the p-word

Radical professionalism, a year later

The first of a set of posts on professionalism and radical professionalism appeared on this day a year ago. Here is the whole set again, this Happy Labour Day.

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it’s that time of year again


Radical professionalism (4): it exists and it’s medievalist


Medieval, medievalism, and medievalist radical professionalism


Radical professionalism (3): what it is and what it could be

Images above: the Winchester Psalter, British Library Cotton MS Nero C IV – Herrad of Landsberg, Hortus deliciarum – The Tree of Life, Gua Tewet, Borneo

“Radical professionalism” goes beyond “professionalism” and returns the latter to its deep true conservative sense. This is the longest in a series of posts. The project started with thinking about con– and pro– words in spring 2016, in relation to local (university) current events. The first “deliverables” were some images at the end of a self-flagellating work in progress post in July and a preamble in mid-August. Then followed two posts looking at what professionalism is not, on false values that will be very familiar to readers of Medieval allegory and satire: a first post on neutrality (false balance) and a second post about appearances (seeming, or: false being and false value(s)) and their connection to appropriateness, propriety, and property. There were two other entremets posts (here and here). This present post looks at what professionalism is; and what, in the shape of a radical professionalism as modelled by radical academic professionals, it could be. [UPDATED AFTER POSTING TO ADD] In a fourth post, we’ll see how radical professionalism actually exists, in the world of Medieval Studies. (more…)

(next (2c): radical professionalism (3): what it is and what it could be … coming up shortly … )

Sneak preview with obligatory misdirection:


Book of Hours, Master of Catherine of Cleves, Lieven van Lathem (illuminators); Utrecht, c. 1460. Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum (MMW), Den Haag: Ms. 10 F 50, fol. 6r.
c/o via  Wikipedia


Festal Missal, Garnerus de Morolio (scribe), Petrus de Raimbaucourt (illuminator); Amiens: c. 1323. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag: Ms. KB 78 D 40, Fol. 33rb: margin. First encountered in 2008 via Got Medieval and their fine analysis, Mmm… Marginalia: Wheel of Reynard.

EDITED TO ADD (2017-09-12): seven days and about 75 hours’ work later, I’ve changed this post’s original title’s “tomorrow” to “shortly”; I hope this next post will happen before the end of this week. It is the beginning of term so it’s a peak time for advising and French placement, plus helping new undergraduate students, course design and set-up and coordination, and of course teaching. Work is starting to settle down; writing will resume; balanced with students, who have priority. I am not complaining, quite the opposite: it is, as ever, sustaining and uplifting to find—weirdly, a pleasant suprise once again this year, as every year, here at UBC—that students (especially “my own” students in the classes I’m teaching) are fine, intelligent, curious, engaging, fascinating people. This is, as ever, a source of cheerful wonder to me. And wonderful. I am fortunate and grateful. I’ll also have to think about what this all adds to the conception and contemplation of “professionalism” with regard to work that often doesn’t feel like work. It is enthralling in its positive modern sense and in a joyful way. It is a far remove from thralldom. Even when there comes a moment when tiredness strikes, and awareness that being drained and feeling spent mean that what preceded was indeed labour. Teaching, above all, is a strange and marvellous thing. Its most radically professional aspect may be its balance of the active and the contemplative, à la medieval Occitan poetic dreit mezura, put into lived practice, and aiming ideally towards sen. More on which anon.

(I’ve been careful. That addition may add some clues, but also some further misdirection.)