Friday, February 26, 2010

Hope-y Change-y (Academic Version)

unrelated photo

So, the academics in Exotic Research Country are famous for being territorial. I "grew up" (archivally speaking) on stories of archivists who hid documents, professors who sabotaged the students of other professors, ones who refused to let you work in "their" territory. So when I discovered that two people were already working in areas close to the project I had finally settled on, you can imagine my trepidation.

But you know what's nice? Change. Seems that as a new generation of scholars has come up, they have discovered the joys of collaboration – even transatlantic collaboration. This generation seems much happier to share information, discuss ideas, and critique approaches in a helpful way.

Case in point: I wrote to the two main people working near "my" topic (to be fair, it was "theirs" long before it was "mine"). One is in the U.S.; the other is here. And dig this: both of them were excited to have another person working on it, and eager to meet up and talk. Imagine that!

So, I'm going into my weekend, eyeballs sore from staring at documents, but otherwise very happy.


Anna Blanch said...

So glad to hear you've met with some positive responses...maybe the three of your can put an additional project together to provide another outlet for your research!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

And dig this: both of them were excited to have another person working on it, and eager to meet up and talk.

Hold your cards close to your vest, until you're sure they're not just trying to lull you into complacency and then eat your lunch. I've seen this shit happen over and over.

All smiles while you spill your guts, and then once your back is turned, the shiv goes in.

Anonymous said...

I've noted a similar change in academic culture in my Exotic Research Country. Some of it is genuine, especially among younger scholars, but some of it is just a new ploy for accessing others' work. Especially scholars based in-country know that they can pick the brains of visiting foreigners and then exploit that knowledge at their leisure once said foreigners go home. They want to check that you haven't found something they've missed, and make sure that they cover your angle on the topic when they get their article or book out first.

AliceAcademic said...

I'm glad to hear that you've resolved this situation and also to hear of the collaborative spirit in the new gen.

I can't believe I'm saying this, too, but as a protective blog-friend, I'm going to second CPP's advice and suggest that you proceed with caution, at least for now.