Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Instant expertise

The reality of the imminent start of the academic year made itself felt today. Not one, not two, not three but four presentations/ meetings! Amusingly, all had to do with New School history!

This isn't quite as strange as it might seem. This is Orientation week for all sorts of people, so it made sense that I was invited to meet the Lang First Year Fellows, and that my New School history chum J and I were invited to reprise our Faculty Development Day talk for new staff. And since the new semester includes a return to J's and my course on New School history, it's unsurprising we'd have had a get-together to finalize our syllabus and discuss it with the two brilliant graduate students who will be leading the course discussion sections.

Still, this was zero to sixty in just seconds. New School history has not been something I've been thinking about this summer. Indeed, I wasn't even really thinking about it yesterday. Would I have enough at my fingertips? Oh, yes. Assembling it into a coherent story was harder... but then the point was always that assembling too coherent a story traduces a history which is, in fact, more empowering when recognized as scrappy. J and I finished our reprise with the importance of being attentive to the particular demands of the messy moment - a commitment of our long-ago founders as well as our efforts to be true to our own time. It worked well enough.

And I'm excited about going back to school - this school - too!

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