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Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading, writing, teaching…what do you like more?

There are many parts in the life of a researcher in the field of classical South Asia (all terms should be understood lato sensu). The following one is my personal list, but please add whatever major task I might have forgotten (i.e., please don't mention subsets, such as answering to emails or calling colleagues):

  1. 1. Reading. This is just unavoidable. Our primary sources are written ones. One needs to read both Sanskrit/Pāli/etc. texts, and secondary literature about it.
  2. 2. Thinking. This is also unavoidable for each sort of original work.
  3. 3. Writing. For some among us, it is fun to communicate, others only do it because they feel the pressure of the "publish or perish" commando. Still others refute to write at all and prefer to earn less or to be a, e.g., Sanskritist only during the Weekend.
  4. 4. Teaching. As above, some among us love it, others endure it and still others try to avoid it altogether. As with writing, reserachers of the older generation could avoid teaching almost altogether, if only they desired. This possibility to focus on points 1 and 2 only now tends to fade due to external pressure.
  5. 5. Organizing cultural events. Be they conferences, journals, team-projects… Perhaps due to the fact that I like organizing, but I am not able in fund-raising, I tend to think that the following point is not a subset of no. 5, but maybe I am wrong.
  6. 6. Fund-raising. Like it or not, we now need also to be able to explain to outsiders why they should fund us, we have to read boring application forms and even fill them…

What are your personal favourites? As for me, I very much enjoy the variety my job allows to me.

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