Day 198: New Semester

Today marks the beginning of a new semester and of what will (hopefully) be my last year at UIC. It is not that I don’t like teaching here but I am really looking forward to getting a job as an actual professor, which does not pay me dumping wages. No, it’s not all about the money. It’s just that starving is only fun for so long (even within a clearly bourgeois frame of mind where starving merely equates to “paying one’s dues” and not truly to starving, or a situation of permanent lower-class exploitative labor–but still: enough already). I do have a teaching gig here for the next two semesters but I will begin throwing myself on the job market beginning in late September and hope to have an actual job somewhere in the US (or somewhere in the world) come March/April. Initially, I was worried that the last year here would be bad for my teaching morale, as I expected that I would invest less time in it, be less enthusiastic and too distracted by the terrors of the job market and the insane amount of work left to do on my dissertation, but after having been on dissertation leave for a while I am actually really looking forward to teaching again. Hence, I put together what I personally think are two fun classes and I am quite excited to work through the assigned material with my students. Of course, this first-week excitement tends to fade quickly once one realizes that the intro class (which is one of the classes I will be teaching) is full of mechanical engineers and business majors who take it as a requirement and care fuck all about literature–but that is a given by now and I have developed some counter-interpellation strategies that tend to work pretty well. We’ll see how that goes this semester.

Consequently, this week I will begin by teaching some Raymond Williams and Fredric Jameson for theoretical context and we will begin to read Barthelme’s The Dead Father and Sam Shepard’s play “True West.” Should be a good first week–(famous last words).

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4 Comments

  1. Just make some manager jokes about the wannabe MBAs and the engineers should be all yours. Or tell them about the amount of women in literature classes.

  2. I think the only way to reach MBAs in the US is by teaching Hemingway (which they read avidly–but for all the wrong reasons), or by becoming a farce/stereotype of an English professor a la _Dead Poets Society_ (and if I should ever devolve to that “O captain, my captain” state of contained “revolution” you should feel free to punch me in the throat). 🙂

  3. Of course, I should have referred to Hemingway as “whom” (i.e. person) and not to his work (as “which”), since it is precisely the individuality bullshit they are looking for (which Hemingway was never able to reconcile himself with his Spanish years, etc.).

  4. Get the tech guys hooked with ‘entropie’. They know that concept from thermodynamics and i heard that it can be applied in analogy to other fields of science to like information theorie and literature. On the other hand, why bother, make us read ‘Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘Treasure Island’ tell us that there is a book preceding ‘Jurassic Park’…


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