End of term is galloping toward me at an alarming speend. I feel as if a huge wave of assignments and tasks is breaking over my head, and I am not sure if I can survive the flood. Professors seems have become psychos- demanding more and more irrationally huge amounts of words. 2000 words for this paper, 3000 for the other one, and another 500 word paper, and I have a twenty minute presentation. Twenty minutes can feel like eternity if you’re talking about feminist standpoint theory. In blog-style, it is not so hard. Imagine a woman looking at everything (and I mean everything- modes of production, science, labour, employment, politics, education) and describing it from her point of view. Basically, that is female standpoint theory. But it is amazing how hard academics try and dress up this simple idea in a lot of complicated verbiosity , so you have to plough through pages and pages of boring text to get there.
I do most of my work in the Killam Library, a huge building quite close to the emblematic Henry Hicks (where my department is). And I love it. I was surprised to read a piece in the university newspaper “Dal Gazette” the other day complaining that my beloved library was too “modern”, not “classic” enough. The trouble was that it is basically made from huge blocks of cement shoved rather inelegantly on each other, the whole being topped with a huge patio-style glass roof; known as the atrium. There is a coffeeshop in the atrium selling rather expensive fair-trade coffee (typical Halifax!) and a bistro selling rather disgusting pots of pasta and noodles. And there are fake and real pretty greenery, threaded with white fairy lights, and a waterworks. It’s warm, and you can smell the coffe the moment you walk in the atrium. Further in, there are lots (and lots!) of books and computers where you can work in reasonable quiet, and take your coffee with you. There is a writing centre staffed with friendly people who are willing to run a quick eye over your essay or hear you practice your presentation. The librarians too, are friendly and willing to show how to cite from UN documents or how to conduct searches in American newspapers.
That Dal writer wouldn`t know a good place if he lost his dog in one. He was just like our folklore Molla Nasredin, pricking his balls with a sharp pin and complaining that it hurts.