I'm probably the only scholar in all of academia not to know the answer to this question, but what is power, anyway? Sure, it's about force, but most of the time when we're talking about power it's more subtle than just who has the biggest weapon--isn't it? I'm thinking at the moment of a colleague who is studying women and power and how they hold it, and I can't seem to get around the question of what that means. If you can't threaten to kill somebody (or have somebody kill him or her) for not doing what you want, do you actually have power over them? See, there are times I really wish that I had power other than being able to hand out grades, but for the most part, that's it. Okay, and every year I get to help make decisions about whom we would like to have in our graduate program, but even that is fairly indirect: I get to make recommendations for my field and then the admissions committee hashes out how many offers we're actually able to make. It's like they always say: academic quarrels are so vicious because the stakes are so low. A few more students here, the esteem of my colleagues there, and that's about it. The sum total of academic power. And yet, how threatened I feel when someone treads on "my" turf, as if I could claim ownership over the past or even over the study of some tiny aspect of the past. If only I could take my sword and challenge so-and-so to a duel over this or that strip. And if I won? Hey, I'd be right back where I started--with no one to talk to. Some power trip.