Saturday, January 28, 2006

A question for the Classicists

A question for the Classicists

I was looking at a lecture for a friend earlier today, and there was a point at which he referred to Tacitus. Actually, he didn't; the reference was implied, but clear to anyone who's taught the Germania. Whatever. It made me think, and via a very circuitous route, about Tacitus' Latin, and how I've always found him rather difficult to read. Sallust (at least the stuff on Catiline, which is the bulk of my experience), however, I've always found pretty straightforward. But although they are both more or less writing exemplary moral stuff, Sallust has always seemed to be aimed more at a 'popular' audience, at least to me. I have no idea if this is true, by the way. But if it is, could this be part of the difference (development of the language and change of style over time notwithstanding)? Is Sallust easier because he is writing for a broader audience? Is Tacitus stuffy and difficult because he is writing for a senatorial aristocracy that he thinks should be able to read Latin at a much higher and stylistically difficult level? Or am I just all wrong on this -- something I'm all too willing to believe since I'm not a real Classicist, despite a fairly good grounding?

And some fun

Found in lots of places ...

Friday, January 27, 2006



Well, I was observed twice this week, once by my department chair, and once by my division chair, a person of immense power and influence on campus. I admit that I did nothing extra to prep my classes -- except that I did review my notes a bit more carefully beforehand. The first observation was good -- entirely document discussion. Today's was a bit weird, because we were finishing some documents on one period, but finished with them earlier than I would have liked, so I moved us on to the next topic via lecture. So the chair saw me in both discussion and lecture mode. Have I mentioned that I am terrified of screwing up in front of this person, because the chair really does have the power to give me the job or deny it? For those of you Ancient/Medieval folks, think major patron in the Roman Republican sense. But I think it went reasonably well, because when I got back to my office, I passed the chair in the hall and heard this:
"Very nice, ADM, very nice."

I will now commence with the breathing.

Update: No longer breathing. Looked at the Kzoo program. Senior Colleague's name is missing from our roundtable. Scarier ... a bona fide person with name recognition is the presider at my paper panel. I was not aware of this. Yeep! And finally, the scary scholar who works on very similar things to me is unfortunately not presenting across from me. So ... maybe I should see this as incentive to write a kick-ass paper rather than panicking about my impending academic embarrassing crucifixion of doom?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Made a shortlist of three and a campus interview at a SLAC in a part of the country I really like!

Getting the hang of things

Getting the hang of things

OK. I've found a bunch of new jobs to apply to in the next two weeks. I will be applying. But I'm starting to feel a bit more hopeful. Somehow, since last summer, I've managed to:
  • end a marriage amicably
  • find a one-year job, for which I turned down a different one-year job and adjunct classes at two colleges for the fall
  • turn in one complete and very overdue book review now in press
  • write a paper abstract
  • teach a full load (15 class hours per week), including one brand-new prep very much not in my field
  • move twice
  • edit/proof a chapter of a friend's diss
  • apply for 25 jobs so far
  • interview for one job
  • schedule an interview for a second job
  • finish a draft of a second review that I've posted to my workblog for my colleagues to laugh at and critique so I can send it to my editor by this weekend
  • make time to edit a paper for a colleague this weekend

Now ... I haven't been to the gym since this summer, or been for a run since September. And I have to get the draft of the paper done by early April. But I think I might be getting the hang of this academic stuff. Maybe. When I get all this stuff done and if I don't fall on my face at Kazoo, do I have your permission to give a very small lion-cub-like rowr?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Carnival of the Feminists 7

Carnival of the Feminists 7

Wow! If you are looking for a virtuous time-suck, go over to Carnival of the Feminists 7 at Feministe. There's plenty to provoke thought there. It's one for me to bookmark, I'm afraid, but for those of you who are ahead of your game, enjoy!

Me? I'm going to turn into Another Domestic Medievalist and clean up my house, which is in need of tidying, vacuuming, etc. Then back to writing, since I hammered out 500 or so words yesterday, I might as well keep it up.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

When a Historian hits the Big Time

When a Historian hits the Big Time

I'm guessing this is a sign -- Barnes and Noble just sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted to pre-order Natalie Zemon Davis' new book. Since the last one of these e-mails I got was for a Terry Pratchett book, this no doubt Says Something.

In other news, still waiting to hear if I made the cut on numerous jobs, waiting for a date to be set for an interview where I have made the short list, and gearing up for the crop of late-season jobs, including the TT version of the one I have now. The more I think about it, the more I know I want to be offered it. I really like my students here, and my colleagues and the admin are super-supportive. Kinda wish it were in a different location, but shoot. Plus, not getting the job here would make me feel very bad. Even if I were to get another offer.

