揭秘人文学院那个传说中的美女教授

温州肯恩大学人文学院助理教授 Jennifer Marquardt

建校之初,Prof.Jennifer Marquardt便加入了温肯的教师队伍中。她是人文学院有名的美女教授。人美心善学问高,是学生们对她的评价。Prof.Marquardt在南密西西比大学作家中心获得文学博士学位。原本立志于成为建筑师的她最终选择了文学,成为了一个小说家。她的作品被编入《现代短文选集》,并在《新世界作家》杂志上发表。其中,她的魔幻现实主义小说《Hard Surfaces are Good for the Body》描述了人与人之间最脆弱的时刻,那种欲断未断的牵扯。她的小说总是能带领读者走入角色的内心世界,令人充满强烈好奇心地读下去。

她认为学习文学就是研究内在性。她坚信文学能帮助培养人的分析能力,也能探索内心世界。她的学术研究主要包括叙事理论、女性主义、理论乌托邦研究和媒体研究。

成长于密歇根的滨海城市Ludington的她在业余时间喜欢远足、骑自行车、划皮划艇,她说户外活动时与他人之间的交际能够带给她灵感。

我们线上采访了Prof. Marquardt,探讨了她的经历和她对文学的看法。

Prof. Jennifer Marquardt joined the WKU family at the beginning of its establishment. She is a well-known beauty professor of College of Liberal Arts. Beautiful, kind, talented are the students’ impression of her.

Prof. Marquardt earned her Ph.D. in Literature from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally determined to become an architect, she finally chose literature and becomes a fiction writer. Her work has been anthologized in Modern Shorts and has been published in New World Writers. Among them, her magic realism novel Hard surfaces are good for the body considers human relationships at their frailest moments, halfway between just barely hanging on and letting go. Her stories are searching, sensitive, inquisitive, and compelling.

Prof. Marquardt firmly believes that studying literature is essentially the study of interiority. Literature can help cultivate people’s analytical ability and explore their inner world. Her academic research mainly includes narrative theory, feminist theory, utopian research and media research.

Growing up in Ludington, Michigan, who enjoys hiking, cycling and kayaking, she says interactions with others during outdoor activities give her inspirations.

We interviewed Prof. Marquardt online to talk about her experience and her views on literature.

Q 你主修英语,同时也是一个小说家。是什么引领你走上文学之路的?有没有一个重要节点促使你决定成为作家?

You were an English major, and you write fiction, what led you to literature? Or was there an important moment that prompted you to decide to be a writer?

A 我最初的梦想是成为一名建筑师,因为我认为建筑是实用物理学与美学的结合。但在一家小型建筑公司实习的经历让我意识到,自己无法作为专业建筑师去将例如住宅等小型设计付诸实践。

I initially wanted to be an architect because it is this blend of practical physics with aesthetics. But interning at a small architectural firm, I realized it was extremely unlikely I would be able to practice this kind of small-scale design–residential houses, etc.–in a professional capacity.

由此,我转而在大学本科阶段探索更多的可能性。我修了有关物理、微积分和生物的各种课程。我喜欢这些课程并且都取得了不错的成绩。同时,我的家人也支持我攻读理学学位,因为他们觉得理工科很实用。所以后来当我转而选择文学的时候,大家都感到不可思议。这些经历也让我最终选择文学这件事变得有意思。

So I bounced around a lot in undergraduate. I took all sorts of courses in physics and calculus and biology. I liked them and was good at them. My family approved because pursuing a degree in STEM seemed very practical. So when I got drawn into the literature crowd, it seemed very subversive. And that was part of the fun.

(选择文学)更多的是因为我喜欢那些从事文学创作的人。我的导师Brent Chesley博士引领我探索文学是如何融合我所喜欢的建筑中的设计和解决问题这两个元素的。除了文学课程外,他还鼓励我参加创意写作课程,并带我参加各种会议和出版活动。我想主要是文学界的人,他们的全身心投入影响着我,让我踏上文学之路。

Mostly, I really liked the people. My mentor, Dr. Brent Chesley, showed me how literature could incorporate the design and problem-solving elements I liked in architecture. In addition to literature courses, he encouraged me to take creative writing courses and led me into participating in that community in terms of conferences and publications. I think it’s mostly the literature people, how engaged they are, that persuaded me to weight that field more heavily than the others.

Q 当下理工科因为实用性,比文科更受青睐。你能分享下你认为文学对于社会和个人发展有何意义吗?

Nowadays, science and engineering are more popular than liberal arts because of their practicability. Would you please share your opinion about the significance of literature for the development of society and individuals?

A 关于文学,我最欣赏作家Lisa Zunshine的观念——心灵理论。她认为,大量阅读小说会增强读者预测他人思维过程的能力。这是因为研究文学本质上就是研究内在性。因此,把自己袒露在许多不同类型的内心世界中,就像连接了一个储存各种心境的数据库,我们可以把它们对应地联系到现实生活和真实的人身上,以了解他们在想什么。这可以说是一种超能力。

My favorite study regarding literature is Lisa Zunshine’s concept, Theory of Mind. It holds that people who read a lot of fiction have an increased ability to predict another person’s thought process. This is because studying literature is essentially the study of interiority. So exposing oneself to many different types of interiority is akin to a database of interiority that we can then apply to real life and real people to know what they are thinking. It’s like a super power.

