Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A more visible intro

Like others, I'll link to my first introduction in an earlier set of comments, and I'll expand more here.

As I said in the link, I often fear I tread the line between healthy optimism and naivete; it's a faith in academia that I have yet disabused of, and one I cling to dearly. It's what fueled the drive to finish the degree and go onto the job market three grueling years in a row, where on-campus interviews at Leafy Private College, Overburdened State U, Urban Comp U, Mass Catholic College, and finally my job at Mountain R1 (which I indentify elsewhere freely, but I'll follow convention here), left me with a job, some serious interview skills, and very little desire to ever put myself through that again.

And while three years on the market and two years teaching comp in a program that began as a utopia, and then sort of self-destructed this Spring required and tested that optimism, it hasn't used it up (although another year in the comp program would have stretched it to the limits).

Because I work in theatre and drama, I am all about collaborative effort, and the community that it engenders. And so Hall's sentiments--generous, ethically motivated, and optimistic--strike as precisely the midset I want to adopt as I venture into this new job. As I said once to an administrator in my last program, I may get punished for professional generosity, but I'd rather take the punishment than be disciplined into cynicism. I really do hope to maintain an openness and idealism about what professing the humanities can be, even though it may bite me in the derriere. Perhaps this is its own dysfunction (willful blindness?) but at least its one I'll happily own.

This notion of owning dysfunction seems to be a tricky one, though, because it seems that in order to own a part of ourselves that is not functional, we acknowledge that we hope not to have to own it sometime in the future. Can I own up to naivete and hope to remain idealistic (I know I'm conflating my terms here) at the same time?