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Peppermint Patty

Professor John Gee Leaves the Maxwell Institute?

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It sounds like it was a voluntary departure.  Here is DCP's take on the move:

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I’m very pleased to be able to report that my friend, former student, and former colleague at the Maxwell Institute, Dr. John Gee, has now moved from the Maxwell Institute to my own Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages, in BYU’s College of Humanities.

 

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The reasearch Gee is known for doesn't really fit the NAMI much now imo..  Makes sense to move to a better fit.Gets to keep all the perqs apparently (his Chair).

It will be interesting to compare what he produces in the next several years to the past four (five?).

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23 minutes ago, Calm said:

The reasearch Gee is known for doesn't really fit the NAMI much now imo..  Makes sense to move to a better fit.Gets to keep all the perqs apparently (his Chair).

It will be interesting to compare what he produces in the next several years to the past four (five?).

It sounds like this is a good change for Professor Gee. I look forward to any future projects he may have in the works.

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52 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I expect no change in that at all. 

However, if there is more interest in his work from those around him, the greater support may help him increase his productivity.

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6 hours ago, Calm said:

The research Gee is known for doesn't really fit the NAMI much now imo..  Makes sense to move to a better fit.Gets to keep all the perqs apparently (his Chair). ...

I dunno. :huh: :unknw:  I've never really thought about it.  Do faculty have really nice chairs? 

Is this John Gee's chair?

Image result for Throne

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I dunno. :huh: :unknw:  I've never really thought about it.  Do faculty have really nice chairs? 

Is this John Gee's chair?

Image result for Throne

Not sure how this works, but from what I understand the late Frank William Gay was a billionaire executive who worked for Howard Hughes.  His son Robert co-founder at Bain cashed out with more capital than Mitt.  So likely they took $10M dollars in a Fidelity account and then depending on the terms of the gift at 3% over 20years, they gift the interest earned to byu who takes a 50% share and the recipient of the endowed chair the other 50%.  If this is over 20years, then in the year 2000 this would result in a $300k gift for the year, with Dr. Gee receiving a salary of $150k.  By next year 2020 his salary would be $263k.  I just don't think the Gay's love BYU enough to just gift the $10M to them initially as one lump sum.  

Edited by blueglass
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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Peppermint Patty said:

Dan Peterson has posted an article regarding Professor John Gee parting ways with the Maxwell Institute:  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/05/john-gees-good-news.html

I'm not sure what any of this means or how it will effect Mormon Studies.  Thoughts?

 

12 hours ago, ksfisher said:

My first thought is that the article doesn’t say he was dismissed.  Maybe I missed that.

I’m wondering that as well. I had already read Dan’s blog post, and it didn’t strike me at all that Professor Gee had been “dismissed” from anything. So I clicked on Peppermint Patty’s post to see if there was a link to something I hadn’t yet seen. But nope. Seems like click bait to me. Or, at best, a very misleading thread title. 

As for the “impact on Mormon studies” I don’t see any downside whatsoever. It’s a better fit for Gee, judging by what was stated in the blog post. He will continue to have ample publishing outlets, presumably including, but by no means limited to, the Interpreter (don’t recall offhand what its new name is, just that it doesn’t include “Mormon”). 

I do see a change recently to the Maxwell Institute itself, occasioned by the recent reigning in by the Church leadership, whereby there is now less of a focus on secularization as compared to the period following the purge of 2012. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I welcome it, in fact. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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7 hours ago, Calm said:

However, if there is more interest in his work from those around him, the greater support may help him increase his productivity.

This. 

Typically, the milieu in which one works can and does enhance or detract from one’s effectiveness. 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

This. 

Typically, the milieu in which one works can and does enhance or detract from one’s effectiveness. 

What are the ways that Gee's  "research focus, approach, and agenda were out of sync with the interests of the post-2012 Maxwell Institute"?  

SW: "Professor Gee's unique brand of scholarship is clearly no longer welcome at the Maxwell Institute."

Peterson: "We've known that for years. And now, mercifully, John Gee is free at last!"

Edited by blueglass
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4 minutes ago, blueglass said:

What are the ways that Gee's  "research focus, approach, and agenda were out of sync with the interests of the post-2012 Maxwell Institute"?  

SW: "Professor Gee's unique brand of scholarship is clearly no longer welcome at the Maxwell Institute."

Peterson: "We've known that for years. And now, mercifully, John Gee is free at last!"

I can only offer a reasoned guess, but if Dan Peterson and colleagues were sacked from the institute in 2012 because their own “focus, approach and agenda” did not fit the “new direction” envisioned by the institute director at that time, and if Gee was more “in sync” with how things were prior to the purge, then it stands to reason that what he had to offer would not have been altogether in harmony with said “new direction.” 

I don’t have any inside or detailed information, but your question appeared to be addressed to me, so I answered as best I could. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I’m wondering that as well. I had already read Dan’s blog post, and it didn’t strike me at all that Professor Gee had been “dismissed” from anything. So I clicked on Peppermint Patty’s post to see if there was a link to something I hadn’t yet seen. But nope. Seems like click bait to me. Or, at best, a very misleading thread title.

You'll notice that PP's title has a question mark.  Perhaps this paragraph hints at some sort of encouraged exit. I can see why she would ask the question.

