Are these necessary? A conversation I had last week while I was travelling made me think that I should go back to including one on my website, lest someone quickly scanning it (who might, for example, want to hire me to do some consultancy) doesn’t take me seriously as a scholar. But ten minutes of preparing such a list provoked such a feeling of existential turgidity in me that I couldn’t bring myself to continue.
What does the omnipresence of these lists say about academic subjectivity? There’s a commensurability inherent to lists which has moral psychological implications. Individual projects, each one of which we might well have been inspired and tested by, get reduced to items of equal status on a numbered list. Lists flatten moral experience, reducing what matters into what is counted. I really hate numbered lists.
Unless someone convinces me that I’m really shooting myself in the foot, I hereby commit to avoiding using them wherever possible. I think I have a pretty impressive publications list for someone 2 years out of a PhD, with the partial exception that there’s a lot of edited books and chapters, as well as an absence of any publications in ‘high impact’ journals. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, but the process of performing that proudness through a numbered list is totally deadening.
In fact I’m increasingly tempted to delete all the static content from my website, reducing it to a blog with many categories and instead just put the focus on things that I’m wilfully doing, rather than feeling the need to awkwardly freeze and represent those streams of activity in order to construct a professional narrative. Would this be a bad idea? Thoughts appreciated.