Saturday, September 30, 2006

Getting Medieval

Getting Medieval

I have too many thoughts right now to put them into anything as articulate as you'll find at Crooked Timber or Making Light or any number of other blogs. But it occurs to me that, when people are talking about how primitive and backwards the middle ages were, it might be a good idea to remember that habeas corpus dates back to the middle ages.

update: links updated and corrected

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Long Time, No Blog

Long Time, No Blog

To quote my favourite historian, "A great many things keep happening, some of them good, some of them bad." I have to say, it's been interesting that I've seen that particular quote in several places of late. It's about perfect for a historian, in that there's never a time that it could be wrong. I'm happy to say that most things are good these days, I think.

Term is about 1/4 of the way down. I'm surviving, which is a good thing. I was pretty sure I would, but there are many times that I worry about the fact that I am just surviving. I'm trying not to worry -- there are a lot of new faculty members, some of them even more experienced than I am, and they all are feeling overwhelmed, too. I know a lot of this is not unfamiliar to many of you, but I really am surprised at how different a T-T job at a SLAC is from a visiting job at a CC. Last year, I did try to act like a well-rounded academic, and produced a conference paper and a couple of book reviews. But this year, even though I'm in the classroom a little less (last year was 12 hours a week plus online discussion, this year, 9 plus online discussion), it just seems harder. OK, so the preps (two) are both new, and one is not in a field in which I have had any significant coursework at all -- and it's the upper division class. But ...

I have two days a week that I don't teach. All I've managed to get done that isn't related to teaching is a single book review and an abstract that I finished so late that I had to submit to the general sessions. Let's hope they like women and land transactions in my place and period of expertise. It's got a pretty good title, at least! Actually, I am really looking forward to writing it, just as I'm looking forward to trying to expand the paper I wrote last year into an article. That's one of the biggest changes, I think. I don't ever remember resenting not having the time to write before. But then, I never had to write before. The pressure of being on the market has been replaced by the pressure of keeping my job. Somehow, I thought I'd feel far more secure this year. Hmph. How did I not see this coming?

Just so you all know, this job is good. The move was kind of hellish, and adjusting from pretty cool big city to really small town -- which I now dub, "Dabbaville" in honor of my grandfather. The town is about the same size as the one my grandparents lived in for almost 60 years, where my dad grew up and where I lived when I was really little. Since school started, I haven't gone anywhere where I haven't run into someone I know. My colleagues are all pretty cool. There are politics, and I'm still trying to get a handle on some of the dynamics, but I've been told I'm fitting in. I got here early enough that I'd started to meet some people outside SLAC -- neighbors I could go out to a local pub with. I liked the idea of separate friends, but Dabbaville is so small that it only took one evening out with a couple of colleagues, and the two groups met -- and were already connected through mutual friends! Even in the big city there were some really interesting 'small world' experiences -- neighbors being close friends of people I knew in an entirely separate way, etc., but this is a different type of small. All of my colleagues are on boards of various charities, or active in churches, or in the Rotary or some such ... it's kind of expected. And yet I haven't run into any students when out on the town. Of course, most of my younger students are too young to go out to the one club in town and are too young to drink anyway. My older students mostly live in the surrounding communities, so aren't likely to go out on the town in Dabbaville. Still, one of the non-colleague friends isn't so lucky. She's a middle-school teacher who regularly runs into ex-students.

And the students ... can I just say that they aren't all that different at the freshman level? Skills-wise, they're about the same. The differences are in attitude -- more of a sense of entitlement at SLAC -- and neediness. My students are a lot more demanding and want a lot more hand-holding than I'm used to. On the other hand, they are cool in the same ways. They ask for help, and really do try when they get it. And I like it that they ask. OK, so I wish they wouldn't ask me things I wrote in the assignment and repeated in class ... twice! But even though they're killing me, I really like them. And I have athletes in my classes. All of a sudden I feel obligated to pay attention to how the various teams are doing ... and I am going to my first Homecoming game ever. SLAC's ways are not our Earth ways, but I think they might be ok. I just want to get some damned writing done.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Carnivalesque XVIII

Carnivalesque XVIII

Welcome to this version of Carnivalesque Button! It's a bit abbreviated, as this particular Mistress of Folly has been fighting a migraine for the past few days. It's also a little light on the medieval ... it seems as though the medievalist bloggers have been blogging their academic lives, rather than their academics, lately. So this particular carnivalesque also includes a few words of encouragement to myself and my colleagues to blog a bit more!!

I thought we might take things in chronological order, more or less, so we'll begin our tour with archaeology. First, because I like pictures and all, take a visit to Memorabilia Antonina and look at Tony's picture of Hadrian's Wall. No particular reason, except that it's a really nice picture! Primed with that, you might want to move on to Towards an Archaeology of Iconoclasm to see the Top Ten Archaeological Sites on the Mediterranean. Then, if you're feeling a bit behind on recent finds, check out this post at Another Boring Academic Has a Blog, where Lisa Carnell has gathered together a very nice collection of links to recent finds. There's also a Classics Carnival up at Rogue Classicism.

If you're the type of person who prefers their archaelogical sources mixed up with a bit of inscription and literature, there's also a nice pair of posts at Classical Archaeologist on Health in the Ancient World (well, the Ancient Western World) here and here. Just to remind you that there are other places one might call ancient, go check out this primary source at Frog in a Well: China. It's so good, I may have to use it in my World Civ midterm!
And for those of you who despair every time you teach Early Christianity, there's a very useful post at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean on on that very subject

But wait! Early Christianity! that's Late Antique, isn't it? Not really Ancient, not yet Medieval ... Good thing this is the Ancient/Medieval version, folks !

