一博士论文,一本书,一次全球外包

曉宇
2021-04-30 看过

导师说,

你改个两三年,去投CUP(Cambridge University Press)OUP(Oxford University Press)。

我刚完成博士答辩两个月,不想再看我的论文一眼。

导师说,

你没多少论文,那你怎么也需要一本书,a job book。

我的导师论文Havard University Press出了,另一位合作的导师论文CUP出了。前提是,她们之前都拿了长期教职,花了三四年把论文打磨成书。现在嗷嗷待业的青年学者,没有这样的luxury。

另一位教授说,

考虑一下商业出版社,速度快些。

另一位教授说,

看你去哪里,有些地方只认university press。

又过了三个月,我没什么时间想了,要最快的时间把这本书出出来,或者,就要拆成三四篇论文。如果那样,我为什么不一开始就选三篇论文毕业呢?

逼着自己把book proposal整了出来。那一段时间都在写proposals,研究计划、入职计划、项目计划,一个学术青年变老的过程,就是始终畅想“可以做什么”的过程。

开始收到rejections。开始收到零星的acceptances。开始收到更多的rejections。我写出去的情书都没收到过这样的待遇。

定了一家声誉尚好的商业出版社,还是跟我们学院做了几十年的系列。庆幸没有选择一些新兴的大学出版社(这一点上,未来的朋友们,一定要跟你们的导师去check,避雷区)。我把论文重新整理一遍,发过去,准备迎接暴击,“几易其稿”的折磨。

没想到的是,出书,意外成了我了解出版业全球外包的窗口。

我的责编是意大利人,很快,我们的话题变成了封城和食物:

现在轮到我们了,操,你们当时怎么买吃的?酒呢?我听说你们也在阳台上唱歌来着。

审稿人是英国的匿名学者:

最后,我觉得该书符合贵社的出版标准,我衷心地希望作者一切安康。

意大利人还在继续回我的邮件,经过了两次修改,审稿人点头了。

谢天谢地,我们可以到下一步了,下面会有校正的人员和你联系。

一封到了spam的邮件被我及时发现,我的校正编辑叫Dhanalakshmi:

你叫我Dhana就行。

我发现Dhanalakshmi是1977年一个卡纳达语电影的片名。

卡纳达语是印度卡纳塔克邦的官方语言,该邦的首都就是印度硅谷“班加罗尔”。Dhana离我的时区近了,但她回邮件的时间似乎覆盖过所有的时区。她工作的公司,SPI Global,成立于1980年,是亚洲外包产业的先驱和目前全球最大的外包公司之一,总部在菲律宾的帕拉纳克市,它的CEO毕业于印度军事学院。

不到一个星期,Dhana发邮件说,十万字书稿的校正完成了,指出了我哪些参考文献中没有给出详细的出版地。她的邮件总是这样结尾:

我会尽早地同你联系给你反馈。祝你度过美好的一日。

最后一封也是。

我的意大利责编又出现了,我抗议了封面设计一个月后,她说,我们已经充分考虑你的意见了。封面维持了原样。

现在,书交给印刷人员了。印刷公司在海德堡,海德堡经济收入的三分之一来自于出版业,Heidelberger Druckmaschinen,海德堡印刷机械公司,成立于1850年,至今仍然是最大的胶印设备制造商。海德堡的印刷公司,标明工作时间是周一到周五,早九晚五,邮件从来没有称呼我过的名字,总会是:

Dear Customer!

我的样书最终从海德堡寄出,由一个专门的办公团队负责:complimentary copy team。

而我的稿费和版税问题这时候就要解决了。驻扎在瑞士的办公团队开始联系我,说了一通我没太看懂的话,之后我想着再联系的时候,再也找不到那封邮件了。我试过了所有的关键词。

我看了一眼书的价格,稿费可能够买80本?看来,那封“作者折扣优惠券”的邮件,我还是要找出来。我许下的赠书承诺会让我短暂的学术生涯破产。

我自然不会要你去买这本书,但是,你可以把它推荐给你手边的图书馆。这部关于国际组织和政治叙事的民族志,就在你面前了。比起原论文,我加了这么一段,我想,可当作是一个序言看:

Finding the UN office in Beijing is not easy.

A number of places show up in the map app on the phone when typing in the key word “United Nations”. There is no glamorous building or presence of compound-feeling architecture that would leave its recognisable mark in the city. Taxi drivers, interns, and first-time visitors unanimously have unimpressed expressions when they arrive at the front entrance. The armed guards and the faded UN sign authenticise its institutional identity, though it does not stand out amid the embassies and offices of international institutions in the same district. Senior staff with experience in the national government would say that the building and its inner design remind them of the governmental offices in the 1980s and 1990s, with its clumsy wooden doors and tiled floor.

A refurbishment initiative by the time I left in 2018 installed automatic sliding glass doors to create a modern touch. The assigned parking space for electronic cars and UN-logoed shared bikes (long before the commercial shared bikes) and English posters for minority rights pronounce its difference with governmental agencies in its progressive agenda. Nonetheless, it is certainly not the UN in New York and Geneva, nor the exclusive green zone in Baghdad or Kabul. The office stands in stark contrast to the Bulgari Hotel and the skyscrapers across the river, hosting the new global elites of bankers and consultants. The UN is humble and undetectable, and for outsiders, this is a timely reminder of its declining role and the shift of power between China and international institutions.

However, for the UN staff and international development professionals, it is exactly this humbleness and “shabbiness” that offer them a demeanor of glory. It is the government-assigned space, a three-floor building with yard in the city centre, and the fact that they don’t have to work in modernised elevator-facilitated buildings that distinguish them from the profit-driven businesses and new cosmopolitans in town. Even though they are alumni from the same graduate schools, their causes and pursuits divide them. There are two types of “the international” that share the same urban space but not the same category of social belonging. That sense of moral superiority sustains the lived experience of development professionals, however minimal, however insignificant.

我想最后一句话,当然也适用于学术工作者。

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