Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Week in Links (The Abrahamic Faiths and their Texts in Translation Edition)

Two articles in the popular press this week touch on different intersections of the very interesting issues of religious identity, scholarship, authority, and the question of "canonical" translations:

A Jewish Edition of the New Testament

New Translation of Prayers is Rooted in Catholic Church's Past

And the Scottish Parliament introduced a resolution in honor of Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson (whom I've mentioned here before) and their work that allowed for a better understanding of all kinds of scriptures and translations (among many other things related to late-antique and medieval texts). Three cheers for the devolution of power! Scroll down to the fourth resolution on the page:

Motions and Amendments: Parliamentary Business of the Scottish Parliament

Sunday, November 20, 2011

More #OWS in Washington Square Park

The view from campus tonight:

(Click to enlarge.)

The Week in Links (11/14-11/20)

Something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately is the theories and practices of teaching the history and literature of religion in a secular university to students who may range from being atheists to considering themselves culturally part of a faith tradition to those who come from a robust religious background. It poses a very different set of challenges in a literatures and cultures department where students don't come in expecting to talk about religion (such as a department of Spanish and Portuguese) versus in a literatures and cultures department that is de facto also the religious studies department that attracts many students who are interested in learning the academic history of their own dearly-held faith tradition (as is the Near Eastern Studies department where I earned my PhD (though not all of them do have that same religious-studies kind of focus)). I've not formulated my thoughts well enough yet to write about it, but I was interested to see this in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week:

Finding Empathy in Religious Studies

There is a lot of really good, comprehensive work in progress on the Arabic inscriptions of Syro-Palestine. It's heartening to see the corpus continuing to expand through new discoveries and yielding additional perspectives that could alter the standard historical narratives:

Israeli Experts Decode Only Arabic Crusader Inscription Ever Found

The Lewis Chessmen are in New York. (And I was quite excited to learn that "berserk" has a similar derivation to that of the word "assassin." Read on to see.):

The Game of Kings at the Cloisters

And now for something completely different. I'm all for biopics of the great Orientalists, but this seems like it could go very badly wrong. Gertrude Bell: Tomb Raider, anyone? Just as long as Brad doesn't co-star as Lawrence:

Angelina Jolie, Ridley Scott Tackle Gertrude Bell Biopic

Saturday, November 19, 2011, which bills itself as a sort of Facebook for academics, completely weirds me out. Colloquial though that may be, it's the only way I can accurately describe my reaction to it. I don't, after preponderance, find it to be weird. No, it actively weirds me out every time it does something.

Whenever anyone googles a person with an profile and clicks on that profile as his chosen search result, the person with the profile gets notified that "somebody" has googled her. If the googlee logs into her profile it is possible to see what country the googler googled from, and what keywords got him there. It's just enough information to pique one's curiosity and be sort of agitating, but not enough to be useful. When somebody views my blog, I get a city, a service provider, the referring link, information about the computer being used to view it (OS, web browser, display properties), and even an IP address. So sometimes, I can tell exactly who's reading. (If I have only one Facebook friend in a particular city and a reader in that city has gotten to a post via my having posted it on my FB wall, then I know who it is.) And other times, I can at least tell if a consistent reader is back again or has been missing for a while. But this? Somebody in the United Sates? (Or even more puzzling, somebody in Tunisia?) Hm.

I'm also not crazy about the terminology that they use. When someone in effect adds your profile to their reader, you get an email that says "So-and-so is following you." And every time, I feel the urge to look over my shoulder.

And finally, I don't really like the fact that it posts a little thumbnail of your profile picture above the Scribd window of every paper that's been posted to the site that you've read. I like my reading to be a private act; I also so didn't like the fact that they made this change suddenly and without consultation (I did mention that they kind of see themselves as a specialized Facebook, didn't I?) that I did quit for a while.

It seems like it has potential as a tool for some of the self-promotion that I'm coming to realize is required of academics and, more importantly (when used correctly), as an aggregator for finding out about new work, so I'm sticking with it for the time being. But it wouldn't take much to convince me to drop the service, either.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Women Poets, Part II: On Not Wanting to be Pigeonholed

I was somewhat reluctant to do all of the writing about female subjects that I have done/am doing recently because I very much don't want to get pigeonholed as a "girl Arabist."*

Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I should have a really compelling and well-thought-out argument for why I don't find gender to be an interesting or useful interpretive category. But that's just it. I don't. I don't have a good reason for Why not women's lit? because it's just not something I spend a huge amount of time thinking about. I'm not actively rejecting; I'm just not headed in that direction. And the fact is that I am simply not-thinking about something that my male colleagues who don't work on gender can and easily not-think about in a way that is defensible in the framework of our intellectual socialization as academics.

