Long quote because it’s…

Long quote because it's SO good, re: academic job talks, from Bardiac:

"I think this is most important, a candidate can make sure that they're talking in a way that won't limit their audience just to people who do exactly what they do.

I think of it like this, I suppose:

When you're first in grad school, you spend a whole lot of time trying to sound smart, adopting the language of your field, trying to understand it fully. You read Jameson, and then start quoting him as if of course, everyone should just know that.

The height of this comes when you're in the depths of your dissertation. You think of everything in terms of your dissertation, perhaps, or at least a lot. You're self-absorbed. And since most of your grad school cohort is also writing, you have lots of conversations about very theoretical issues, history, critics, sources, and so on. You speak your own language. And sometimes you forget that others don't speak that language. Or maybe they just don't care.

And then you start teaching the stuff you've been working on, and you realize that you need to talk differently to communicate to undergraduates.

And then you keep teaching, and you realize that sometimes the most difficult issues need to be communicated more effectively, that people who do physics want to understand what you do, but they don't have time to read De Certeau because they're working hard on their own stuff. But they're smart. And you ask them physics questions, and you learn that they can explain really complicated physics stuff so that you can understand, even if you can't do the calculus in your head. And then you learn to communicate with the physics folks, and the anthro folks, and your students and your peers at conferences. Or maybe you never quite get there, but you can see others do it, and know it's worth doing.

Maybe, as one of my colleagues said, you realize that something else is really important to you, and you aim everything at communicating that, and you realize that you care more about speaking to a different audience than to other salinity theorists.

So for the successful job talk, you need to get beyond talking to other dissertators, and get to talking to people who aren't salinity experts, to people who don't speak the exact language of your dissertation, and to help them see why your research work matters and why they should care anyway."

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