The new semester begins tonight at 5 pm (or something). This is my first semester with tenure which I officially received on August 15. It felt a lot like my team winning the World Series (which I have experienced) or the Super Bowl. I woke up the next day expecting things to be or feel different and then was disappointed when they were the same. My coffee tasted the same, the sky looked the same, my office did not become larger or smaller.
And my teaching and research loads did not change either. So here’s my fall semester:
1. Two old classes. I’m teaching two classes that I’ve taught every semester for the past four years. I love the routine, the opportunity to tweak the classes minutely and judge the results the next semester, the battle with boredom of going through the same material each semester (which I liken to acedia, a kind of monastic boredom), and the chance to compare students in very similar situations. And I often think of it as a kind of cricket match (as I watch Sachin Tendulkar in what is likely his last at bat in England). The patience to do the same thing over and over, but also the flexibility to adjust to variables and changes. The two classes are: History 101: Western Civilization I (online) and History 240: The Historians Craft, which is the required course for our majors.
2. A new class. I am also teaching a new class of sorts. I am teaching a digital and public history practicum. This course will focus on developing a boutique-y collection of digital artifacts to celebrate the Chester Fritz Library’s 50th Anniversary (The Fritz @ 50: 1961 to 2011). I have a class of four diligent but inexperienced graduate students, some good allies in the Department of Special Collections, a Gigapan, a brilliant tech advisor, and a bunch of good will. Like my effort in the Spring, our goal is to produce a small, well-curated digital exhibit, for the library using off the shelf components as much as possible.
3. Got Papers? I have somehow committed to four (?) conference papers this fall and winter. I have no idea how this happened. I’ve posted a rough draft of the first one here already. I’ll be giving “Liminal Time and Liminal Space in the Middle Byzantine Hagiography of Greece and the Aegean” at the International Anchoritic Society Conference here in Grand Forks. At the American Schools of Oriental Research Conference, I’ll be (co-)authoring a paper on our ongoing work at the site of Pyla-Vigla on Cyprus. (I might also be involved in a paper on my work on Polis at this conference, although this is not at all clear). Finally, in January I’ll be giving a paper with David Pettegrew at the Archaeological Institute of America’s Annual Meeting titled “Producing Peasants in the Corinthian Countryside“. This paper will draw on our decade old survey data from around the Corinthia. (To make my life easier, I’ve decided not to actually attend ASOR or the AIA.)
4. Publication Projects. I also have four ongoing publication projects. The first and most pressing one is to shape my paper, “The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth” from the Corinth in Contrast Conference into publication shape. I’ve received really good feedback from the editors of a volume that will come from this conference, and now I need to take it all in. I also need to push into final form my short encyclopedia article on Early Christian Baptisteries. I’ve also (more or less) committed to writing up a piece on post-colonialism in Byzantine Archaeology. This will develop from a paper I wrote years ago, with every intent of publishing, and gave at a working seminar at the Gennadius Library in Greece. The last publication project involves the results of our survey on Cyprus. We have finally decided to publish the results of the survey aspects of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Survey separate from the results of our excavations at the site. We have a completed draft of this manuscript more or less prepared and have submitted a book proposal to the American Schools of Oriental Research Archaeological Reports Series.
5. And the other stuff:
- Did I mention that we’re moving?
- I continue to tilt at windmills in an effort to document an early 20th century church here in Grand Forks. We have a verbal agreement with an architect to illustrate the building.
- I’ve been working with some people looking to revitalize the College of Arts and Sciences webpage (ssshhhh… this is the top secret not ready for primetime development page.)
- Teaching Thursday!
- At least one book review.
- Following Formula 1, NASCAR, Cricket, Baseball, the NFL, and College Football.
So it should be a fun semester!!!