Thursday, May 7, 2009

MLA Dialogues (Part III)

This is the extremely intimidating hotel where I had several of my interviews last year (Fairmont San Francisco.)

Now, the worst ever MLA experience happened to me the year before. Neither immigration nor divorce have traumatized me quite as much. Here is a tiny little part of this horrible interview:

Employer: I see from your publications that you are interested in nationalism. What is your approach to national identity?

Me: The essentialist approach to national identity...

Employer (interrupts me with an exasperated look): Oh, so you are one of THOSE!

Me: I'm sorry?

Employer: You are an essentialist!

Me: No, just the opposite!

Employer (waving his hand in my direction): Enough, enough! I don't want to hear any more of these essentialist theories.

Me: I was only trying to say that the essentialist approach has long been intellectually and ideologically bankrupt...

Employer (obviously not listening and still very exasperated): Let's just move on to the next question.



Anonymous said...

That's why I never went to such conferences, which in my field would be annual Biophysical Society meetings...
I was always worried that not participating has reduced my chances to find a good position... But apparently not...

Clarissa said...

It's also very expensive!

But at least I don't stress out nearly as much as other people around these things. And I don't even prepare for my interviews. :-)