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Many of us have hoped for quite a few years now that Dr. Gee would be able to exit the Maxwell Institute, which has been officially uninterested since the Purge of 2012 in the kinds of work that he was hired to do, and to find a more congenial working environment.

 

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Posted (edited)

Just finished reading Elder Holland's address to the maxwell institute:

https://mi.byu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2018-Maxwell-Institute-Annual-Report-small.pdf

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Yes, these programs may indeed provide a “thoughtful consideration of the Restoration’s distinctive culture and convictions.”25 Yes, the “richness, intellectual substance, . . . relevance to other religious traditions, and its people’s historic resilience”26 do have value and undoubtedly lift the Church out of the dismissed, unexamined space to which it has been relegated by so many for so long. Perhaps that is enough elsewhere. But I would be the first to oppose such an effort on this campus if all it meant was a thoughtful exploration of our religion’s “richness” or its “intellectual substance” or its “historic resilience.”27 That would be what your review team called “a secular premise which [Latter-day Saints] will find philosophically troubling.”28 Certainly your trustees would find it troubling.

Holland cites this external review paper 8 times, 

12 Terryl Givens, David Holland, and Reid Neilson, External Review of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship,
December 2014, 7

I can't find it - anyone have a link?  

Edited by blueglass
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It sounds like this was not a decision that was made lightly.

 

Dan Peterson just clarified some details:

"There was definitely involvement at the highest levels of the BYU administration and at Church headquarters."

 

Louis Midgley just commented that he was notified 10 days ago by an Apostle:

"I first heard about this from one of the Brethren ten days ago. Fluhman may or may not have known that John Gee would soon escape from his control. Like Dan Peterson, I have also seen a copy of the memo to Fluhman that shifted John Gee, with the Bill Gay chair, as Dan has indicated, to a solid academic department."

 

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/05/john-gees-good-news.html#disqus_thread

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Prof. Peterson is engaging in some very deceptive spin. Dr. Gee is not a full professor (highest academic rank), is not tenured (=Continuing Faculty Status at BYU), and does not still retain the Gay chair. Further, Gee's move to Ancient Near Eastern Languages (ANEL) was not a power move to escape the MI or its director, Spencer Fluhman. Gee was absolutely removed from his position, after previous probationary actions were taken against him by the university, and all of this was accomplished by proper channels and policies. Well before this recent announcement, Gee was compelled to go hat in hand to ask whether ANEL or other colleges and units on campus might take him on. All initially rebuffed him. Eventually a deal was worked out with ANEL and he found a temporary home there (again, he is not tenured and works on a contingent contract). As much as Peterson would like to have you think otherwise, Gee's departure was not at his request or to his benefit, though he may eventually come to like his new position more. It is understandable that Peterson would try to assist his long time friend in saving face, but his dishonesty in this effort is a disservice to everyone involved.

Thanks for the link to he Dr Peterson's blog about it.  This was quite a comment, thought I'd bring it here for further discussion.  If this starsshine1942 person knows what he/she says, this is quite a story.  It does feel like MI doesn't need Gee to fulfill their obligation to the BoA stuff.  Wouldn't be surprised at all if they've tried and tried to get him out for various reasons, and certainly wouldn't be surprised by the story this comment tells.   

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So we're supposed to believe an anonymous person?

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7 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I dunno. :huh: :unknw:  I've never really thought about it.  Do faculty have really nice chairs? 

Is this John Gee's chair?

Image result for Throne

All kidding aside, some few professors have endowed chairs, which means that they are not really answerable to ridiculous orders.  It gives them independence.  The late Professor Sterling McMurrin, who held an endowed chair at the Univ of Utah, got annoyed with his dept, so simply moved himself (and his chair) to another dept.

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18 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

So we're supposed to believe an anonymous person?

No. not necessarily.  I'd find it interesting if true, but it'd be nice if this person gave us evidence for the claims, if true.  If it's somebody in the know, I'd like to know who it is.

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

However, if there is more interest in his work from those around him, the greater support may help him increase his productivity.

There is only so much time in a day for a research professor working at top capacity already.  Dr Gee has a lot of friends and colleagues, some of them at universities in foreign countries, many of them non-LDS.  He spent his recent sabbatical year in Germany.  He is multi-lingual and highly respected.

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9 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There is only so much time in a day for a research professor working at top capacity already.  Dr Gee has a lot of friends and colleagues, some of them at universities in foreign countries, many of them non-LDS.  He spent his recent sabbatical year in Germany.  He is multi-lingual and highly respected.

I dont' have anything against him, and happily accept that he is highly respected in his field.  But one thing seems certain as per his work on the BoA, particularly as it pertains to Egyptology, it seems largely disrespected by the Egyptology community.  if i'm wrong about that impression I'd like to know. 

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12 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I dont' have anything against him, and happily accept that he is highly respected in his field.  But one thing seems certain as per his work on the BoA, particularly as it pertains to Egyptology, it seems largely disrespected by the Egyptology community.  if i'm wrong about that impression I'd like to know. 

Dr Gee has spent many years publishing standard Egyptological articles in secular, peer-reviewed journals and books, and no one has raised a ruckus about that.  I'd very much like to see comments making him seem "largely disrespected by the Egyptology community."  I don't believe it.  Of course, Dr Robert Ritner, whose angry diatribes against the LDS are there for all to see, probably does not like Dr Gee.

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