Death, Jobs and Russia
Why you should attend professorial candidate presentationsArts Editor
As any mildly attentive reader would attest, The Arts section usually reads: "Go here!" "Do this!" "Should've done that!" "Get into the city," "Stay on campus." If there's anything to be said, it's that here in The Arts section we find art betters us all.
That said, this is something a student should do before they graduate: go to a professorial candidate's presentation. How many times in your life will you be able to sit-in on a job interview that's not your own? Empathy and Schadenfreude aside, not only do these lectures afford students an edifying good time but also give them a window on the inner workings of academia.
Usually open and advertised to all students, candidate presentations lend students a hand in the process of hiring. Every department works differently in their politics and hiring procedures but it's more than likely that someone doing the hiring will ask you what you think.
Two weeks ago, I attended my first candidate presentation, Yuri Leving's "How Do they Kill Her? Cinematic Representation of Anna Karenina's Suicide." Professor Leving (currently at The George Washington University), applying for a position in the Russian Department, read his essay interspersing several scenes from various adaptations of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. One thing for certain, it demonstrated the constraints and freedoms offered by film and the perpetual problems of book-to-screen adaptation. Juxtaposing the translations of the same passage, Professor Leving illustrated how the various scenes immediately illustrated the problems of adapting one of the most gripping and disarming moments in Western fiction to the screen-all while giving the viewer a similar imaginative jolt to the book.
If you want something to do, and don't have a lot of time, candidate presentations are an invaluable student resource that students don't take advantage of enough.
This past Thursday, As opposed to something like The International Roundtable, candidate presentations lack the fanfare and formalism, but have an invaluable characteristic: Professor Pankenier will have taken the stage having to win the audience. And wouldn't it be cool if it were completely full?
The final Russian candidate, Julia Bekman Chadaga (Amherst/Harvard) will present, "Shattering Lenin's Lightbulb: Iconoclastic Uses of Glass in Olesha's 'Envy,'" on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4:30-5:30 in Olin-Rice 350. And, as always, refreshments will be provided.
Mad? Confused? Either way, you should send a letter to the editor.