I know I'm likely (or perhaps simply liable, given the small number of readers here to begin with) to take flack for failing to challenge the notion of a "girl Arabist," for not insisting that girl Arabists can write about "serious" subjects such as Ibn Sina or al-Ghazali just as much or well as a, well, plain vanilla, unqualified-with-an-adjective-of-gender Arabist can. But the idea is there. For all the really talented women Arabists I have the great good fortune of knowing, we're still several decades behind the rest of the humanities in that the question of whether a woman can make a good Arabist is still an open one in the minds of many.  And for me, the way to handle it is not to do really bang-up scholarship making use of the tools of gender studies; it's to act, intellectually, like one of the guys. I don't want to fight the problem because the fight would not be intellectually satisfying or stimulating or, for me, productive in any way. I like the intellectual landscape in this respect, even if I have more to prove. I think I might even like it better because I have more to prove; even the littlest things will always be challenges, and even the smallest victories can't be taken for granted.  If I'm going to fight the intellectual establishment, it'll be over something else, like the field-wide bias toward the literature of the Eastern Mediterranean at the expense of that of the Western Med, in other words, something that really and immediately has an impact on my ability to do my work.

(Long after I wrote the preceding paragraph, but long before finishing the whole post, I found this blog post that I think sums things up nicely.)

So I've written now about Deborah and about the woman known in the scholarship as Mrs. Dunash; I am writing more about the latter figure, too. I don't think I've done it in a way that constitutes a gender-based analysis. In once case, I looked at prebiblical prophetic functions and in the other I'm writing an economic analysis of what is, in poetry, typically described as a sentimental gesture but which is, when described in Genizah letters, clearly an economic exchange. The fact that the subjects of these two studies are both female is a total coincidence. Or is it? Will I necessarily write differently about literature written by women and the historical issues that surround the question of women writers? Will I always find those texts more appealing even if they do not form the bulk of my work?

I can blithely go about my work writing or not about women in ways that have nothing to do with the fact of them being women, and then I'm suddenly forced to confront the fact that the scholarship refers to the only woman poet to write in Hebrew in the middle ages as "Mrs. Dunash." We don't have a name for her (although as I run out of ways to circumlocute the "Mrs. Dunash" terminology, I find myself wishing I could just call her Martha or something just for the sake of concision) and so any reference will always be as the wife of her husband, a famed grammarian and poet. This somehow sounds condescending. Why Mrs. Dunash and not Mrs. ben Labrat? In other words, if we're already using pieces of the Anglo nomenclature, why not go whole hog? It's a belittling nickname that to me sounds a lot like when folks (including a lot of people whose work I otherwise respect a tremendous amount) call Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson, the women who indirectly facilitated the discovery of Dunash's wife's poem, "the Giblews." It makes them a single entity when they weren't in any way and also, well, frankly, makes them sound like the bits of chicken carcass that you throw away before making soup. Even if I don't care about (or, more carefully put, even if I don't prioritize) issues relating to women, both those who have been dead for more than a millennium and those I might meet at a conference, they still do resonate with me.

I have written before about why I chose to blog under my own name; the fact that I do means you can see it at the right in the sidebar or below this post as part of the tagline. So you see that professionally, I use the initials of my first and middle names rather than my whole given name. The impetus behind that is a very simple one: There's another woman named Sarah J. Pearce who works in a field that's closely enough related to my own that I knew of her existence even as an undergraduate, and enough that a Brill representative once collapsed hers and my records without thinking that the range of books was odd for one scholar. (I got a phone call from Brill one afternoon, with the very hesitant representative wanting to know why the billing address for my recent order was in the US and the shipping address was in the UK, where my homophone is located.) And as much as gender wasn't central to making what was, in the end, a very practical decision, I mention it here because, particularly in a male-dominated field, I  rather like the idea of someone who doesn't know me or know of me being able to pick up my work and read it without knowing that it was written by a woman. I like being able to block out and deflect my sensitivities to women's issues when it serves me intellectually.

