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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maintenance

The scholarly base has to be maintained or it will wither away. How can you maintain your scholarly base?

*Do research. If you are always reading and writing, then the scholarly base will be constantly renewed.

*Teach new texts, new areas of investigation. I often times teach areas where I'm not the expert (yet). This forces me to learn new things. For undergraduates, it doesn't really matter whether you are a world-class expert in the material.

*Read outside your field and discipline. I was talking to someone in another department the other day, and he said "How come you know so much about X?" I don't a thing about it, really, but I knew enough to have an intelligent conversation about his area of specialization, which has nothing to do with my own. It's not even the same "school" in the university.

*Follow the "arts." Music, art, painting, cinema, architecture. If those aren't your primary field, you should still study them, because they provide different ways of thinking.

*Stretch your brain in other ways. Study a language you don't know quite as well.

*Talk to smart, interesting people. You get dumber when around dumb people and rise to a different level around smart people.

*Spend time just maintaining and expanding the base. Don't feel every minute of "research" has to be purposeful.

*Re-evaluate the base at significant junctures: after the PhD defense, after getting tenure or a new job.

*Help others develop their scholarly bases. Spread the wealth around, because it won't make you any poorer.

1 comment:

J. said...

"Follow the "arts." Music, art, painting, cinema, architecture. If those aren't your primary field, you should still study them, because they provide different ways of thinking..."

And if they are your primary field, follow everything else, because the everything-else will give context, thought, and matrix for where they come from and how they are experienced.