Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Week in Links (The Yogurt Culture Edition)

I've been scooped (pedagogically speaking)! In this blog post, a colleague describes his new plan for teaching medieval Spanish literature as a philological seminar, and it's something that I've been percolating every since I got to NYU. I know that for myself, part of the reason I chose to do my graduate work in Arabic rather than in Spanish was that even as an undergraduate, I knew what it looked like to work through a difficult text in Arabic, whereas I didn't know what that looked like in Spanish — I knew how to use the research tools for the one and not the other, and so I could envision doing real research only in one. Of course, most students are not going to go to graduate school in a literature field, but I still think it's a good idea: It gives students a greater sense of mastery over the text, and draws in students who might not be totally disposed towards literary analysis.  Usually I'll do one class session in which I go over just the most pronounced features of language change and ask students to read and modernize four or eight lines of the Libro de Alexandre. It's always gone down really well, and so I'm actually optimistic about how a whole class session would go, but I'll be curious to hear how it works for someone else before I actually try it:

And it's not like there's no room for philologists (and linguists and computer scientists):

This isn't a particularly in-depth (or even thoughtful — the military analogy, though a common enough phrase, here is just a throw-away) piece of writing about Arabic dialectology, but it's always nice to see this particular question of diglossia getting some attention in the popular press:

Arabic: A Language with Too Many Armies and Navies?

Are there too many or too few medievalist conferences? What should be the goals and scope of these conferences? How can we best find good groups of interlocutors to discuss our research? This week, Modern Medieval tackles some questions about being medievalists at conferences:

Conferences and the Medievalist Community

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