15 dic. 2008

If we took teaching, research, and service and broke it down a little further...

Both research and teaching, I argue, also involves a larger attempt to maintain general knowledge beyond the field as defined most narrowly. You might envision this as a series concentric circles, with your own field in the middle. Spanish poetry from a certain date to a certain date in the middle. All poetry written in Spanish in the next circle, whether in Spain or Latin American, and at any date--along with Hispanic literature of the same period in all genres, and the events of Spanish history. Further out would be French poetry, poetry written in English; music, art history, and an infinite number of other subjects. Something further out on the periphery might turn out to be closer to the center, as your interests shift.

There is another category of work that is not quite research or service or teaching: maintaining networks of people who are interested in similar subjects; relations with editors, publishers, writers, colleagues in your own and other departments, even other bloggers. Admittedly, I am not that good at that, precisely because my variety of interests brings me into contact with multiple networks. For some narrowly defined fields this is a bit easier, but our interests in Spanish mean that a lot of people sharing interests will be on the other side of the globe.