同时,我认为文学是培养分析思维的最好工具。它教会我们有逻辑地去分析事情并理解其中的含义。这就是为什么几乎所有大学都会开设类似于《世界文学》这样的课程。学习文学不是为了能在鸡尾酒会上高谈阔论,而是为了培养逻辑思维。

I also think that Literature is the best tool for developing analytical thought. It teaches us to parse subjects in a logical way and make meaning of them. That’s why courses like World Literature are required in almost every university. It isn’t so that you can quote Shakespeare at cocktail parties. It is there to build these important skills.

往大了说,文科和理工科是相辅相成的。理工科中就有很多的文字应用。以上使得理工科在工作保障方面更具吸引力。

On the larger scale, the Liberal Arts and STEM are complements to one another. STEM has a lot of literal applications. And this makes it really attractive in terms of job security.

我认为,人文学科赋予我们各种技能,由此无论是什么职位,具备文学素养的人都能胜任。有一个问题就是要弄清楚如何将这些技能运用到一个具体的工作中。文科也为理科的学习以及运用提供了一个情境。例如,一个工程师在她的专业领域里承担一些非常重要且有趣的工作,但重要的是,她知道她所做的与人类的历史、心理等有何契合。这种人文情境使得她的工作更有意义。

The humanities, I think, teaches us different skill sets that produce students who are equipped for any number of positions. If there is a drawback, it is figuring out how these many skills can translate into just one, specific job. The humanities also provides a context for those STEM situations. So an engineer could be doing some really important and interesting work in her field, but it’s important that she has a sense of where her work fits into humanity–our history, psychology, etc. that context makes her work even more meaningful.

Q 你教授的课程包括世界文学、电子空间写作、网络文学导论,你希望学生能够从你的课堂上学到什么?

According to courses you are teaching (WORLD LITERATURE, WRITING FOR DIGITAL SPACES, INTRO TO ELECTRONIC LIT), what do you hope students will learn from your classes?

A 我希望通过一个内在表现的框架来培养学生的表达能力。我希望他们拥有自信,能够就有意义的问题进行讨论,也希望他们通过精心设计的活动来培养这些技能。有些灵感正是通过活动和实验产生的。

I want students to develop their expression by giving them a framework of representation of interiority. I want them to develop the confidence to have discussions about meaningful issues, and I want them to build these skills through sophisticated play. Some of the best ideas are built through play and experimentation.

Q 你是仍留校任教的两个创始教师之一,是什么机缘让你来到温肯并留在这里?

You are one of the two remaining founding faculty of WKU. What coincidence made you come to WKU and stay here?

A 当我博士毕业时,我申请了很多工作,最终拿到了温肯以及威斯康星州一所大学的offer。威斯康星州离我的家乡很近,我了解那里。但我对中国知之甚少。好奇心把我带到了这里,也正是这种好奇心留住了我。中国,尤其是温州,是非常值得探索的。我喜欢徒步旅行、骑自行车,也喜欢划皮划艇看看风景。我享受这些活动所带来的与他人的交际互动。

When I graduated with my doctorate, I applied for a lot of jobs and was eventually offered this one as well as a position at a university in Wisconsin–a state in the US, close to where I grew up. I knew what Wisconsin was like. I had no idea what China was like. So it was a sense of curiosity that brought me here. And it’s that sense of curiosity that has kept me here. China–and Wenzhou in particular–is a place that rewards exploration. I love hiking, cycling, or sometimes kayaking the naturescapes of the city. I love the interactions I have with people while I’m doing these.

至于为什么留在温肯,一直以来都是因为学生。每一位教授都喜欢温肯学生一以贯之的善良、投入和聪慧。学生是我们在温肯所最喜爱的。因为我从建校初就在此任教,所以我见证了温肯培养出来的佼佼者们:才华横溢、勇攀高峰。能够对这些优秀的学生产生一些微不足道的影响是非常值得的。

In terms of staying at WKU, it has always been the students. Every WKU professor loves the kindness and dedication and intelligence that students demonstrate consistently. Students are our absolute favorite thing about this place. Because I have been here since the beginning, I get to see the end result: the talented, successful people that our seniors are. It’s really rewarding to have contributed in some small way to those impressive people.

Q 现在有什么写作计划吗?

Are there any upcoming writing plans?

A 是的,我正在写小说。我在很大程度上借鉴了我与学生们在叙事参与方面的合作成果,以及我目前的独立研究,他们提供了大量的历史文化材料和观点。我真的很幸运能和这些学生一起工作。他们为我提供信息的同时也给予我灵感。

Yes! I’m writing a novel. And I’m drawing heavily on the work that I’ve done with Students Partnering with Faculty about Narrative Engagement as well as my current Independent Study, who is providing a lot of historical and cultural information and perspective. I’m really lucky to get to work with these students. More than just providing information, they inspire me.

往期回顾

Jerry Choi教授:疫情下的管理范式变革

中英文字丨陈跃
图片丨媒体中心
制作 | 汤涟猗
责编 | 媒体中心