Monthly Archives: November 2012

What do you need in order to work in peace?

1. To be trusted at least minimally. Not to have it assumed, for instance, that because you may be X, you will surely oppose and work against Y.

2. To be respected/appreciated at least minimally. For example, not to be told that while your field needs representation for reasons having to do with accreditation, it is not actually welcome.

3. Not to be resented. Specifically, not to have people decide your degree itself or the institution from which it comes, or your latest publication, is a personal affront to them.

I would say these are the three main things. It is good not to be harassed or bullied but these things are more basic. It is alienating not to be on team but then also not, for strange and unimaginable reasons like these — reasons more destructive than any more rational ones.

Of course one’s research colleagues are elsewhere but the real life atmosphere one lives in every day matters, at least to me.

Axé.

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How do academics get alienated from their work?

The answer to this question is easy. If they say research is not part of your job description it is not too bad. You can do research as your hobby and even keep a lot of it off the version of your vita you give them.

If they say research is part of your job description but to get along you had better not do it, and we are going to ask you to direct your effort elsewhere or similar things and you can move, that is fine.

But if not, erosion happens. I find that a difficult situation to work in, in part because I am not wired for ambivalence and in part because I do need moral support.

I have been alienated from work at different times for all kinds of reasons but I think it is worth repeating that alienated from work does not just mean from research.

What else are you not getting done? is the question I ask stalled dissertators. The assumption people make is that they are filling their days with other activities and need to cut down on these so as to make time. This is not always the case.

It has often seemed to me that I have had to pay for having gone to graduate school with my life, but perhaps not.

Axé.

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Event, part 2

That went very well.

sun

It exceeded expectations.

Axé.

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The well crafted assignment

I have finally discovered a way to make the language students write coherent compositions without using translation programs, and without saying they do not know what to do: give very, very specific instructions, mostly in English. Here, the actual exercise is basically lifted from one of our books (¿Qué te parece esta lectura?) and the idea for the written instructions is someone else’s, too (although they are what I would say if asked). So this is not original with me, but it is new to me to go into this much detail, in writing, on how to write. Even though it is cobbled together from other peoples’ ideas (so it is a plagiarized assignment!) it took effort and time to construct.

I favor this, though, because it does seem to show students how to compose and write, which makes grading much easier. What my assistant said: you have to do their work for them these days, it is amazing that you had to write this much to ensure that they will be able to write something coherent.

Discuss.

Axé.

Sobre “Kentucky” de Ernesto Cardenal

a) Citando ejemplos específicos del poema, comenta cómo el poeta crea imágenes del presente y del pasado para enfatizar los contrastes del presente y del pasado con base a los sentidos (el olfato, la vista, el oído). ¿Qué comparaciones exactas hace? ¿Qué admira, y qué critica el poema? ¿Hay ironía en el poema?

b) Después, expande tu comentario al considerar una de las preguntas siguientes:

¿Nosotros, en nuestras vidas modernas, también tenemos actividades que son imitaciones o re-creaciones de actividades que corresponden a otras épocas?

¿Sería mejor vivir en épocas de Daniel Boone o ahora, en tu opinión?

¿Qué hemos ganado, y qué hemos perdido con la industrialización?

c) Finalmente, escribe una conclusión breve, conectando tus ideas con las expresadas por Cardenal.

The poem uses the senses, or sensorial impressions, to contrast the Kentucky of the past and the one of the present. Note that there are very close comparisons between activities undertaken in the Kentucky of Boone’s time and Cardenal’s, and strong contrasts are drawn between the natural landscape as experienced in both eras.

I. Complete each of the following steps, legibly, on another sheet of paper. Number each item to correspond to the questions and instructions. Notes must be turned in to get full credit.

1. This assignment is designed to encourage you to:
(a) Look at the use of language in this text, understood in terms of grammar and vocabulary. What past tenses and other verb forms are being used, to what effect? How are the connector words like “y” and “que” used to structure this poem which is actually composed of a single, long sentence? How is vocabulary chosen to create a set of images? How does the juxtaposition of these images, and the order in which they are presented, work to tell a story, to elaborate on a theme, and to create an argument or a meaning (or set of meanings)?
(b) Use some of the grammatical structures we have studied this semester to consider the ideas, impressions and experiences presented in the poem in light of related views or experiences of your own.

2. In SPANISH, make three lists of experiences related in the poem: those associated with sight, those associated with hearing, and those associated with smell. Then underline the verb forms used in the poem to narrate these experiences: are they in present or past tenses (or others)?

3. In SPANISH, make a list of phrases you can use, using the simple vocabulary we already know, to discuss in simple terms the associations and comparisons that are made. What has positive, and what has negative connotations?

4. In SPANISH, make a list of words and phrases you can use, again using the vocabulary we already know, to discuss one of the questions in part (b), above, and to form a conclusion of one or two sentences (part c, above).

II. Use your notes to write your composition. It must be at least 20 sentences long.

> As you put your composition together, check your verbs: do you have the correct forms?

> Double-check that all the verbs agree with their subjects, that articles go with the nouns, and that adjectives and nouns (e.g. un convertible rojo) agree in gender and number.

>Proofread for coherence: is the discussion of the poem clear? Is the transition from this discussion to your discussion of your own experience smooth? Are direct connections or interesting parallels drawn between your own thoughts and the ideas expressed in the poem? Does your concluding sentence draw these together and take them one step further (or suggest the next step), as good conclusions do?

> Hand-write your composition neatly on loose-leaf paper, skipping lines, or if you write it on a computer, skip lines. Be sure to write in accent marks if these do not print.

> Use vocabulary from our textbook and reader, not from online dictionaries or any translation software! Using a translation program will result in a grade of ZERO and will be reported as academic dishonesty.

> Turn in both your notes and your composition at the beginning of the final examination.

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Algo bien básico

Someone said:

I had to get past the internalized shame and doubt because I hadn’t been producing when I was sick.

I am expected to have this issue but I do not really — it is more sadness at the fun I missed.

I have internalized shame and doubt is about not being able to make basic foreign language classes work in the present situation.

All I care about are the students who care, and I feel badly about not being able to either quiet or drop those who do not.

Axé.

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J’en ai quatre nouveaux

I actually am in academia for money.

Axé.

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Einstein

It is not time management, y’all, or management of priorities, or of tasks, these are the things many of us learned even before serious school started. It is energy management and again, I am not talking about time or priorities or effort. I will explain.

Axé.

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