my worlds

Via Matt Kirschenbaum, this lovely essay entitled "What Does a Professor Do All Day, Anyway?"

It ends with these paragraphs:

What's the common denominator, then, in what professors do all day? Translation. We translate from a field of knowledge to people who want to know about it. In my case, I translate between the people of today and the people from the past of the United States. Other professors translate physics, or business, or languages, or other cultures. We all live in at least two worlds. One of those worlds is a world of ideas, of print and numbers, a world almost limitless and impossible to master, growing every time we turn our backs. The other world is the immediate and human world of classes, committees, office hours, deadlines, budgets, advising. Without being a citizen of both worlds, an active participant in both worlds, we are diminished, our ability to teach diminished. The dichotomy between teaching and research is no dichotomy at all if we understand that a professor journeys back and forth between two worlds, translating among many people. All in all, it's not as embarrassing or boring as you might think, especially when your students see fit to give you an award for doing what you love doing all day anyway.

Amen.

 

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on August 30, 2003 1:57 PM.

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