Category Archives: What Is A Scholar?

Aquí se trabaja

Today I did not really start work until 10 AM, but when I did start I went straight through.

8-8:30 prepare essay topic
10: prepare class
11: teach
12: prepare class
1-4: teach
4-5: meeting
5-6: office hour
6-7:30: write up the minutes I paste in below
7:30-8: blog

That means I have so far worked for 10 hours. I will work for about another hour, by answering e-mail and updating course websites, and that will make 11. Teaching days are not working out to be research days for me this semester, much though I would like to get an hour of research in before all the teaching starts, and although I may actually begin to accomplish this soon.

The purpose of my post, however, is to share the meeting notes and let you know how much administration and outreach is also done, and how much of it falls to Z. The meeting was of the committee that oversees, and does its best to develop, the undergraduate major. Notice how we have to think through every detail.

Minutes of meeting of Major Committee

3 February 2016

Attending: W, Z
Absent: Y (medical appointment)

Agenda by: W
Minutes by: Z

1. Meetings.

The Major Committee meets Wednesdays, 3:45-4:50, in the conference room of the department. The next meeting is Wednesday, February 17.

2. Accomplishments this semester, and planned followup.

Scheduling and program stability:

– All courses made, meaning that our course scheduling worked.

– W will meet with X to ascertain: (a) the possibility of allowing slightly smaller 300 level courses to make in the fall and (b) the need to add a zero-maxed section of SPAN 462G, “Translation Studies,” team taught by W and Z, for the fall (so that, among other reasons, students and faculty can know what time this course would be given).

– W, Z and Y should meet soon to discuss course offerings for Spring 2017.

ە Basic language program:

– A highly informative training session with the technical and pedagogy specialist associated with our basic textbook was held the day before classes started.

– Good communication with textbook personnel has continued since.

– A section meeting to discuss renewal or not of the current basic textbook has been set for February 18.

ە Recruiting/internships/study abroad:

– A successful recruiting meeting for the Language and Culture Assistants program in Spain was held January 27.

– Z and minor student O are developing methods, contacts, and protocols for a new internship in community translation.

ە Program visibility and work with other departments:

– January 27 Z, along with L (History and LAS) and C (Geography and LAS), gave a well attended and well run panel discussion on US Latinos, as part of an LEH program. Contacts and the community network were strengthened.

– 3 students from English took reading examinations in Spanish; 1 is scheduled for April so far.

ە Outreach and publicity:

– Z is soon to appear on E, the local radio program, and we all have an open invitation from the director to participate and promote our programs.

– Z is now a departmental web ambassador and as a result, Spanish and Latin American Studies will have a greater presence on the new website than had been planned. We will be able to move most of the LAS material to our new site, and all of the Spanish material that had been housed at LAS.

ە Student activities:

– Spanish Club is meeting regularly, and is working to expand membership and activities (e.g. film series, other cultural events)

– Recruiting for the Sigma Delta Pi Honor Society is underway, and an initiation will be scheduled well before the end of the semester.

ە Academic events:

– Plans are underway for the visit of R., who will tentatively speak April 18 at 3 PM. Z will propose that the Spanish faculty dedicate some of the textbook royalty money to this, and would like to do so at the February 18 meeting. Z also needs to meet with X and with P on funding.


– The writing group is meeting regularly, and it is doing us good.


– We are approved to buy webcam microphones, so we can (among other things) operate all functions of our current language textbook.

– W should get together with A and X, so the purchase can actually be made.

ە Strategic Plan:

– Z and W are revising the draft mission and vision statement. Both have promised at least some further progress on this revision before the February 17 meeting.

3. Additional plans and to-do for this semester.

ە Advising and recruiting:

– Plan and hold a meeting of majors and minors (a new tradition to be continued every semester). Set the date and place for this at our February 17 meeting, so that this meeting can be held before spring advising if at all possible.

– Begin work on a handbook for the major (details were discussed at the meeting, and can be explained).

ە Academic programs:

– We should examine and update some policies related to our programs. What internships should count toward the major, and which should be supporting electives? Development of internships and service learning opportunities is needed, as is development of protocol governing these.

– Related to the projects of creating a handbook and renovating the website, we should articulate our vision of what the Spanish or Hispanic Studies major is. We may want to think about course goals at all levels.

– For AY 2016-2017, we might write a faculty development grant to bring in speakers on different aspects of curriculum and program development.

– We would really like to enrich Spanish 111 and 211, as French does.

– W is to discuss all these matters with X as soon as possible after Mardi Gras. He should also raise the question of freshman seminars, which it might be advantageous for us to give.

ە Outreach, networking, and expanding the reach of our programs:

– We should all attend the next LEH US Latinos film and panel discussion event (date/place in March, TBA) to strengthen community connections and connections with agency.

– We should investigate and seriously consider offering an LEH institute for high school teachers (on teaching language / teaching culture).

ە Study abroad:

– Z will contact the Colombian Embassy/Consulate to see whether they can provide a presentation on the language assistant internship in Colombia the way Spain does on theirs. This will serve as well to initiate contact with this organization for purposes of creating other kinds of academic exchanges and cooperative agreements.

