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How do academics survive the bureaucracy, the petty jealousies, the absurdities of operating in the university? More important, how do they, as humans, cope with the darker shadows that enter professional lives-- illness, sorrow, death? Coyote, The Trickster, a well known figure in the American Indian world, is also the icon for communication scholar Tom Frentz. Frentz uses the survival strategies of The Trickster in his articulate, amusing, and often emotional autoethnography of striving for quality through the worlds of academia and medicine.
Thomas S. Frentz is professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. An eclectic scholar in both the social sciences and humanities, he has published three books, twenty nine scholarly articles, four book chapters, over fifty convention papers, and has lectured extensively at colleges and universities across the country. He teaches courses in rhetorical theory, criticism, film, ethnography, and myth. In 1994/95, he served as the President of the Southern States Communication Association. In 2006, he was named Master Researcher by the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. And in 2007, the Rhetoric and Communication Theory Division of the National Communication Association named him Distinguished Scholar of 2007.
Product Details ISBN: 9781598743173
ISBN-10: 1598743171
Publisher: Left Coast Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2008
Pages: 192
Language: English
Series: Writing Lives
"Trickster in Tweed is a tour de force on academic culture written with a compelling and artful narrative style all its own. But it is also the story of a latter day Robert Pirsig-inspired Phaedrus searching not only for Quality but also for voice within an academy that too often denies or at least depreciates it. The vital connection between Quality and voice, between denial and depreciation of one and the demise of the other coupled with his own self-questioning depression and cancer is perfectly pitched to the Trickster’s brave discovery that achieving one’s own voice is at once a lifesaving accomplishment and an important gift of Quality to his readers and students." —H. L. Goodall, Jr., Director, Hugh Downs School of Communication, Arizona State University

"This is a powerful, compelling book that is destined to have a seismic impact. It will be widely read, partly for the critique it offers of the forces that diminish life and learning within the world of the academy, partly for its story of a rebellious life lived on the margins of that world, and partly for the joy, anger, and tragedy of the personal life it reveals. Beyond these factors, the book is simply one hell of a good read: I can’t remember when I stayed up so long beyond bedtime with an academic book simply because I could not put it down." —Michael Osborn, University of Memphis

"In Trickster in Tweed: The Search for Quality in Faculty Life, Tom Frentz wrestles with the alienation, demoralization, isolation, and anger he experienced over a lifetime as a university professor. Refusing to give up his quest for a meaningful, high quality life, or give in to the institutional depression that permeates American universities in the twenty-first century, Tom turns to personal narrative and autoethnography to better understand the emotional and institutional sources of his discontent and to fashion a new story for himself, one that would allow his own voice to flourish, and make it possible for him to merge his heart with his head in both teaching and research." —From the Foreword by Arthur P. Bochner, University of South Florida

"One asks: What precisely would Frentz have become, if not an academic? ... The field of communication, however, might have suffered, assuming Frentz's scholarly productivity depended on removing himself from the cozy confines of Oshkosh.  ... Yet, given the myriad of professional disappointments that this choice compelled, the loss of self coupled with the demands of academic publishing, the sympathetic reader is provoked to ask: Was it worth it?  The question, of course, is unanswerable.  But Tom Frentz has opened a space for dialogue, about these and other issues, with his bravery.  The true value of autoethnographic work, it seems to me, is that questions like this can be posed at all."

- Thomas A Discenna, Southern Communication Journal

Trickster in Tweed, it should be borne in mind, was Frentz’s narrative response to a health crisis he read as a call or catalyst to get back on the quest for quality. In this sense, this book’s autoethnographic project afforded him a way of re-authoring life quality and coherence through revisiting his life and career story, while pushing back on those factors of academic life that diminished it. This book is VERY personal, and not quite as focused on what it means to find quality academic life as I had hoped, but it did provoke, through its many anecdotes, a recognition of how challenging, yet rewarding, it can be to pursue quality as a feature of academic life.”
—Dr. Tom Strong, Professor & Associate Dean Research, University of Calgary's Faculty of Education