Friday, April 27, 2007


So I just heard that it has more or less been decided who is going to be doing the next Ellmann lectures: Umberto Eco.

I really wish our department had a better way of disseminating this information. (I've seen nothing about Natasha Tretheway's Pulitzer come through the grapevine.) Of course, you could tell me that the Eco thing hasn't been solidified yet and that that is why we aren't talking about it. But 2 out 4 Kemp Malone Committee members knew he was coming; what's more, even if it had been solidified, I doubt that we'd have heard much about it.


Blogger Michael E. said...

Well, we have a listserv, a newsletter, a website (with a news page), and, for what it is worth, this blog. We also have access to the Emory PR organs, all of which have been reporting Natasha T's Pulitzer like mad. So, we do have ways to publicize just about anything, and I actually think we do a good job. Now whether we do a good job managing all of that information is another matter.

As far as Eco goes, no official announcement has been made to anyone. This is the way the world works: Some people hear about things before they become officially announced, some people hear later. A professor organizing a lecture will naturally tell some people before everything is set in stone.

I would be more sympathetic if I felt as though some people were being disadvantaged by not getting all of the same rumors at the same time, but I don't think they are. My guess is that half (or more) of the faculty haven't heard about Eco, either.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I see your point, Michael, but I still feel like it would be nice to see a listserv email about thing's like Natasha's Pulitzer. Otherwise, I end up feeling like the department itself doesn't care about what's happening. I see the listserv as the department's primary way of communicating information to one another. The newsletter, website, and the Emory PR organs I see as ways to broadcast information about us to the outside world. And so when something doesn't come through the listserv, then I feel like we're not proud of ourselves. And we've got a lot to be proud of. The Kelleher and Womack hires were two other things that I would have expected to see come down the listserv. Or Schuhard's Fulbright. Or Rambuss's Crystal Apple. Etc.

Perhaps I need to consult the website more often...especially now that we have a much better one. I don't think I feel disadvantaged about these things. I guess I just feel like I would like to know about the great things going on in the department as they happen and not when I read about them in the Wheel or in Loose Canons. I want to be the one spreading the news of how great we are, not the one learning about it suddenly (as happened when I found out definitively that Moon and Goldberg were coming to Emory from Bruce Robbins).

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I think other grad students feel this way. Again, not so much that things are kept from us, but that we're not given the information to sell the department to others inside and outside the university in an effective manner.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Michael E. said...

"I guess I just feel like I would like to know about the great things going on in the department as they happen."

You know, we are an English department, not a 24-hr. cable news channel. However, perhaps we can look into getting a news ticker installed into the graduate student lounge.

12:17 PM  
Blogger rachel said...

This is sort of a funny back and forth happening. I will admit sympathy for Brian's POV. In the case of the particular Eco announcement, it seems clear why no information has circulated via official channels and undoubtedly this is the way the world works. Sadly (or maybe gratefully) most of us grad students have little experience of this "world" of which you speak. I do often feel like information about hires, lectures, general department composition doesn't circulate as well as I think it should. But I imagine people get flustered about it in cubicles too.

It seems to me that one of the more informing issues here is the strange position of the grad student re:power and insider/outsider status. On the one hand, we want to comport ourselves like fully functioning and contributing members of the department. On the other hand, the very real subordination (not to be too dramatic about it) that defines our position makes us, or me, given to be more sensitive about developments that emphasize, if only in our perception, our outsider-ness.

2:05 PM  

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