THES diary

January 15, 1999

Union man with a past

An interesting name emerges on the list of nominees for members of the national executive committee at the Association of University Teachers, particularly in the light of claims of increasing chumminess with Natfhe.

One of seven candidates for the five vacancies is former Natfhe treasurer, Chris Minta, senior lecturer in technology at Bolton Institute of Higher Education.

Mr Minta resigned as treasurer from Natfhe on the grounds of ill health nine years ago. He later surfaced in Nathfe's smaller rival, the then Association of Polytechnic Teachers.

David Triesman, AUT general secretary, is unlikely to be best pleased by the prospect of Minta as committee colleague. He was Natfhe negotiating secretary when complaints were raised about Minta's handling of expenses, which Minta flatly denied. Results of the ballot will be made known by the end of March.

Prize for gobbledegook

Judith Butler, professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley, has triumphed in the Bad Writing Contest, organised by the journal Philosophy and Literature, which celebrates the most stylistically lamentable passages of recently published scholarly books and articles.

Professor Butler is recognised for the following sentence found in "Further Reflections on the Conversations of Our Time" in the journal Diacritics in 1997: "The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

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