[MGSA-L] job posting UIC

Anastassios (Tassos) Anastassiadis, Prof. tassos.anastassiadis at mcgill.ca
Thu Dec 13 08:14:56 PST 2018

Dear All,
 In order to avoid flooding your email boxes with multiple responses just before the break, I will compile the responses.

Dear Konstantina,
Though I may agree that the Cypriot job-ad could sound « too large », I still believe  this is not exactly similar. From the fall of Constantinople to Goudi is pretty much the early-modern and modern period  (excluding the 20th c.). This is logical and in accordance with standards both in North-american departments and in Greece. It is common in north-american postings to see «  Seeking a specialist in, or historian of,  the Ottoman empire ». This means that the person is an ottomanist and can teach the Ottoman empire between the 14th and 20th c. (which usually corresponds to the person’s  minor fields), but of course that person has a century or a couple of centuries of more precise specialization and a more specific topic (the major field). It is not at all the same as saying « seeking someone who can cover Bronze Age to 20th c. », i.e. some 35 centuries… As Tom Gallant said this is ludicrous.
In Greece, posts are often about Νεότερη και Σϋγχρονη (i.e., early modern and modern) and it works in a similar fashion as above (even though we don’t have major and minor fields in Greece). I’ve never seen a job-ad searching someone teaching Hellenism from the Petralona man to Syriza! (wrong, I actually did see a post like this last year but it just made me laugh sooo hard, especially since the person also had to be a specialist of mountains!!! it was an exception though, a ridiculous one, but still an exception).

Dear Neni,
Come on… I know that committees, just like Melina, don’t work on Sundays but still… We all know that job ads are carefully drafted by committees; every word is vetted; Chairs of Departments, Deans and HR officers double-check; all is done  before this gets public. The suggestion that instead of saying (I quote):
the candidate’s main research agenda may focus in either antiquity or modern times; nevertheless, the candidate will have to demonstrate competence, either through research or teaching, in all eras of Greek history

UIC actually wanted to say…
the candidate’s main research agenda may focus in either antiquity or modern times; nevertheless, the candidate will have to demonstrate competence, either through research or teaching, in any era of Greek history

appears to me to be a far stretch. First of all, if that was the case, and if I was in UIC, or considering going there, I would be even more concerned about the professionalism of the University. I mean if they can’t draft an ad and don’t know what they are looking for, they probably won’t know what they are getting, as an old master once said about historians going to the archives without a question in mind…

Second of all,  if they wanted to keep it as open as possible and meant to say « any » , then why specify that it has to be « either Antiquity or modern times » just before that? Why eliminate the Medievalists? I mean, to be honest, the only person who would eventually qualify through their training for teaching everything from Antiquity to Modernity,  would have most probably been a Byzantinist, trained in classical Greek, Roman empire, but also in Christianity, Latin Christianity, Venetians and Franks, maybe in Islam, and most probably on post-byzantine stuff.
But UIC doesn’t want a Byzantinist. They paid attention  to eliminate the Byzantinist through the first phrase of the ad and then by adopting that ridiculous formulation in the second phrase, they can pretty much make sure that the only person that can fit the profile looks damn close to a classicist, who can eventually throw the random « receptions » course. Because, once again, as Tom said no serious modern historian would ever say: Sure let me teach you the Peloponnesian war because I learnt it in high school…

For the colleague from Thessaloniki,
Btw, reception studies is an epistemology and disciplinary history of Classics but would not really qualify as history of Modern Greece. And though there are a series of receptions studies works that I appreciate a lot and even practise it myself, in many cases, it is also a very useful way of doing the history of « these other parts of the world » (Egypt, Greece, Persia)  while only using english -or other western language  sources…

and Dear Brian Joseph,
Notwithstanding my respect for your competencies, and apologizing in advance for my ignorance of the field of linguistics (yes, true, I can only speak for the field I know and that have been trained into), please allow me to share with you the ad about a Greek Language, Literature and Linguistics position that was circulated on this list a month ago by the University of Vienna:

(quote and my emphasis)

Job Description:
The Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the Faculty of Historical Cultural Studies covers the study and teaching of Greek History, Literature and culture from the late antiquity until today. The advertised position concerns the field of Modern Greek Studies with the focus on literature and linguistics.
Areas of work: Independent research with the aim of further academic qualification (Habilitation) is expected; Co-operation in/or independent organisation of workshops and conferences; independent teaching, 4 hours per week during the semester - student advisory activities; co-operation in departmental administrative work

Ph. D., completed in Modern Greek Studies or Modern Greek Literature or Linguistics with a focus on Modern Greek. We welome teaching experience.

(end of quote)

Yes, apparenty even in Linguistics people do make the difference between Modern and Ancient. It seems as if there is a huge difference between the perceptions in MittelEuropa and those in MittelAmerica (meaning the Midwest… and not Central America).

My apologies for the long message but as mentioned this is extremely frustrating.
Tassos Anastassiadis
McGill University

Le 13 déc. 2018 à 16:31, Konstantina Zanou <czanou at yahoo.com<mailto:czanou at yahoo.com>> a écrit :

Dear all,

There was a similar posting last year at the University of Cyprus. They were seeking a specialist in the period from the fall of Constantinople to the Goudi movement. Apparently, they found one.
We all know quite well that all this, including the UIC posting, reflects specific ideologies around Greek history.

My best wishes for your Christmas break,
Konstantina Zanou<http://italian.columbia.edu/people/profile/1546>
Assistant Professor of Italian, specializing in Mediterranean Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Italian, Columbia University

"Transnational Patriotism in the Mediterranean, 1800-1850: Stammering the Nation”<https://global.oup.com/academic/product/transnational-patriotism-in-the-mediterranean-1800-1850-9780198788706?cc=us&lang=en&>

<https://global.oup.com/academic/product/transnational-patriotism-in-the-mediterranean-1800-1850-9780198788706?cc=us&lang=en&>"Mediterranean Diasporas: Politics and Ideas in the Long 19th Century”<https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/mediterranean-diasporas-9781472576651/>

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