Alexander Ewing fulfils an ambition but says even the published can perish

I am happy to announce in this newspaper that, as of last week, I’m finally a published academic. Or at least a published DPhil student (that means a PhD for you reading outside Oxford circles).

As an aside, I have never been sure when one officially becomes an academic. Poverty must certainly be a factor.

Anyway, I wrote something academic – at least according to my two anonymous reviewers. I owe each of them a bottle.

Upon hearing the news, my mother said it was a “proud moment”, as all mothers are umbilically bound to say. Dad was chuffed that something has come out of this marathon.

But for me it is a major relief more than anything else.

I hate to mention the phrase “publish or perish”, which all non-academics, for some reason, love to say to us in irritating sing-song fashion, finished off with “as they say”.

It is not even true. Whoever “they” might be are rather ignorant of the echoing emptiness of the current job market.

Even the published are likely to perish. Clinging on with a few “teaching gigs” might be the worst sentence of all.

Yet, even today, some seem to avoid the hassle. They slide into cushy arrangements on the back of an e-book that turns out to be, in fact, a collection of their blog musings on the rights of their cat in the context of citizenship theory. (I have made that up, in case readers are wondering if I have an axe to grind.) To be truthful, I have known about this good news for months, but it was not until I saw the article with my name and affiliation on the Internet that it could be believed. Nothing can be believed until it is on the Internet.

Until then, I always feared the editor would ring me up and inform me that there has been a terrible mistake.

So, dear readers, I have an assignment for you. Hither thee to Google, or, if you prefer, another outlet that pays more tax, and search for Conceptions of Reinhart Koselleck’s Theory of Historical Time in the Thinking of Michael Oakeshott.

Don’t worry, you will be able to find it from there. Strange, I know, but my article is the only thing that comes up on the topic.

Your next assignment is to access the article from a number of different computers to get the readership numbers up. If you do not subscribe to the journal History of European Ideas, you should. Or send me an email and I will grant you one of my 50 “access passes”.

Beyond a handful of scholars in the field, I have no idea who to send these to.

For those of you writing your own articles, feel free to cite mine. Its relevance to your work is not an issue. Remember, “cross-discipline” is an important buzzword in administrative circles, almost as big as “impact” and the new one I heard in a meeting today – “innovation”. Who knew?