I am not a girl Arabist.

I know that this is an issue I will continue to think about and rethink over the course of my career. But for now, excuse me while I go write about philosophy. And some wars.

*My scholarly identity is actually a bit complicated. Beyond not wanting to play up the fact that I'm a woman or let that influence my scholarly approach, I have utterly given up on trying to decide what kind of -ist I am. I don't fit neatly into any of the categories, so I've all but given up on trying to assign myself a specific label tand have just decided to let my work speak for itself and for me.

Edited on 11/20/11 to include this link: Can Well-Behaved Women Make (Academic) History?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mind Your Picas!

I ordered business cards today after having attended two symposia in the last week at which I was asked, repeatedly for my (as-yet-nonexistent) card. The template uses a unit of measurement (1 pica = 1/12th inch) that was, in a previous life, near and dear to my heart. Aside from the pica-induced glee, I guess this is one more of those moments when "it" all starts to sink in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Women Poets, Part I: How I Got the Story (or didn't quite)

One of the things I envisioned being able to do in this space is to give a bit of the background into my thought process and describe and analyze things I find interesting in my research but that ultimately fall outside the scope of what is publishable or published. So here goes:

I have just had an article rejected by Vetus Testamentum. It's a straight biblical studies journal, one of the best in fact, and since biblical literature or history is not remotely close to my field of study (although of course it has implications for it and it was really useful for me to have gotten a good grounding in it in graduate school) I'm okay with the outcome. It would have been a nice-to-have kind of thing if it had worked out, but I'm not so invested in the text or the idea that I'm going to bother continuing to work on it in the interest of having it appear in print elsewhere.

But this post isn't really about the rejection. It's more about the medieval poem that brought me to thinking about the biblical text in the way that I was. My article was entirely about the biblical text (the argument, more or less, was that the representation of Deborah in the Masoretic Text is an amalgam of pre-biblical types of diviners) but it began its life as a a graduate school seminar paper on an aspect of the book of Judges that I had arrived at because of my reading of medieval poetry. What follows here was my original introduction to the paper. It would always have been too far afield to have been included in a published version of the article, and it is also not a topic I intend to return to developing more fully in this form. Even though I do have an article on the Mrs. Dunash poem in the works, this particular interpretation — that the poet becomes Deborah only in the interpretation of later readers, in much the same way that the biblical Deborah really only became Deborah through later interpretation and editing — is too closely tied to my argument about the biblical text to stand alone, and does not coincide at all with the way I am choosing to interpret the poem on its own. Furthermore, as much as I think it's a huge milestone to be able to look back at something I wrote over three years ago and not cringe and even be kind of pleased with it, my modes and methods of thinking about text have evolved pretty substantially since then (see the added footnote below that wasn't original to the text). But I became rather fond of this introduction, and of the small contribution to its interpretation that I was able to make by pointing out that the poet envisions herself as the Shulamite, not as Deborah; and so I was loathe to consign it to some electronic Genizah, never to be seen again.

There will be a part II to this exposition of the story behind the ultimate academic production, specifically concerned with the identity politics of being a woman academic writing about women in a non-gender-studies framework. (It'll be more abstract that it would have been if the article had been accepted for publication, but it's still something worth thinking through.) But for now, here goes. This is what drew me to write about Deborah to begin with. What follows was the original interdisciplinary introduction to the paper:

Among the more unwitting literary descendants of the biblical poet-prophets is a 10th-century C.E. Iberian woman known to history only as the wife of her husband: ’îštô šel Dûnăš, thought to have been the wife of Dunash ben Labraṭ, an Arabic-speaking Berber Jew who himself fathered the movement to stand Hebrew poetry upon Arabic metrical feet.[1] Because authorship of a single four-line poem conserved in two witnesses in the Cairo Genizah[2] is attributed to her, modern scholarship makes her to bear the heavy yoke of “the first identifiable woman poet in the Hebrew language since the biblical poetesses Miriam and Deborah.”[3] But in more than one way she is graceless in her assumption of that mantle.
First, her poem is perhaps more important as a historical record than as a literary triumph. It hints at the reasons for Dunash’s flight from Iberia through its allusions to a conflict between the poet’s husband and the courtier Ḥasdai ibn Shapruṭ and provides a window onto some of the domestic realities of the time and place. But as one among the first Hebrew poems written in the new arabizing Andalusi style, it falls short of what would quickly become the high standards of the form; within a century, the finest Hebrew poets would ply their trade as skillfully as their Arabic-language counterparts. At this early date, though, the meter still falters and the diction is repetitive. But she is, without a doubt, a poet as she writes:

