Friday, August 2, 2019

The Mystery Trip Revealed

Where did I go, what did I do, and how could it possibly have anything to do with women in translation??  Well, it's a little tricky to explain, but several months ago I applied for a "summer lab" on internationalization in community colleges.  I was not at all sure what I was getting into, but it seemed like it might be fun, so why not?  I'd figure it out as I went along, right?

The lab was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which I mostly knew as the premier school for librarians.  It is in fact a huge university where a lot of research happens, and the International and Area Studies folks wanted to foster internationalization in community colleges.  (Internationalization, which my husband usefully pointed out to be can be abbreviated i18n, is the rather common-sensical idea that it's a good thing for students to get some amount of global perspective in their educations.  Also, yay study abroad.)  So the theme was to come up with some sort of internationalization project you could carry out at your college, and research how to do it for a week at Urbana-Champaign.  The price for getting to live in the library for a week is to produce some sort of paper, syllabus, or plan afterwards.

So off I went to Illinois, where I have never been.  They put me up in a dorm apartment, which was by far the fanciest apartment I've ever lived in (washer and dryer!  dishwasher!), and which surprisingly had a castle door in the second floor stairs that led to a dining hall that looked like a castle hall, or maybe chapel.  Every day for six days I would walk over to the main library and read as much academic verbiage as I could stand, saving the rest for later perusal.  For a break, I would give myself the treat of going into the main stacks and wandering around happily.  On Friday, there was a day-long workshop.

Stacks: the librarian's favorite hideout
I include here a photo of elevator buttons because all the elevators were different, hard to find, strangely labeled, and led odd places.  Like to floor 3.5, where I found a nice bundle of Elizabeth Goudge books. 


I met lots of lovely people and had a glorious time when I wasn't digging through academic verbiage.  In the evening, I went and found fireflies!  I'd never seen fireflies before.  I got two roommates, who were great.  I found a few fun books to read when my brain was worn out.

Right before firefly time

And now I'm home, writing this paper.  The kids are gone, so it's a perfect time, but...it's killing me.  I have ideas, I can write them down, but the part where I need to quote and cite all the research....well, it's not like I can't do it, I did after all write my library's APA guide, but it's horrible work.  I'm so glad I'm not a real academic.  I can't let myself do anything else -- clean the house, put the pictures on the walls after painting (that was two weeks ago), have fun.  Must write paper.  I'm only writing this post because there is other stuff going on right now.

And how could this connect to WIT month?  Well, advocating for more literature in translation is right in there, isn't it?  If I were a literature instructor, I could attend the summer lab and put together a syllabus for a "Women in Translation" class -- except I'd need a better title.  Sadly, as a librarian, my options seemed to be a little more limited than the instructors, who could pick anything to study.  I'd much rather be a librarian, though.

But if you work or teach at a community college, think about attending the International Studies Research Lab!  Everybody is great and I learned a lot.

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