An Open Letter Regarding Rand Paul’s Teaching Appointment at GWU

Dear Dean Vinson,

I recently learned that Rand Paul, the junior U.S. Senator from Kentucky will be teaching a course on dystopian literature at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. I’m an anthropologist at the early stages of my career, currently teaching at Georgetown and trying to figure out how to make it in academia. I was wondering if you might be able to answer a few questions about this faculty appointment so that I might make my CV line up a bit more with what universities are looking for.

Has the senator written any scholarship on dystopian fiction?

Has the senator written any dystopian fiction?

Has the senator participated in or presented at the MLA meetings or those of any other relevant academic society?

Did this appointment go through the English department?

Was this syllabus approved by a department, a hiring committee, or even a curriculum committee?

Does the senator have anything to say about dystopian literature aside from the fact that he thinks it represents people’s dissatisfaction with the power of a state level political formation, a dissatisfaction that seems to be selectively employed at the center of the senator’s own political ideology?

Has GW made a policy decision to appoint people who hold neither a terminal nor an undergraduate degree in a related field to their teaching obligations and who have produced no scholarship in their field of expertise? If this is the case, how do you figure this will affect GW’s accreditation?

Given that somewhere around 70 percent of teaching in this country is done by poorly paid contract faculty who are dying to get this kind of work, perhaps you can understand where my curiosity comes from.


Daniel Souleles
Georgetown University

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