Sunday, May 22, 2022

This long-running conversation with Elizabeth Cali

Extending some points on my happiness this semester....

Nearly every Wednesday afternoon and then every Thursday morning after the IRIS meetings, I would meet with my colleague Elizabeth Cali.  

She and I have been talking, nearly non-stop about African American literary studies, classroom approaches, black writers and culture, and popular culture for about seven years at this point. We hired Cali to teach African American literature in our department in 2014, which is when we initiated this long-running conversation. 

This semester was special because beyond usual conversations, we worked on the ins and outs of a podcast project we're collaborating on. We devised a plan for the project, and we recruited several professors to contribute scripts. So this project gave us even more to discuss this semester.

Cali is unusually knowledgeable and energetic about histories of black literary art. She's read everything it seems so I'm always learning something new, or realizing something new I need to read. 

What became even clearer this semester is how good she is at offering creative responses to particular behaviors. In short, she's a good problem solver. Being aware of that knowledge, I would email her about unsolved problems early or late in the week, and by the time we'd meet each mid-week, she'd have various possible approaches we might consider. 

Our long-running conversations do doubt contributed to my high levels of happiness this semester. 


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