Hmm. I haven't told you anything about the new postdocs as characters around here yet, though I plan to as soon as I have enough spare time and energy to make it entertaining, but I got a kind of odd request I wanted to bounce off people.
See, we hired a Stripey scholar as one of the postdocs --- remember me saying I had been teaching this random course (I color-code the different classes; this one has stripes) that I had no background or preparation in and the only saving grace is that at least they've been throwing this same random course at me every semester instead of rotating me through all the possible surveys I haven't taken? Well, that's the situation. At this point I am together enough that I can run the class, though you aren't going to hear me name-dropping any scholars in that field or taking particularly sophisticated approaches to the stuff. Anyway.
The Stripey scholar emailed and sent me a syllabus for a polka-dot class,* and said, ooh hey could I see the Stripey syllabus cause one of the jobs I'm going to apply for wants syllabi and I haven't had the chance to teach my field yet kthanksbai. I haven't looked at the attachments zie has sent yet, but I'm kinda confused. Why would this person need my syllabus --- surely, as a Scholar of Stripiness, this person has a way better idea how to put together a syllabus in that field than I do! And really, how much work is it to craft a syllabus? (the kind you slap together for job apps, that is.) And would the search committee even want to see a syllabus from a class you haven't taught yet? Besides, I should think a syllabus is pretty personal and individualized --- I mean, if it's not, then there's no point in a search committee requesting to see them, right? I am just confused.
Another wrinkle added to this situation is that my syllabus is, like, totally plagiarized. Not having any idea what should be emphasized in a Stripey course (the Battle of Barege? The Earl of Corduroy? The epistemological debates over horizontality and verticality? The question, god forbid, of plaid?) I did what any desperate, overworked young scholar might do: I googled "Stripey course syllabus." And I looked back and forth between several that seemed promising and stole a bit from this and stole a bit from that, decided that since everybody assigned this author, I might as well too, and looked to a bunch of samples for how much reading I could slather on to each class period. One person who has the course and syllabus and writing assignments up on the web had an entire FAQ page of all sorts of stuff you should and should not expect from this course. Since all of the warnings were about things I hate about Stripeyness, I plonked that whole damn thing down on my first page, with minor tweakings and a bit more emphasis on my voice.
So I am not at all sure that I would give this syllabus to a search committee, given that the FAQ and several other of the more interesting parts of it would clearly show up in a google search. On a web site with a name that's not my own, I mean. On the other hand, last job season was so long ago I have no clue if I remembered to not send it or not. Ah well.
Any wise readers want to weigh in?
* Why yes! They are allowing me** to teach the survey that actually corresponds to my dissertation and my field next semester! Clearly if stripes are against everything I stand for, then my specialty must be polka dots. Nose picking and the polka dots of literature. Makes total sense, right?
**I could complain, but one of the other postdocs has been run through the roster of all the surveys, including the Classical literature in translation survey, I kid you not. So he's taught his specialty ... and had to prep a fuckload of other random stuff that probably was way more work than any possible payoff for his job search. Compared to that, my life's not all bad.