Hi, I’m David (also known as Dai), and I finished my DPhil in medieval Italian literature at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, last year. Since then I’ve been teaching part-time for the Sub-Faculty of Italian, taught at a summer school, held a short-term post-doc at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Leeds and a one term lectureship at Balliol College, Oxford, worked in pubs in Oxford, invigilated exams and worked as a research assistant, as well as other odds and ends. One thing I’m keen to talk about during my curation week is balancing the demands of pursuing the early stages of an academic career and keeping a roof over your head — the challenge of working multiple jobs of variable security and still finding the energy to go to conferences, publish, and all the other bits that fall outside the realm of the paid working day.
I mainly teach medieval Italian literature (including the big names like Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio) and translation from Italian into English, with occasional forays into the 20th century. I love the teaching and I find it hugely helpful for re-engaging with my research from new angles and perspectives, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing students get enthusiastic about the literature I love. My doctoral research centred around the representation of poetic selves and the importance of different forms of dialogue in medieval Italian literature (from the organisation of manuscripts to the staging of dialogues between characters in various texts including Dante’s Divine Comedy).
Lately I’ve been interested in the connection between the materials with which texts are made (books, parchment, ink) and the imagery used in the poetry in those books, on that parchment, written in that ink. I’ve recently had confirmation that I’ll be starting a 3 year Junior Research Fellowship in October, during which I’m planning to explore the representations of women’s voices in medieval Italian literature (looking at medieval women writing and medieval men writing ‘in drag’).
I’m involved in a couple of projects that I’ll be talking about a bit over the week, with one particular focus being a new inter-departmental workshop for undergraduates studying medieval topics. The workshops will be launching on Tuesday and bring together early career academics from different departments to give students a broad introduction to the culture of a period which can seem so alien to us today, but with which we seem to be endlessly fascinated!
Outside the classroom, the library, and other jobs, I listen to a lot of music, play ukulele, sing a fair bit, read things which aren’t for work(!), play slightly out-of-date videogames, tweet as @NotQuiteZiggy (yes, I get the David Bowie thing quite a lot…), and have the best intentions to write longer things at davidjabowe.wordpress.com.