About crankyprofessor

I'm an associate professor of the history of art and architecture at a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York.

Once again in the thick of the job season – but this time is it a mistake?

The second of four candidates for a tenure track studio position is here today, and a lot of other departments are going through the same procedure (I walked past a restaurant the other night and saw two tables of colleagues with candidates).

I worry about this year’s hires – and about the due date next week for position requests for NEXT year’s searches.

See – we’re in the middle of a curriculum revision. But the HIRING procedure is pretending that nothing will change. Maybe nothing will – this has not been an inspiring process and there doesn’t seem to be much passion in the discussions. Still, it’s a mistake to recruit a couple of entering classes purely into departmental major and minor curricula and not use at least a year’s worth of hires to provide some ooomph for the next thing.

If I were provost I might have declared this a Two Year Position Only year and put a hold on next year’s requests, promising a round of position requests over the summer to meet whatever new needs show up in the curriculum we vote on in March.

But I’m not provost!

OMG – just came across a video I’ve been missing.

I kept looking for this – and suddenly, here it is! 1984, Rickie Lee Jones, The Real End. It’s not quite how I remember it, but it’s still marvelous.

I was remembering it as a single long shot – I didn’t remember how many cuts there are. Still a great example of a moving-down-the-street video. And what a voice! I saw Jones once live in Atlanta – was it at Chastain? Sounds likely!

further: I think she was partnered with Lyle Lovett the first time I saw him? The Large Band tour was without anyone else, I think.

So – if a work has never been translated into another language is it really a classic?

I’m not at all sure.

Here are some books from what is now India.

I have already offered to write a check to my library to purchase the series as it comes out, if no department wants to fund them.

But isn’t it interesting that some of these so-called classics are restricted to their original language? I’m sure that means they are NOT literary classics – only really, really interesting texts from a single linguistic tradition.

For instance, Beowulf is available in multiple European languages, at least. The Judith? No idea, interesting though it is.

I am quite certain that a text called a Classic has to penetrate languages other than its original, in translation and commentary.

A Metal Detectorist Christmas

A big lead bucket full of Anglo-Saxon silver coins! More than 5,000 coins from circa 1000.

Mr Welch said each coin could be worth at least £250.

He said: “They’re like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down.

“It looks like only two people have handled these coins,” he said. “The person who made them and the person who buried them.

And he added: “Ethelred opened a mint in Buckingham in conjunction with Cnut. I think there’s a proability there’s a link between the mint at Buckingham and the coins.”

 

NoVa 4 NYE

Yesterday mama and I drove up from Chattanooga to Fairfax County – we had Second Christmas last night (hmm – I have to rearrange my countertop again. What IS it with my sister and small appliances? Not that I’m not grateful for a new coffee maker, but there was something nice and compact about burr grinder + french press. Oh well – easier clean up now and 10 cups!).

I have discovered the perfect lazy uncle’s way to buy Christmas gifts other than cash or boring gift cards. I buy a few little things for everyone (a Fear the Beard thermal mug for my nephew Mitchell, for instance) then offer to buy them up to $50 of whatever they want at whatever store they like (Target, sporting goods, or the mall). I try to make it separate trips, so it makes for a fun morning or afternoon with each of them.

Time for some museums (I hope to drag the nephs and nieces to the Philips), some big NYE celebration, and some assorted family time.

Wow – I have to pack a tie

I’m going home to Chattanooga for the holidays and I have to take a tie.

Why is that unusual? Well, for 20 years or so I never took a tie to Chattanooga – I counted on my father’s collection, and often took the ties back home with me. But now I have all of Daddy’s ties – the John Tinkler Neckwear Collection (there are actually some cravats in there, too!).

So, I have to pack a couple of ties to visit Mama.

File it under Life Stages.

Early Islamic Art

One of the first efforts in my course on Islamic art and architecture is to convince the students that figurative art is not prohibited in Islam. I make them chant “at some times, in some regions, and in some contexts figurative art was prohibited.” Maybe it sinks in.

One of the most luscious examples of early wall painting has recently been restored – the walls and ceilings of a fortress-palace from the early 8th century, Qusayr’Amra. Go look!