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Monday, January 18, 2010

Entrepreneur

A really strong researcher should also be an entrepreneur to some extent, organizing conferences, editing journals, and otherwise creating opportunities for other people to interact with one another. I've done a little of this kind of thing, but it's not my strength. I ran the poetics seminar at the Hall Center for the Humanities and invited guest speakers like Marjorie Perloff, Jordan Davis, Ron Silliman, and David Shapiro. I've organized sessions at the MLA. But it's not where I'm strongest. I don't like to depend on other people.

If I had one fewer book and a lot more entrepreneurship, I'm sure I would have a better job. People don't value the stay in your office and write books professor as much as the person who organizes stuff. If you are in a small field like Portuguese or Italian where you might be the only one (or one of two) people teaching that language, you almost have to be an entrepreneur.

I probably should have done an edited collection in place of one of my four single-authored books. Although a book you write yourself counts more on the purely research side of the equation, the edited collection has other benefits in terms of networking and visibility.

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