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You Can Call Me "Ali"

Dear Folx,

I invite you into a new space that has provided me comfort. About six (6) months ago, I wrote my last blog as a writer without tenure. During that time, I asked people to start calling me "Ali", which is an Arabic root that means, "high", "elevated", "champion". People must have thought me completely obnoxious. "Call me `Ali'...like Muhammad Ali," I offer. Oh, ohhh, ok: "Ali?!?" "Yeah, Ali," I respond. There is a soft rhyme in the name, "Abigail Ali"..."A.Ali"..."Dr. Ali". Call me "Ali".

Ali, for me, is short for Alyasah, so you can know how to pronounce the name properly: Ahh--lee--ah--sah. Not, Al-Ya-Sah. Not, A-lish-a. Not, Ally-as-ah. Not, Ally, Al-lie. Call me, "Ali". Derived from "Aliaxa", my champion for infinity. How I got here from Abigail is a hard story to tell. It is a story of love, of grief, of misdiagnosis, of asylums, of passi…

Pre-Tenure Anxieties

The evaluation period for my tenure file has begun. The letters have been written and sent in; the documents have been uploaded and updated; the dates have been set. Every school has a different process -- but at Emory University if you are in the College of Arts and Science, tenure is basically a three step process.

First, the department votes on your file and constructs a letter summarizing how they feel about your candidacy. The complexities of your arguments are relayed to the next set of readers through their eyes and the eyes of the letter writers. Supposedly, that process happened yesterday afternoon for me. There are hints that it will be positive. That should ease my anxiety. Yet, here I am at 3:11am, trying to work out my anxiety through writing about the very thing that brings me anxiety -- getting tenure.

Second, the department's letter and vote are sent to the "T&P Committee" for the Emory College of Arts and Science. This is a big group of people -- 9 t…