Tuesday, 6 May 2008

work things

Good news: I have a new teaching position at a new institution. This one is the dedicated Rome campus of what Wikipedia informs me is one of the top 30 liberal arts colleges in the US, but which of course I had never heard of until they invited me for an interview.

I'll be teaching a 20th century Italy course in their summer session: a 6 week intensive affair which aims to cover basically just as much material as a full 4 month semester, in biweekly 3 hour classes. This is excellent news and very exciting since it will be the first chance I have ever had to teach a dedicated Italian course, which as I am (at least in theory) an Italian historian, can only be a good thing. Then, if it goes well and they like what I do, there is a possibility of teaching a regular course in the Fall: history, political economy and structures of the European Union. Those of you who know my work may well be raising your eyebrows and wondering what the hell I am doing undertaking to teach a Pol Sci course on the EU. But as I'm teaching post-'45 Europe next semester anyway at my current university, it should fit in quite well and really only the most contemporary stuff will be a real stretch. I hope.

in less pleasing news the sports journalism translating job is still proving faffy and difficult. Hence why I am still up at gone midnight trying to fix an error (entirely of my own making, it must be noted) which has already gone up on their website and is making me all stressy. argh.

24 comments:

Chelsea Boy said...

Autumn woman, it's called autumn.

ursus arctos said...

Genuinely fabulous news.

You shouldn't be overly concerned at not having heard of the place, many of the better smaller institutions that focus on undergraduate education are not at widely known outside the US (or even outside their region).

And CB is of course right, he needs to arrive pronto, as the creeping encroachment of these Americanisms just won't do.

Spangly Princess said...

look, I know it's Autumn, and would never say Fall in general. But the term at a US university which runs from September to December is called Fall Semester and I was using it in that context.

I am valiantly resisting the "school" instead of university thing.

ursus arctos said...

I can't shake this image of Spangles valiantly planning an ingenious series of trenches to stem the advance of the Americanisms.

The "college" instead of "university" forces are right behind the "school" brigade, you know.

Spangly Princess said...

to us oxbridge types, the conflation of college and university is particularly fraught.

even the whole concept of a liberal arts college is bizarre enough for me to have to deal with.

*digs trenches, lays down enfilade fire, prepares diversionary bombing raid on the word "aluminum" before launching all-out attack on "commencement"*

ursus arctos said...

"College" ties the Yalies in knots as well, because they were so keen on slavishly following the Oxbridge model that they chose to call their Faux Gothic/Georgian dormitories with dining halls, common rooms and the like "residential colleges", notwithstanding the fact that Yale College is also the part of the university that grants undergraduate degrees.

"My" old pile of bricks avoided that by using the term "houses", which of course comes with different baggage (including that underlying the reason why the only 17th c. president of the place not to have a "House" named after him is President Hoar).

In American parlance, a "liberal arts college" is essentially a smaller institution that focuses on undergraduate education in the humanities and social sciences. They will generally not have affiliated post-graduate "professional" schools (medicine, law, business, etc) and may not offer any post-graduate degrees at all.

All of this navel-gazing is provided as a public service for readers who may be in need of an insomnia aid (do you have a tag?).

Another Joe said...

Hey, Spangles living the last 18 years as an American, Americanisms are cool.

Garibaldy said...

I've always preferred first and second semester myself. What is of greater interest is the absence of Italian-language construction in your English. You are obviously still talking too much English.

TrentToffee said...

"one of the top 30 liberal arts colleges in the US"

Good God woman !! What are you going to turn in to ?

Henry Ford said...

Congratulations! What's the name of the wise and fortunate establishment to have hired you? Woot woot!

NickLazio1900 said...

Congratulations on your job, especially considering the dire economic situation.

Thankfully, you seem to have made a lesser deal of peculiarities like fall vs. autumn than your other readers. If in doubt, and this applies to others too, remember who is paying you.

Teaching twentieth century Italy can be a very sensitive subject... How much do you think your political opinions will influence the way you handle the course? To be honest with you, having read your blog, I certainly wouldn't doubt your knowledge of the subject matter in itself, on the contrary, however I would have doubts as far as you being able to reconcile your political bias with the more controversial aspects of Italian history and politics.