Will her love remember his graceful doe,
     her only son in her arms as he parted?
On her left hand he placed a ring from his right,
     on his wrist she placed her bracelet.
As a keepsake she took his mantle from him,
     and he in turn took hers from her.
Would he settle, now, in the land of Spain,
     if its prince gave him half his kingdom?[4]

It is not only feminist critics like the above-cited Tova Rosen who exclaim “Deborah!” upon reading this poem. Even a more staid and descriptive account of the poem, one without an explicit theoretical agenda, contains a punctuated measure of excitement at this bridging of a multi-generational gap: “Mrs. Dunash was apparently a Hebrew poetess, the first since the days of the prophetess Deborah!”[5] But both ends of the scholarly spectrum, from the traditional to the feminist-revisionist, fail equally to note that îštô šel Dûnăš did not cast herself in the mold of ’ēšet Lapîdôt. And so second and more critically, Dunash’s wife fails to fulfill the role of Deborah simply because she did not envision herself in those terms; she has become a latter-day Deborah, an inheritor of that literary tradition, entirely at the hands of the moderns.[6] *
One of the remarkable traits of this poet is that she was educated enough to cite the biblical text in her work. That few women were so trained goes (only!) part of the way to explaining the dearth of women poets writing in Hebrew; quoting the Hebrew Bible in poetry was de rigueur in a way that citing Scripture in Arabic poetry is not.[7] She could, though; and she put her knowledge toward painting a picture of her literary self not as Deborah but as the Shulamite, drawing upon the Song of Songs in three of the four lines of her poem.[8] She does not proclaim victory, dedicate herself to the Lord or pretend to lead or speak for her nation. Instead, she aspires to be remembered by her departing husband just as the Shulamite is inscribed on the arm and heart of her lover.
Just as a medievalist’s reading of Bocaccio might be informed equally by grappling with the works of Dante, who preceded him, as with those of Jorge Luis Borges, his literary heir,[9] one perhaps better understands the song of ’ēšet Lapîdôt for having read the poem of îštô šel Dûnăš. It is this historiography — modern medievalist scholarship’s overeager thrusting of Deborah into a certain critical light — that, perhaps more than anything else, informed the direction in which I ultimately read Deborah’s own history and song, namely the text of Judges 4-5: In the body of medieval poetry, one can see Deborah and read through her as a cipher only until peering into the depths of the poem. But it seems not to be an unfair legacy for the ancient woman who, as I will argue in these pages, is so profoundly not at the heart of the standard that later redactors and lectors have made her to bear. It is precisely in the gaps where the ineffable truest identity of Dunash’s wife does not lie flush against the one we as modern readers would wish her to embody that we can glance at the traces, the beloved ruins, of an earlier Deborah.

[1] I say “more unwitting” because there were certainly those poets who gladly embraced the identity of their biblical counterparts. Most notable among these is Ismā’il ibn Naġrila — Shemuel ha-Nagid — who famously proclaimed from within his poem The War with Yadayyir (The Dream of the Poem, trans. Peter Cole, 52): “I am the David of my age!”
[2] A high-resolution photograph of the complete fragment (TS-NS 143.46) may be found at the Cambridge University Library’s Genizah research unit web site: The accession numbers for the two halves of the incomplete fragment, also housed at Cambridge, are Mosseiri VIII.202 and Mosseiri VIII.387.
[3] Tova Rosen. Unveiling Eve: Reading Gender in Medieval Hebrew Literature  (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 2.
[4] Trans. Peter Cole, p. 27.
[5] Genizah Fragments, The exclamation point is original.
[6] That there is near but not total unanimity of opinion that the author of the poem was even a woman at all only serves to underscore the way in which the poet has been used the service of the modern imagination.
[7] And we do, in fact, find women (both Jewish and not) who wrote poetry in Arabic. See: Abdulla al-Udhari. Classical Poems by Arab Women. London: Saqi Books, 1999; Mahmud Sobh. Poetisas arábigo-andaluzas. Granada: Biblioteca de Ensayo, 1994; and Teresa Garulo. Diwan de las poetisas de al-Andalus. Madrid: Hiperión, 1986. The medieval Arabic literary critic Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyuṭī (d. 1505) also edited a treatise on and anthology of Arabic-language women poets: Nuzhāt al-Julasā’, ed. ‘Abd al-Latif al-Ashur. Cairo: Maktabat al-Qur’ān, 1986.
[8] Line 2 quotes from Cant. 8:6, line 3 from Cant. 5:7, and line 4 from Cant. 8:6-7.
[9] María Rosa Menocal. Writing in Dante’s Cult of Truth: From Borges to Bocaccio. Durham: Duke UP, 1991.  