– Y should follow up on his plan to contact UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) about cooperative agreements and exchanges, and he (perhaps with W) should initiate contact with the Ecuadorean Embassy with a view to investigating study abroad and other exchange programs there (we can explain why Ecuador).

ە Strategic Plan:

– We are working on it and will finish a draft by the end of spring.



Filed under What Is A Scholar?, Working

Punctum Books

…[W]hy is everyone so afraid to write what they want to write, to publish what they want to publish? Why, we ruminated together, whether we are seeking tenure-track jobs or have tenure already or simply want to get inside the covers of a book, are we besieged by so many anxieties and fears regarding what we think we are allowed to say, allowed to write, allowed to express? Might it be possible, we wondered out loud, to found a press that would specifically answer to the specific desires of singular individuals who might almost be dying (inside) to write something that they have convinced themselves in advance is unpublishable and for which no existing publisher would take the “risk”? And might a publisher then perform the (loving) function of a form of self-care that attends to these singular desires, that allows them to flourish and find their way into the world that would be sustaining of the spirit and dignity that gave birth to them?

It is the connection of desire to reality that possesses revolutionary force.


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Filed under Movement, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?, Working

David Schultz

According to this, the corporate university is already in decline. What of the entrepreneurial university, however: is it the same thing as the corporate university? I am inclined to think not.

I do wish I had seen this panel at the MLA:

MLA Panel 803. Finance Capital and the University

Sunday, 10 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Lone Star C, JW Marriott

Program arranged by the forum TC Marxism, Literature, and Society

Presiding: Christopher John Newfield, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

1. “Securitization and University of Finance,” Amanda Armstrong-Price, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

2. “Financialization and ‘The Wisconsin Idea’ in the Twenty-First Century,” Richard Grusin, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

3. “Tech Transfer and Finance after Academic Capitalism,” Lenora Hanson, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

4. “The Force of Diversity: Risk, Privatization, and the Salaita Affair,” Nick Mitchell, Univ. of California, Riverside


Academic Labor, Finance Capital, Debt, Critical University Studies, Activism, World-Historical Crises that only critical humanists can solve, according to Eileen A. Joy, Aranye Fradenburg, Julie Carlson, Alan Thomas, Cathy Davidson, David Palumbo-Liu, Ken Wissoker, Glenn Hendler, Bruce Burgett, and others.

I did see this presentation and I recommend everyone read it in its entirety.


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Filed under ALFS presentation, Subconference, What Is A Scholar?, Working


I used to have one of these. It was a box with index cards on which I would note my excess ideas while writing. I would just throw them in there and then later, when stuck, choose one at random to start me going again, or on break, look at them all to see what sort of pattern they might make on their own. At some point I relinquished this habit.

“…I was losing…my ability to find an emotional center from which to write because I was constantly accommodating myself to other people’s emotional centers,” someone said.




Filed under Resources, What Is A Scholar?, Working

The MLA Subconference


I just signed up for the MLA Subconference, and so should you.


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Filed under Movement, News, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Reading Vallejo Against the Grain of Identity

I like my abstract better than anything longer I have written on this matter.

Taking as its point of departure not only the poetic subject in Vallejo as primordially fractured but the intimations in his prose works that like his contemporary J. L. Borges (“La nadería de la personalidad,” 1925) he eschewed the idea of a unified self, this presentation will interrogate the biographical paradigms that have often been brought to bear on readings of Vallejo. Despite advances in scholarship in recent years, such paradigms still inform much of his critical tradition. How have expectations that Vallejo’s work perform Peruvian, Indian, or other identities in particular ways hampered its reading? What is gained by insisting on his mestizo roots, or by declaring his poetry mestizo? What effect has the emphasis on the meagreness of his Parisian circumstances and his allegedly mournful and martyred character had on the interpretation of his poetry? I will argue that it is useful to formulate alternative views of Vallejo not for purposes of better elucidating his work but so as to lift the interpretive shadow the traditional view of his personality has cast over his texts.



Filed under Bibliography, Poetry, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Je ne le dirai pas

Preamble to comment on strategic plan: I notice a language drift in the university. The intranet no longer calls faculty faculty, but says employee. At the same time, I keep hearing mid level administrators refer to faculty as “teachers.” It is as though faculty as a category were being eliminated. That is one of the characteristics of for-profit institutions and it is not going to drive us up in rankings.

Comment on strategic plan: The conception of the strategic plan seems to come from this mentality. I see that research productivity is to go up, which is good, and support for faculty is to go up, which is also good, but the plan as a whole does not seem to imagine us as a community of scholars or an institution of learning but as a vocationally oriented, corporate entity that is trying to achieve market dominance. We are to better our designated peers, beat them on certain scales and measures.

I would like to do something more substantial, specifically educate the people of this region and state who are still the vast majority of our students. But perhaps now that the state has cut so much funding we no longer serve it, but our corporate partners?



Filed under Da Whiteman, What Is A Scholar?, Working