But in the meantime, I've got writing to do. Not to mention some reading. OK, maybe not NZ Davis-style writing, but writing, nonetheless. Oh -- and I have a super-sikrit plan for something publishable! Long-term, but good, I think.

Carnivalesque -- the Early Modern version

To be held on or about Feb 4 at Pilgrim/Heretic. Send her your nominations in any field, as long as it fits the Early Modern description!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Teaching Carnival V

Teaching Carnival V

Teaching Carnival V is up at Ancarett's Abode. It's got some fantastic stuff -- go and read!

Sunday Memeage

Sunday Memeage

Four Jobs You’ve Had

  1. Waitress
  2. Assistant Manager at a Cinema
  3. Customer Service and Training Manager for a dotcom
  4. EFL teacher in Germany

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
  1. Jean de Florette
  2. The Great Escape
  3. The Princess Bride
  4. Singing in the Rain

Four Places You’ve Lived

  1. Carpinteria, CA
  2. On a boat (a Cal 34, to be exact)
  3. A high-rise dormitory in Germany
  4. DeKalb County, Georgia

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch

  1. anything by Joss Whedon
  2. Mystery!
  3. Scrubs
  4. Deadwood

Four Places You’ve Been on Vacation

  1. King's Canyon, CA
  2. Aviemore, Scotland
  3. London
  4. Port Townsend, WA

Four Blogs You Visit Daily
(yeah, right! -- as if I could name only 4 ...)
  1. Pilgrim/Heretic
  2. Early Modern Notes
  3. New Kid on the Hallway
  4. Bitch, PhD

Four of Your Favorite Foods
  1. Caribbean-style curried goat
  2. dim sum (although no feet, please)
  3. Tom kha gai
  4. pasta

Four Places You’d Rather Be

  1. southern Germany
  2. anywhere in Britain (the island)
  3. the Beach
  4. A really nice pub/coffeeshop with wifi and free beverages

Four Albums You Can’t Live Without (no such thing -- but I've been playing these a lot lately)

  1. Vaughan Williams, Orchestral Works (Decca)
  2. The Beautiful South, Miaow
  3. Linda Thompson, Fashionably Late
  4. Death Cab For Cutie, Plans

Four Vehicles You’ve Owned

  1. 1971 Toyota Corona
  2. 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger
  3. 1972 VW Bug
  4. 1994 Ford Escort

Four Taggees
(I think I'm the last person in the world to do this, but if not, I tag jo(e) and New Kid)

Thursday, January 12, 2006



OK -- so I know you are out there ... You don't have to comment, but in honor of the now almost over week of de-lurking, please feel free!

Teaching Carnival Soon!

The next Teaching Carnival will be appearing on or about the 15th of this month at Ancarett's Abode. Please let her know of any submissions at ancarett AT gmail DOT com.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back in the Groove

Back in the Groove

Well, still exhausted, but classes went pretty well today. I have decided there are two things I really like about night classes: the students usually want to be there, and I have more time to teach. I don't know what it is, but I have a very hard time teaching a daily schedule. 50 minutes isn't enough for me to get into my groove and really set up the big picture, teach the primary sources, and pull back out to the big picture again. It's not that the daily classes are bad classes, just that I never feel they are as coherent.

In some ways, I was very disappointed by the AHA this year. I went to a couple of good panels, and heard a couple of good papers. I missed the Patrick Geary panel, because I just blanked on when it was and ended up at something else. The panel on assessment was really disappointing, I thought. Too many people whinging and not enough practical stuff. Still, it reminded me I really want to read this book by Sam Wineburg.

In the non-panel parts of AHA, I think the interview went pretty well, although it turned out to be more a screening interview, as half the search committee were sick and not there. I heard some scuttlebutt about the department later on, but not enough to make me worry. So I hope I make the next round. It really sounds like the kind of place that I'd fit -- same kinds of students I now teach, much like Dr. Crazy's students, really, but with the ability to teach upper division. ANd they have a bear of a teaching load, so their expectations of scholarly activity seem reasonable. I did like the people who did the interviewing, too, so that's good.