*I'm adding a footnote here that was not original to this text as I wrote it just to stipulate that if I were going to expand it from long-form notes into something for publication, I would naturally develop my thoughts about the extent to which a medievalist is or is not obligated to understand text and circumstance as her medieval reader did or might have.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Food Lecture, Part II: An assistant professor walks into a classroom with a volume of Genizah documents, a volume of Inquisition testimony, a knife, a cazuela, and half a pound of manchego cheese and the bartender says to her...

... bonus points to anyone who comes up with this punchline.


An Islamic historian once told me that her best undergrad intro lectures are about Visigoths because she doesn't get distracted by all the little details that she thinks are really cool or by complicated explanations that seem simple to her but that she's sort of on some level forgotten aren't as obvious as they seem now. She tells them the bare bones of what they need to know in a clear, organized fashion and she gets done with it.

That wasn't quite what happened yesterday with the food lecture, but I did end up putting together a brilliant (in the British sense of the word) class in spite (or perhaps because) of my own lack of enthusiasm for the particular subject matter.

I walked into class and told them that the purpose of the class would be more methodological and that they should pay attention to how is that the things that I'd be lecturing about could be known or found out, and less about the content of the lecture itself.

First, we looked at a 10th-century Baghdadi recipe:

Take one kayl of wheat, husk it, par-boil it, dry it, coarsely grind it, and mix it with chickpeas. Add yeast, then knead the mixture into dough. Keep it in a sunny place for 15 days and whenever it gets dry replenish moisture by adding to it extremely sour yogurt. Finely chop mint, Persian parsley, purslane, cilantro and qirt, which is kurrath al-baql. Mix the herbs with the wheat dough and shape it into disks. Bake in the sun.

After asking a student to read the recipe aloud, I asked them what parts of the recipe they recognized, and with very little prodding, they identified the list of ingredients, the instructions for preparation and the instructions for cooking. Then I asked them what they would expect to find in a recipe that they didn't see there. The first response surprised me in that one student mentioned that technology was missing — that a modern recipe would say to use an oven rather than the sun for cooking. They also noticed the lack of precise measurements of ingredients, the lack of clarity over what happens with the chick peas (the notes in the volume in fact clarify that this refers to chick pea flour), and also the fact that some terms have so puzzled the experts that they remain untranslated and inaccessible. 

I held up some za'atar bread from Kalustyans as one possibility of what this might have looked like. (The picture is here mostly because I realized that I know more than one person who will be highly amused by the fact that I served za'atar bread to my students on a xeroxed page of Goitein. Volume 4, page 260, to be precise.)

Then I sent around a piece of manchego cheese with some quince paste. After they ate, I asked them to choose a typical form of writing that they use in the course of the day to communicate — an email, a blog post, a text, a tweet, a letter to their grandmas, a graffito on a friend's dorm-room message board — and write about what they had done during the day, right up to the present moment. I asked a few of them to read what they had written aloud, and asked other students how well they could reconstruct the snack based on their classmates' descriptions, especially the ones that just described the quince paste as "a red substance." Then I sent around some pastry and asked them to describe it in such a way that a historian who discovered their notebooks in the year 2511 could reconstruct the dessert. Again, we talked about their descriptions and what was missing even when they were very conscious of why they were writing and of their audience: Do you think they'll be using teaspoons as the unit of measurement in 2511? Yes, this has the texture of Frosted Mini Wheats, but will that be useful if they don't eat breakfast cereal in five hundred years' time?

