I recently wrote a chapter for Bethany Nowviske’s upcoming book on alternate careers in academia (occasionally known by the Twitter hash tag #alt-ac).  I describe a mythical hybrid that, as Napoleon Dynamite might say, “is pretty much my favorite animal.”  Ancient writers of Bestiaries discovered this creature in the Septuagint translation of  fourth chapter of the Biblical book of Job which observes, in most English translations, “The old lion perisheth for lack of prey.”  The translators of the Septuagint, though, were apparently confused by the Hebrew word used for lion and instead coined the idea of the “Μυρμηκολέων” or the “Ant Lion.”  Imaginative proto-biologists assumed this must refer to an ant/lion hybrid that, having both herbivorous and carnivorous ancestry, could never find a meal to suit their nature.  As a trained and degreed computer scientist with a Ph.D. in English, I find I often identify with this beast.  Finding suitable employment in which I can fully satisfy both my programmer and humanities researcher impulses has been challenging to the point I have sometimes feared intellectually starving.  I have, however, found the digital humanities and digital library communities to be particularly welcoming and populated with beasts similar to myself (this is the point of my chapter),  but I also recognize that many ant-lions are roaming the wilderness still in search of these communities.  I intend for this blog to be, among other things, a call across the wasteland of a Google search results page, beckoning other of my emerging species to come and discuss our strange hyrbid scholarship.

Roar…

Advertisements