I'm starting off the Medieval section with two PSAs. Scott Nokes reports the Impending Death of Medieval Forum. And at Wormtalk and Slugspeak, Michael Drout reports the online arrival of Oral Tradition. Tiruncula also points us to a new source of things digital and medieval: Podcasts on your favourite heresies!

Over at In the Middle, Karl the Grouchy Medievalist talks about Christians, heresy, and the eating of meat -- not necessarily in that order. And speaking of heresy ... well, not really, it's more like offending Ramon Lull's sensibilities, Steve Muhlberger has an interesting piece about a woman jouster. Talking of offended sensibilities, the last week or so has been pretty interesting for medievalists. Benedict XVI's use of the words of Manuel II Paleologus in a recent speech once again resurrected the imagery of the Crusades in service of popular ideology. Both Steve Muhlberger and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen offer some sensible clarification on Saladin and the capture of Jerusalem.

It may have come to your notice that this has been a very historical carnival ... I'm sorry! I couldn't find a lot of lit, per se. And what there is, is Late Medieval. Over at Got Medieval, Carl Pyrdum offers commentary on a medieval cookbook, which ites back to a very curious post on medieval cheese. For the truly literary tastes, though, if it's Late Mediaeval Lit on the interwebs, it's all about (or by) Geoffrey Chaucer. A serious Heo Cwaeth posits a different interpretation of Chaucer's Knight, while on a lighter note, History Geek makes some connections between Lanval, her other course readings, and how they connect to the present at And gladly wolde (s)he lerne. Chaucer's own contribution to this edition should not be missed: Serpents on a Shippe! (avec spoylerez)

On a final note, there's just no way to have an Ancient/Mediaeval Carnivalesque without Alun. This time, he takes us back to the beginning of our tour, timewise, and close to the end in terms of theme with America really really isn't the new Rome and America really really REALLY isn't the new Rome.

That's it for this time, folks! Don't forget, we're always looking for volunteers to host future editions!

Friday, September 22, 2006

History Carnival XXXIX

History Carnival XXXIX

Ralph Luker has posted History Carnival XXXIX at Cliopatria. It's full of really great stuff, and I'm dying because he's posted some of the stuff I had in mind for Carnivalesque!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Call for Posts

Carnivalesque Call for Posts

The next Carnivalesque Button will take place here on or about 25 September. It's an Ancient/Medieval version this time, folks!

We're also looking for future hosts! (hint, hint)

Carnivalesque is certainly not just for historians (or for academic scholars). We welcome perspectives from related disciplines, especially literary studies, archaeology, art history, philosophy - in fact, from anyone who enjoys writing about anything to do with the not-so-recent past. You can nominate your own writing and/or that of other bloggers, but please try not to nominate more than one or two posts by any author, and limit nominations to fairly recent posts, preferably since the last edition (on the relevant period) and certainly within the last three months.

To submit nominations you can either send an email to another Underscore damned Underscore Medievalist At-sign hotmail DOT com or the carnivalesque e-mail address: carnivalesque At-sign earlymodernweb DOT org ANOTHER DOT uk or you can use the handy submission form at Blog Carnival.

Potential hosts should be regular bloggers with some knowledge of
and interest in pre-modern history (though, again, not necessarily academics). If you are interested in hosting an edition of Carnivalesque, please send an email noting whether you are particularly interested in early modern or ancient/medieval, and telling us a little about your background and historical interests.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

AN open Letter

An Open Letter

Dear General Mills, Kellogg's,,

I am confused. You make breakfast cereals like Special K, Total, and Cheerios without tons of added sugar and no sugar coating. They taste just fine to many of us, but are a little boring, and kind of a pain, because to make them not-so-boring, we have to add our own fruit. Then, you come out with the idea of adding freeze-dried berries (one of the joys of my childhood) to your cereal. Woo and hoo! Problem solved! Except that, for some reason, you also decided to add a sugar coating to the cereal. You couldn't just dump in the fruit? What makes you think that the people who choose cereal without sugar will either: a) not want the fruit, or; b) all of a sudden want a bunch of added sugar? What kind of dumbasses are you?



Wednesday, September 13, 2006



Hello, everyone. Still here. Haven't finished my K'zoo proposal. Struggling with my upper-division class in the one field I really don't know. Dealing with the fact that my students at SLAC are no better than my students at CCs 1, 2, and 3 -- except they whine more. Thrilled that there are some serious liberals on campus to counteract the students who can't stop talking about some odd fundamentalist evangelical view of history and other cultures. Busy as hell. Hope your terms have all started out well.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Because I need to Grade

Because I need to Grade

I'm going to ask about new templates. Because I've realized that this template is over 4 years old. I modified it myself. I like the color scheme (really), and would like to keep some of the same colors. But I think it's time for a change. Opinions and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

World Keeps Turnin'

World Keeps Turnin'

Since so many of y'all held my hand through summer before last, I thought I should let you know the latest. X is engaged to be married. He kindly waited to tell me till he knew I was getting into the swing of things and felt emotionally sound. Or so I'm telling myself. I wish him all the best. I wonder what took me so long.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Educational Toys

Educational Toys

Via What Now by way of meg at xoom:

Target offers the
Franklin Roosevelt action figure!!! Make sure you read the customer reviews. I'm guessing they don't get comments like that at Wal-Mart!

Update: Apparently, Target has removed the product from its list!

Obesity Pandemic?

Obesity Pandemic?

This just in. Yes, it's bad. Yes, it's a real problem. Yes, there are lots of changes to our way of life that might help -- not adding corn syrup to everything, not commuting and working ridiculous hours so we rely too much on fatty, salty, sugary fast foods and exercise more. Not making those foods so cheap ...
But pandemic? Surely it's not contagious.