Spangly Princess said...

Nick: the things I say and the way I say them on my own personal blog are a long way from how I conduct myself in the lecture theatre! I don't think you should base your impressions of my teaching style on this. You're very welcome to come along to one of my classes one day and see for yourself (I can't remember if you live in Rome on not?)

I do kind of subscribe to the "remember who's paying you" line too.

Ursus: Hoar House is making me giggle a lot.

And Garibaldy: you should hear my spoken English, it's in a right old state.

Henry Ford said...

Watch where you're pointing that implied lack of professionalism! You might hit someone!

Chelsea Boy said...

It's a peculiar accusation isn't it? I wonder if her left-wing leanings and dismay at fascists in parliament and in the Mayor's office might have something to do with the Lazio fan's objections?

Don't be saying nasty things about right-wingers, you unprofessional rapscallion you.

Anonymous said...

Haha, CB, my thoughts exactly. And I can confirm that her spoken English is a dog's breakfast.
- dV.

Garibaldy said...

So is the verdict made by a certain southern Irish mutual friend and a librarian that you have good physical attributes and great grammar no longer true? Say it ain't so!

Antonio Gurrado said...

Wow, you're great!

(I mean, I knew it already)

G.

Lee (Liga Review) said...

I was wondering how the whole sports journalism thingy was going...In similar boat myself,did a PhD and now find myself translating and transcribing interviews with footballers; seeing someone else's name on the byline and convinced that I'm putting in far too many hours with regard to what I'm actually getting paid. Why do we do it Spangly?!?!

NickLazio1900 said...

@chelsea boy
It's not an accusation, it's a just a question. Spangly Princess's political output on her blog is perfectly in tune with what one would find in the editorial section of the Guardian or Independent, however, it's her blog and it's her prerogative. On the other hand, I don't think that it's unwarranted to wonder how she will put aside her obviously strong personal opinions when teaching something which is as politically sensitive as 20th century Italian history.

Don't worry about me. I chose not vote in the general election and in Rome, though I will admit that I am amused at the state of the Italian left.

"I wonder if her left-wing leanings and dismay at fascists in parliament and in the Mayor's office"

Sorry, but this comment is typical from people who have limited exposure to Italian politics and history. If one were to stop at labels, on who is merely right and left wing, one would truly go nuts. What Italy needs is people who can turn the country around, whether they are "fascists", as anyone who leans more to the right than George Galloway gets labeled by certain leftists, or not.

punk said...

Congratulations!
Tu sei eccezionale!

Spangly Princess said...

well, accusation or not, to question a lecturer's ability to impart information impartially is to question their professionalism as well as their capability.

Which said, it is no part of a university lecturer's job to eschew the expression of a personal interpretation, on the contrary; rather they must illustrate and support their own view, present alternatives, and encourage debate. My students and I frequently disagree with one another on matters of interpretation, this is a desirable part of the learning process (for me as well as them).

I would also hope that while it is clear that my views are left-wing I am neither incapable of recognising competence on the right nor a slavish follower of any particular party (british or italian).

as for labels: are you seriously suggesting that a man who wears a celtic cross round his neck is someone "who leans more to the right than George Galloway" and erroneously "labeled" a fascist "by certain leftists"?

I think Antonio Gurrado, a man along way to the right and for whose opinions I have the most profound respect, would have something to say about that.

but I repeat, you're welcome to come along to a class sometime. or when I take them to look at the Foro Italico ;-)

Lee: yes, I wonder that too! who do you translate for, if I might be so bold?

Lee said...

Would you mind emailing me Spangly?

press@laligareview.com

Chelsea Boy said...

It's not an accusation, it's a just a question. Spangly Princess's political output on her blog is perfectly in tune with what one would find in the editorial section of the Guardian or Independent, however, it's her blog and it's her prerogative. On the other hand, I don't think that it's unwarranted to wonder how she will put aside her obviously strong personal opinions when teaching something which is as politically sensitive as 20th century Italian history.

