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#altac origin stories

Everybody working in a hybrid, new-model, or "alternative academic" career has his or her own origin story. Here's the origin of the #altac hashtag and the name.

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  1. Earlier today, a friend asked a question about one phrase that reminded me of another.
  2. Everybody working in a hybrid, new-model, or "alternative academic" career has his or her own origin story.  Here's the origin of the #altac hashtag and the name.
  3. Then Jason went full-on Usenet.
  4. And there we had it: a quick signal of difference, between the conventional, disheartening, "non-academic" label for scholars-practitioners working beyond the tenure track and one that suggested, well... alternatives. Not a second fiddle or a Plan B, but something distinctly not non-academic.  Maybe even something that gestured toward an alternative understanding of the academy.
  5. That little conversation led to this, which led to that and the other thing, and to many other things like it, by many other people. Before long, for better and worse, and to the surprise of those of us who first used the term casually among a small audience of collaborators on Twitter -- we began seeing "#alt-ac" and "alternative academic careers" cropping up everywhere, from job ads to newspaper articles to major statements by professional associations.  By the time the 2012 MLA convention rolled around, we were explaining the Usenet joke and giving up on the irony of having promulgated a broken hashtag for our square-peg careers.
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