Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Idealism at Its Finest

Despite having my 8:00am class cancelled Friday afternoon, I've enjoyed meeting with my 10:10am Intro. to Humanities students this week--all seven of them. It's nice to get paid no matter how many students actually enroll. It certainly makes up for the times I had to teach sections with more than thirty students ... grading more than 30 exams and reading more than 30 essays is hardly ever worth the pay. The drive to McKinney has proven a useful time to listen to my Pimsleur Russian CDs: I've been getting through a lesson each morning.

Today in class I covered six cultures: Mesopotamian, Egyptian, early Greek (Mycenaean), Hittite, Persian/Zoroastrian, and Taoism (early Chinese). Tomorrow I hit the highlights of 5th century BC/BCE Greek culture. It's in this class that I show a dramatized version of Plato's Allegory of the Cave from the 1970s, complete with bedsheet toga and dazzling lights atop the mountain of enlightenment. The "modern" dance of the shadow-casters/psychedelic beasties always makes me feel a bit spooked. I'd like to teach a section of this course in Amsterdam just once, so that my students and I could get totally baked at the coffeeshop before watching this video. The colors and lights are so be-dazzling!

It was just shortly before I began teaching this course that I fell in love with late Bronze Age and early Mesopotamian cultures, so I've been adding new lessons almost every semester about the Hittites, or the Sumerians, or the Babylonians. I'm still reserving pre-Islamic Persia as a possible topic for my dissertation, if I finally decide not to write about continental philosophy ... I haven't figured out a way to write about both. Plus, I just like the idea of petitioning my graduate school to accept cuneiform as my foreign language. (Yes, I've already downloaded the Old Persian cuneiform font for MS Word several months ago....) Ah! graduate school ... and all the useless knowledge at your fingertips. I'm sure someday I'll miss it, but right now (only 6 more weeks before the fall term begins) I'm only looking forward to being done.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love that I know someone who knows what the Old Persian cuneiform looks like. I just like the word "cuneiform"

    Hittities, Babylonians and Sumerians, oh my!