School’s out for summer

I can’t be the only one who thinks of Alice Cooper every year around this time, right? No more red pens, no more books, no more students’ dirty looks? Commence three months of sleeping in (ha!), growing a beard (that may not fly), not wearing a tie (mostly) or even shoes (as much as humanly possible), not checking university email every day (this one could happen). I can keep my office door shut when I’m here, I can wear shorts and sandals, I can leave to go wander around the park when I feel like it, and I can jaunt off to California, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other parts of Virginia as I more or less please.

It’s old news by now for anyone likely to be reading this that faculty don’t take summers off, so I will just revel in the fact that while I’ll be working, it’ll be in the context of what I just described above, and I can live with that.

Now, plans. I’m of two minds about this bit. I do want my goals clearly articulated, and a public list holds me somewhat more accountable, but things change as summers fall down around us (last summer turned into a scramble midway as I unexpectedly had some paper proposals accepted that demanded a lot of work, for instance). So this list is intended to be realistic, while I harbor dreams of getting to items on my super-secret list as well.

1. Revise/submit an earlier, pre-circulated conference paper, “Creating Histories and Recovering Autonomy in the Hudson Valley,” which I have written about before, and then again. I have a short list of items I want to work on related to this (improved conclusion, two additional books I want to address a bit in the text/notes, etc.), and I will have somebody else give it a read before I send it off.

2. Revise/submit a rewritten dissertation chapter that Sharon Block recently read over for me. This thing got unwieldy, and her comments help me narrow the focus back down to something manageable/appropriate, though this will take some work. A colleague here will give it a read, and hopefully it will be out without too much headache.

3. Even though there seems to be a crowd that thinks I’m just obsessed with rivers, that’s really not the whole story–I am interested in roads/paths, too. And I’ll be presenting further work on this project at the Pennsylvania Histocial Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting in November, so I need to get cracking on this research. At least I think I have some process in place from having done some similar work last summer.

4. Review a book. TBD.

5. Plan some classes. I’ll be teaching at least the first half of our methods sequence next year, which will be a new class for me, and only the second/third iteration of this class anyway, so eep! I’m also developing some upper-division assignments that will integrate more digital work by my students, but since I’m only about 3/4 of a step ahead of them, this probably won’t be easy in either a pedagogical or technical sense.

6. Read. This gets its own special post.

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