The Committee for South Asian Foreign Language Area National Resource Center Studies, 1999-2019

A talk by Irving Birkner, former Associate Director of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies

Irving Birkner once sent a faculty member into the field with $10,000 in his sock. He offered a KitchenAid mixer as payment and figured out what to do when an alumnus was looking for a good home for their hurdy gurdy. Learned people called him "ugly Liz," "office monkey" and "the office pinata." There were tour boats full of hard drinking literature scholars, getting lost in the Pentagon parking lot, an attack by an actual monkey and lots and lots of paperwork. Also, two broken teeth. In this talk, he'll offer poorly thought out reflections about his 20 years at UChicago, the rise and durability of the administrative institution, and the place he began and ended his time at Chicago, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies. Early in his career, Birkner sought to be a diplomat, an intelligence officer or a teacher. Instead, he became a mid-level higher education bureaucrat and is very happy about that.

Dinner to be served after.

Dates: 
Monday, October 7, 2019 - 5:00pm
Classics 110