myths
2. The Academic Pecking Order
3. The Lean Years: Apprenticeship
4. Career Strategies
5. The Fat Years: Salary, Tenure, and Promotions
6. Teaching: What to Do About It
7. Publishing: How to Do It
8. Grants, Research, and Foundations
9. Conclusion

 

Dust Jacket Text

When the owner of a hard-earned Ph.D. accepts a university teaching post, he hopes for advancement based on merit. But he soon sees that academic success is negotiable. Today, gamesmanship is the Ph.D.'s surest means of getting to the top.

Academic Gamesmanship will be to the Ph.D. what The Peter Principle is to the business executive: a brilliant---and hilarious---guide to the strategies of success. Its exposé of academic pretentiousness will seem irresistibly funny to every reader. But behind the wit lies the insight of a noted sociologist. Dr. van den Berghe punctures academic pomposity to reveal inefficiency. He weighs the in-fighting, credit-stealing, and buck-passing used in jockeying for power. He even questions the value of many scholars' goals.

 

About the Author

Pierre van den Berghe is well known on three continents for his work in sociology, especially in ethnic and race relations. With two M.A.'s and a Ph.D. in sociology, he has taught at Harvard, Wesleyan, the University of Washington, the State University of New York, and the Sorbonne. In the 1960's he was Ford Foundation Research Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Natal and Visiting Rockefeller Professor at universities in Kenya and Nigeria. He also has published seven books on sociological subjects and contributed to many other scholarly volumes.

His broad experience as a professor has aroused his concern over the rules for advancement on the university campus. Dr. van den Berghe has written Academic Gamesmanship expressly to help young professors either to change these rules or, if this is impossible, to use them to win deserved advancement.

Born 37 years ago in the Congo [Editor's Note: 82 years ago in 2015], Dr. van den Berghe is now an American citizen. Along with his professional activities he has found time to marry, to rear two children, and to learn seven languages.

 

Copyright

© Copyright 1970 by Pierre L. van den Berghe
ISBN 0 200 71715 4
Library of Congress Catalogue Card; Number: 70-128772

 

Dedication

To the memory of Maurice Caullery (1868--1958), zoologist and geneticist, former Sorbonne Professor, President of the French Academy of Sciences and Foreign Member of the Royal Society, my maternal grandfather and academic exemplar, who, over half a century ago, wrote as one of his 244 publications a book on Les Universités et la Vie Scientifique aux Etats-Unis.

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