Monday, December 22, 2008

Throwing in the towel

For the last several weeks, I keep hoping to have time to read some stuff and post on it, or write some stuff and post on that, and I hereby give up. Between the holidays, the end-of-term grading, and the preparation for two job interviews in January, I just do not have time for research right now. I therefore acknowledge that posting will be light or nonexistent for the next couple of weeks, and will attempt to resume in January.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just another December...

Classes are done. All pending assignments are graded. I'll get final papers on Wednesday. I don't write a lot of comments on final papers, since students don't get them back (students can request more detailed feedback from me, which I'll return to them next semester), so I hope I can power through them and get the grading done by Christmas.

Meanwhile I'm trying to alternate between writing and preparing for job interviews. This requires preparing sample syllabi, so my desk is half buried under books: books for research, books I might use in my class next semester, books I might use in some hypothetical class I might teach in the future, books that just looked interesting. The books used to be in neat stacks, but now the stacks have collapsed into a heap.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Am now mostly recovered from the ick. As much as I would like to post something substantive about medieval religion, right now is the season of logistics and administration for me: grading, student-related paperwork, and this editing gig.

One of the things that has been fascinating about reading and editing a group of closely related papers has been observing different styles of writing and citation. I have known for years that I tend to write briefly: I usually aim for writing that is succinct and to the point, and my footnotes are accordingly brief. Some of my fellow writers in this project tend to write much, much longer footnotes. Where I write, "On X, see Author Y, Reference," they might write instead: "X is a complicated issue. For the conventional view, see author Y, whereas authors Z and W offer contrasting views that undermine the principles of Y's position." Or they might simply offer six different sources, instead of one or two. One person left me very little editing to do by meticulously casting her footnotes into the preferred format, while others required a lot more regularization.

I am not by any means saying that one of these styles is preferable to the others. It has just been interesting to get a glimpse of the various ways people work.

What's your footnoting style? Short and sweet? Long and meaty? Somewhere in between?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Completing this month's agenda is not made any easier by the fact that I've developed an ugly cold. Here's hoping I recover swiftly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This month's agenda

Well, I hadn't actually meant to take the holiday week off from the blog, but, well, it was a holiday after all. Or at least Thursday was a holiday, and I had guests, which entailed a certain amount of preparation before and clean-up afterward.

At any rate, these are what's currently on tap:
1) Editing a group of papers to be sent to the publisher, with an imminent deadline. I actually quite like the editing. There is something about checking other people's footnote formatting, use of commas, and the like that I find rather soothing.

2) Completing revisions on a certain article. Here the difficulty is figuring out how to respond to the reviewer's comments, some of which tack in a different direction from teh one I'm going in.

3) Surviving the semester with sanity intact. I get final papers in a couple of weeks, and I have relatively little prep to do until then. I do have a slightly sticky problem to deal with today, though.

4) Revising my book manuscript. Since I recently got a lot of thoughtful comments from two helpful readers, I need to rethink and reorganize portions of it. I'm sure I will be working out some of those ideas here, though I don't think I'll be able to get into the manuscript until January.