That was all just the preparatory work; it took a little longer than twenty minutes. After that was all over, I asked them to read three texts — an excerpt from the Inquisition testimony of doña Blanca Méndez, chapter XVII of part I of Don Quijote, and a recipe and a shopping list from the Cairo Genizah.

With the first two, we looked at the descriptions of food that were written as sort of incidental description in the course of describing something else. For the first, I asked them questions like the following: How well could they reconstruct doña Blanca's family's Rosh Hashanah meal? What information could they glean from her description of preparing meat? (Kashrut.) Which details were important? What was the significance of her talking about eating so much fish? (Eating fish was a way for crypto-Jews not to find themselves in a situation where they would have to either mix milk and meat in front of others or not do so and draw attention to themselves.) I used lots of images from Claudia Roden's new book, The Food of Spain, to illustrate this part of the lecture/discussion. For the second, we looked at some images of objects that had been found in a dig at a seventeenth-century site at Plaza de Oriente in Madrid and analyzed with with Don Quijote in mind and I asked them to figure out what role each object played in the chapter.

And then with the Genizah documents, I photocopied them with all of Goitein's notes and narrative and subheads removed and asked the students to see if they could figure out what the recipe would make and what kind of meal could be prepared from the shopping list. The recipe was for wine (and really the tip-off was that at the end, it tells the chef that if he wants vinegar, then he should leave it in a jar for longer), and they guessed sauces, marinades, soups, etc. They saw that just as they had done in describing the pastry, even describing a dish in such a way that an interlocutor could recreate it isn't always as useful as one would hope when plucked from its context.

The main point that I wanted to make with these activities was that reconstructing medieval history is a challenge and requires some creative approaches. In the future, I'll beef up (no pun intended — I promise!) the information I give them on historiography and methodology, but all in all I think this was a pretty successful class session.

My co-instructor and I have really been struggling to get this particular group of students engaged in the course material, and both the snacks and the fact that this was a bit freer in style (that is, not just a straight lecture and powerpoint with a few pauses for discussion) were very effective in doing that. Now we'll see if the engagement and good will carry over to the rest of the classes this semester. This was the first time that I had lectured in this class where I didn't have the whole class pretty well scripted in advance. I don't intend to give up doing that altogether, but this was an interesting experiment in having a slightly more freewheeling class. There were too many variables in play to say that this is unequivocally a better approach, and for a whole variety of reasons I don't want to scrap the script entirely. But at a minimum, I think that it's worth doing a class like this at the beginning of the semester to get that energy going from day one. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Food Lecture, Part I: Writer's Block

Life and literature sometimes overlap. I think this happens for medievalists more frequently than others, simply because we are trained to see the boundaries between categories as porous since our intellectual categories are no longer the categories that are relevant administratively or to our students or to anyone else. (Arabist in a Spanish department, anyone?) I'm having one of those moments now: My teaching has revealed concretely something about myself, namely that I am not a foodie. I love to eat great, fresh produce, and I'm lucky to have lived my entire adult life in cities with farmers' markets ranging from good to great: New Haven, Jerusalem (a different sort of beast, a shouk is from a farmers' market, but nevermind) Ithaca, and now New York. (Ironically, the one in Ithaca, in the heart of farm country, is the most inferior of the lot.) But I definitely don't belong in that rarefied category of people who know many different ways to prepare every type of fruit and veggie that grows locally, are willing to taste anything and light up when talking about food.

I am currently teaching an introductory lecture course (about which I'll write in greater detail at a later date) in which we are using commodities as loci of contact between the center and the margins in literature and history. This week's commodity is food, and I'm just totally uninspired. I like good food, but I think that if I were a true foodie, this lecture would practically write itself. It's not that I'm totally uncurious about the topic — just not so moved by the answers I'm finding that I'm jumping up and down in excitement over the fact that I get to share this knowledge with my students. I don't care, but I don't not care either. A foodie would — well, a foodie would be writing her lecture instead of blogging about writing her lecture. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Week in Links (Non-Latin Script edition)

My friend and colleague Hamza is creating resources for learning Ge'ez (best viewed on a PC, he tells me):

Learning Classical Ethiopic

There's been some discussion about Arabic and Persian text in the new videogame Battlefield 3. I'm really pleased that the company is willing to fix the errors in its graphics.