Most of all, I enjoyed the meet-ups. I saw people I've known for a very long time, and people I'd never met before. I can't imagine having had a better time with P/H -- it was like we'd known each other for years -- sometimes rooming with even good friends can be weird, but there was something really comfortable and natural about it, I thought. Maybe because we both seem to be pretty low maintenance about some things? I spent the better part of Sunday with Sharon Howard, who is just a lovely woman. Physically nothing like I expected, but otherwise very much what I thought we should be like. I ended up taking her back to the Belgian Ale pub, called Eulogy, for lunch. There I had a Philly cheese steak sandwich, with which I was not all that impressed. Then a very long flight back home. I arrived at about 10 last night, and was on campus at 8:00 this morning. My classes still have students, so I'm pretty happy. They seem engaged, which makes me happier. And I have to prep for tomorrow -- Ancient Near East stuff, so very disparate and a bit rushed (get me to the Greeks), and then Peasant Revolts in the 14th c. And then on to write a book review that's just barely a week late. I realised this evening that the best part of going to conferences is that I feel energised when I come back. I've talked to colleagues who have validated me -- other people seem to think I know my job, and it's nice to be reminded. It's a reality check -- P/H said she could see me being a bit intimidating (which I so don't get, but apparently some folks find me a person with a strong personality) -- so must make sure students aren't intimidated too much! OR search committees?

It's good to be back. Please let me not have to be doing all this again next year. I know what I'm good at, and trying to make sure I get paid for doing it isn't particularly helping me concentrate on those things!

A Small Announcement

Here's where I pass on the info that Tiruncula has gone private. No scary reasons, just discretion being the better part of valour. If you are one of her regular readers, you can ask for her password. I can pass on her e-mail to ask her, if you need it.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

AHA Day the Last

AHA Day the Last

I do not remember being this tired from conferencing before. Ugh. I may have to take my personal day at the beginning of Kalamazoo (or the end) just to sleep. Mmmmmmmm. Sleep. And I would so like to cause pain to the stupid grad students who roamed the halls last night (at 2-3 a.m.) being quite loud. more later.

Friday, January 06, 2006

AHA Day 1

AHA Days 1 & 2

Arrived safely in Philly and met up with Pilgrim/Heretic. She is much as I expected, but younger. Excellent roommate, though! And she's totally cool. I thin we decided we're just going to stay in Philly. We went to a pub that specializes in Belgian ales and had dinner -- frites, mussels, and beer. Yum!

Friday was good -- I went to the only paper that deals with anything like my area -- interesting person from Notre Dame -- A grad student, I think. And I ran my idea for a book project by P/H, who liked it. Mad dash to print expensively at Kinko's, a business lunch with other people from a history organization specializing in reviews and discussion lists, and then a mad dash to the interview. I think it went well. It turned out to be a screening interview, as half of the search committee came down with some awful illness. I really liked the people. I think the job would be a great fit -- everything I like about teaching CC, in terms of student demographic and focus on teaching and collegiality (and also a heavy teaching load), but also the things I miss -- teaching upper division courses and having expectations of writing. I really hope I made it to the next stage.

Then back to the hotel, where P/H and I met up with 1B*. Soooo much fun. great dinner in a Cuban restaurant, and lots and lots of laughing. If we go with B*'s idea of blogger trading cards, I collected a bunch this weekend. In addition to P/H and B*, I met Timothy Burke, who was ill and still one of the most friggin' brilliant and articulate speakers I've met, Nathanael Robinson, David Beito, Manan Ahmed, and Juan Cole, who was so very cool. I always thought he'd be all Mr. Arrogant, because he's kinda famous, but he was just the most pleasant person. I also met Sharon Howard, who's meeting up with me again in a few minutes. I am feeling very privileged.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Term

New Term

New term, new students, lots of fun. The first class was really good, I think -- lots of energy for an early class. The next class much lower energy, but there were smiles. I'm hoping that's a good sign. The best thing is that no one seemed too upset that we're missing a class this week for AHA. Kind of. Yours truly will be checking in from afar, prodding them in the right general direction on Blackboard from her hotel room. Someday, I would like to be at a conference that doesn't happen when I'm supposed to be teaching or marking. I've marked final exams through two Late Antiquity conferences, and maintained classes from AHA three times now ...


On the up side, my Blackboard classes are in really good shape!

Oh -- and if anyone knows what novel a story like this figures into (although with tragic results -- the bride is drowned by the groom as they try to consummate the marriage), I'd love to know. I know I've read it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Have You Ever Noticed

Have you ever noticed ...

... that it's the "nicer" hotels that charge $10 a day for internet access. Please let my ethernet card be working, because I really don't want to pay for wireless which isn't available in the rooms and is a dollar more!

I am so not ready for this conference. I must prepare for this interview. But now, I have to make sure the Blackboard sites for my classes are ready ...