Sorry, but this comment is typical from people who have limited exposure to Italian politics and history.

And that is a comment typical of someone who doesn't give a monkey's about fascists in positions of power, because Rome's new mayor is most certainly that. Also, go and shit with your 'you're not Italian so you don't understand' bollocks. Frankly I know enough about Mussolini's reign of terror to know that having these horrible fuckers back in any position of power is A Bad Thing. Still, the trains ran on time eh?

If one were to stop at labels, on who is merely right and left wing, one would truly go nuts.

What Italy needs is people who can turn the country around, whether they are "fascists", as anyone who leans more to the right than George Galloway gets labeled by certain leftists, or not.

I don't even know where to start with this. What does turn Italy around even mean? Turn it around from what?

You may or may not have noticed from reading this blog that political definitions do in fact matter and lazily calling anyone right-wing fascist is one of my bug bears. However, Italy has people who are genuinely fascist in power. Anyone who believes in not succumbing to tabloid style immigration scare stories or flat out racism will recognise this as not good. End of story.

Leaving out your half-arsed apologia for some truly nasty cunts, your presumption that someone with left-wing leanings can't do their job properly is preposterous, especially given your supposed hatred of political labels (presumably only for those on the right side of the political spectrum). More than any of that though, it's just flat out rude to suggest a fundamental lack of professionalism in someone who you only have contact in through her blog, especially when you wrap it up in phony 'concern' for her students.

Spangles is more than capable of looking after herself and I should keep my nose out, but fuck me, do you ever make it hard to do so.

NickLazio1900 said...

@Chelsea Boy
Fatte 'na camomilla, as one might say in Rome. You're huffing and puffing self-righteously over nothing.

"And that is a comment typical of someone who doesn't give a monkey's about fascists in positions of power, because Rome's new mayor is most certainly that."

If you knew more about what was going on in Rome, you would realize that many *leftists* voted for Alemanno! Rutelli was just unelectable and whether you like it or not, 1922-1943 in Italy is not as stigmatized as it is elsewhere. Maybe it's because Jews faced discrimination but were never deported or because the country didn't wage war aggressively, let alone effectively, or because the fascist reign of terror, as you put it, was basically ended when Mussolini was sacked by the king!? It's another subject altogether, however that's the way things are. So I'm sorry if you can't sleep at night now or are canceling your vacation to Rome. Just rest assured that Italy has been a democracy since 1945 and that it's just as democratic when conservatives are in power as when the left is.

"Frankly I know enough about Mussolini's reign of terror"

LOL. You think that Alemanno will send blackshirted goons into the streets of Rome to stamp out political opposition?

"I don't even know where to start with this. What does turn Italy around even mean? Turn it around from what?"

In case you hadn't noticed, the economy is at a stand-still and Italy needs drastic reform to make it competitive again. The city of Rome has other issues which can clearly be blamed on the incompetence of Rutelli and Veltroni. I am more concerned personally with seeing Italy and Rome getting out of this mess than getting into hysterics because the mayor has a fascist background. Obviously I am in the majority, as Alemanno scored a decisive win in Rome, and I hope that you're not going to tell me that all the people who actually voted for him are fascists too...

"your presumption that someone with left-wing leanings can't do their job properly is preposterous"

You're making a mountain out of a mole hill and have been extrapolating what I have said in this discussion from the beginning in order to justify you getting on your high horse to bitch at me. I never questioned SP's competence - on the contrary - however I asked how she was going to balance her strong political views with teaching a subject matter like 20th Century Italy, which is emotionally charged and highly sensitive politically (fascists, communists, freemasons, Bologna train station, mafia, etc.). It's a legitimate "concern" considering, as I said before, how biased political commentary is on this blog. Paul Ginsborg, who has written a lot on this subject is highly competent, however he is also quite biased when it comes to certain issues. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, that's all. If SP says, as I believe she has already, that she will present varying points of view in her lectures, that's great and it's all that I was looking for really.