Apologies for the late posting, and, even though I would never accept such an excuse from my students (there are plenty of computers in the library of course), I just need to share that my macbook crashed a few days ago. It’s a devastating experience. Maybe I expect to find some sympathy here. Everything was backed up, but it’s still hard to have to give your dearest companion to a genius at a bar hoping he will be able to resuscitate it.
About myself: I was born and raised in Friesland, a small province in the north of the Netherlands, famous for its Frisian horses, black-and-white cows, open skies and lakes, islands, and for the strange language we speak, Frisian. This is now mostly a spoken language (I was never taught how to write it and can barely read it), but is one of the oldest European languages which closely resembles Old English with a bit of German and Dutch thrown in. Frisians are officially the tallest people on the planet, but I am clearly an exception.
I have a BA and MA in American Studies and am now a fourth-year PhD student in Comparative Literature, where I work in German, French, but mostly contemporary American literature. I have been teaching World Humanities Gen Ed classes for the past few years and went to the Institute of World Literature at Harvard, where I became interested in “world literature” as a field, and in questions concerning translation, circulation, and canonization in multicultural and multilingual classroom such as those I teach in at CUNY. One of my goals for this course is to come up with a way to teach literature so that student can see (literally, on a digital map of the world) how a text can change over time (different translations), and where and when it sees publication for the first time. Knowing I have to be careful not to want to do too much, I want to limit and link it to for example a Nobel Prize winning book, showing its “origin” on a map, and its reach before and after the moment it wins the Nobel Prize, with possibly links to reviews, selections of translations, and dates of publication in various parts of the world. I really don’t know if this would be at all possible, but it comes out of course I am designing on Nobel Prize novels, which is set up in such a way that student are exposed to the (politics of the) selection process and hopefully start to see a book or text not as a stable, finished product but as something that is always in the making, and always responding to the local culture in which it “lands.”