Getting to know...Christine Dinkins
On one side of associate philosophy professor Christine Dinkins’ office at Wofford College, a Friedrich Nietzsche doll sits upright welcoming all visitors. A handful of Star Wars figurines surround her computer monitor, while the rest of her office is filled to the gills with philosophy books.
These are the two sides of Dinkins -- serious philosophy buff (and child of two college professors), and serious hobbyist.
“My job is definitely one of my passions,” says Dinkins, who attended Wake Forest University, got her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, and came to Wofford in the Fall of 2002. “I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a teacher of something. I grew up in this environment. Once I got to undergraduate school, I realized that something was philosophy.”
She considers herself very lucky to have landed in Spartanburg.
“Competition for jobs in philosophy is incredible,” she says. “A job opening might elicit 150 qualified applicants. I wanted to find a small liberal arts college, and I was hoping for something in the Southeast. Luckily I got an interview here in January 2002, and I was thrilled to join the Wofford faculty soon after!”
For Dinkins, the love of philosophy has more to do with ‘what’ than ‘where,’ though.
“I love the openness of it,” she says. “You are encouraged to look at every issue from several different angles. I find that stimulating and fun. I’m very interested in applied philosophy – taking theory and applying it to today’s issues like cloning and global warming.”
Naturally, Dinkins is involved in politics as well. She and fellow professor Dave Pittman spearheaded an effort to register as many Wofford employee voters as possible last fall for the national election.
“I’m very passionate about the democratic process,” says Dinkins. “I try to do what I can to raise awareness and get people involved, election year or not.”
One thing she won’t do is spend a lot of time outdoors, if she can help it.
“I prefer having heat and air conditioning,” she laughs. “And I hate bugs.”
And so she spends almost all of her time indoors, whether it’s composing choral music, playing complex board games (she once taught an Interim class on the subject), playing musical video games or checking out comic books. If you want to stoke that last passion, mention the upcoming movie The Watchmen.
“I wish nobody would go see The Watchman,” she says. “It’s one of the best comic books ever written. The writer himself said he never wanted it to be a movie, and he had very good reasons for that. I’m appalled by the whole thing and I’ll be glad when it’s all over.”
Instead, she will make do with one of her three favorite TV shows – Friday Night Lights, The Medium, and Reaper – or put her favorite movie of all time, Babe, in the DVD player.
“It’s about a pig who wants to be a border collie, so he herds sheep,” she says. “He chooses his own destiny. It’s silly but I love it.”
And if you’d like to get into a philosophy discussion about it, Nietzsche and Dinkins are happy to oblige.