Wow! I'm in Perspectives!
Why yes, I'm thoroughly in avoidance mode. Not for long. The Kazoo paper (why, oh why, did I say I was going to write this paper?) beckons. I've got pretty much all the marking for my surveys done, and have only the class blog for my upper-division class to finish marking. Then, on Wednesday, the final exams. So after that, I can start blogging important things again. I still haven't blogged the Late Antiquity conference that was so very cool -- I promise I'll get that up before Kazoo, unless my paper reaches a crap level of tragi-comic proportions, in which case, I see e-mails going out to many of you, with huge amounts of begging for help.
Last year, it seemed so easy. My paper was finished by the second week of April, and I was able to enjoy all of LDW's too-short visit. I realise now that last year, I was only teaching two sections of one prep during spring quarter, and had no service obligations. This year, I was constantly informed that I was very lucky to have a 3-3 load (the norm is 4-4, 4-3 if one is producing anything scholarly, 3-3 for a couple of people who are very active and get funds to pay an adjunct to take one of their classes and/or chair major committees). That's true. And boy, am I grateful. As it happens, I taught 4 new preps this year, and just finished up serving on my first-ever search committee last week. Plus a very high-profile university wide committee which, thank goodness, has only met about 4 times since I've been on it. Meanwhile, I've been dealing with an entirely new (to me) type of student, and tailoring and re-tailoring my classes to try to get the best from them.
Last year's paper was also a bit easier -- I was in the same town as a major research institution, and could regularly run over to the library and could borrow up to 20 books at a time, or just work there all day. The paper itself was pulled from the diss in a much more coherent manner. This year's paper is very different in that I've taken subsidiary characters, i.e., women, and put them in the forefront. Since I'm not a women's historian per se, I'm not as familiar with the literature on women and property as I'd like, and it's slowing me down a bit. I'm also finding that, when I built up my database (which reminds me, I have to write a person overseas who might be interested in publishing it!) for my main document collection, it didn't occur to me to have a field for whether or not there were women witnessing land transactions, so I'm having to go through the bastard things one by one. There might be a more efficient way, but if this turns out to be a halfway decent paper, I want to use it as the base of an article, so I might as well do the research the right way in the first place. Oof. I do think I may have to narrow the focus, but won't know that till next week. yeep.
None of this, by the way, has much of anything to do with the title of the post, except that I haven't looked at my copy of Perspectives yet, but I did look at Cliopatria this morning, and Ralph Luker points to Anthony Grafton's column there. I have to say, I'm very chuffed. And frankly, I felt a bit guilty, because I haven't been blogging quite so much this year. I've really wanted to, because I think it's important to talk about that transition from being on the market to actually having an academic job. I suppose I just really didn't think about how huge that transition might be. I also didn't really think about how my own attitude might change towards blogging. Even though several of my colleagues know I blog, I don't know that they know that their colleague is ADM. And I'm not advertising it. There's been a slight shift for me, too. When I was on the market, I felt much more comfortable with the levels of self-censorship I imposed. Now that I'm at the end of my first year, and only have one year more before I have to turn in my materials for T&P (and the whole accelerated track thing is a post in itself), I feel a bit less sure about how much to censor. It's as if keeping the job is a much more difficult prospect than getting one. Or perhaps it's that, like every institution, there are politics at play, and it now feels like there's more at stake if I screw up?
Whatever the various causes for delay, I'll be trying to get some reflections on the past year up before I go off to try and do some research this summer. In the meantime, Professor Grafton's column has reminded me that I submitted a panel for AHA 2008, and I haven't heard back yet, and I really would like to think they'd want to know more about the ways that people in my area cope with being the campus oddball. I suppose we'll see. I'm guessing, though, that it's not been accepted. Maybe I should have submitted it as ADM!?