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Tenure and the uncertainty principle

by Critical Commons Manager

In the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man, the opacity and liminality of the tenure process is captured with alarming clarity. A Physics professor is tormented by a wife who wants to leave him, an anti-semitic neighbor and a colleague who helpfully volunteers the fact that anonymous charges of moral turpitude have been received by his tenure committee. Appropriately enough, Professor Gopnick's disciplinary specialty is the uncertainty principle, as exemplified by the Schroedinger's cat paradox in which a cat is conceptualized as both alive and dead at the same time. Gopnick's own uncertainty about the outcome of his bid for tenure is eventually overshadowed by a natural disaster darkening the horizon and an ominous medical report, suggesting that he, too, is simultaneously alive and dead within the liminality of an impending tenure decision.

Another envisioning of the tenure process

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Opacity and sadism in the tenure process

from A Serious Man (2009)
Creator: Coen Brothers
Posted by Critical Commons Manager
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