The theme of the 2016 MLA convention is Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future.
In the meantime, I am told there are two types of academic worker: intellectual knowledge workers and educational service workers. This is my problem: I am supposed to be the former, but pressed to be the latter. It is all well and good to say teaching and research go together. They do: for my McNair student, for instance. But when there are these two tiers of workers, and when the structure of the industrial complex is such that they pull against one another, and when one is both at once, one has a fraught situation to say the least.
In other news, my Russian family appears to have arrived in the United States in exactly 1865. Our ancestor was born in 1816 or 1817, and was living in Michigan at the time of the 1870 census. My great-grandfather was born in 1855, in St. Petersburg like his father the head immigrant, and studied at the University of Chicago; his wife, my great-grandmother, was Helen Beecher (yes, of those Beechers). My grandfather was born in Cook County, Illinois.
There are two points of interest on this today. One is these books: is the author our man (who did have a German PhD and corresponded with Marx, and was an intellectual)? Was it he who also knew Humboldt? (Why is my German not better, so I could find out more easily what his ideas were?) The other point is that there is a record I found and then lost, of a daughter born in St. Petersburg in the 1850s, after my great-grandfather, but baptized in Germany. That means that the sentence to Siberia and the flight toward Switzerland must have started then; I must write my cousin.
Family stories say that it was under Nicholas I that we were persecuted, and this is surely true, but it has to have been from Alexander II’s Russia that we flew.