chapter  1
12 Pages

Out of Sight

Academic Otherness and the Paradox of Visibility
ByMichael Borgstrom

Over the past few years, I have received in my campus mailbox a regular stream of information targeting those in the academy that occupy the somewhat inelegantly named position of “mid-career scholar.” These materials stretch across the professional and the personal, often combining both in unexpected ways: requests to serve on various evaluative committees for other universities and invitations to participate in professional working groups appear alongside opportunities to take advantage of resources that will help me develop a “coherent strategy to manage my estate.” Such exhortations (to work, to plan, to prepare, to serve) now seem commonplace to me, especially since they complement more local urgings to become centrally involved, post-tenure, in the administrative work of my university and the larger campus system of which it is a part. While I have demurred at calls to manage my “estate,” I have attempted to respond, sensibly, to enhanced expectations for service work by agreeing to coordinate new initiatives focused on LGBTQ studies on my campus, by sitting on my university’s faculty senate, and, more recently, by serving as chair of my home department.