This is the second year that I’ve been teaching our Introduction to the Profession graduate seminar, and this year the students and I will be using this platform to help expand the public face of our course. Blogs are, obviously, a form of self-publishing, but there’s a lively discourse — see, for example, the past few posts on the medieval studies group-blog In the Middle — about how blogging is itself a form of scholarly writing, more process-oriented and less finished than other publication venues. We started this blog last year to serve as an electronic version of connective-tissue, trying to keep our community in touch with each other. This year, we’ll see how it works to bring on board our new crop of doctoral students, and to keep reaching out to our larger communities — English majors and minors, other students at St. John’s, and in the greater New York area.
Starting next week, the students in Intro to the Profession will begin posting about subjects of their own choosing. They may well start with our first two assigned books. The first is an academic how-to, in detail and with examples, written by Gregory Colon Semanza, who teaches now at UConn and comes from the PhD program at Penn State. The second, more playful, ironic, and, well, much more French, is Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.
One possible first question, then, might be — why would we want to read such unlike books together?