I haz teachin.
This may explain why communication in this here forum is a bit erratic. With, well, not very much notice, I have become an Assistant Lecturer for this academic year at Queen Mary University of London in the Department of History, because they needed someone able to deliver Medieval Europe: authority, religion and culture 751-1215 from a running start, and it turns out I am that man. It’s reassuring to take on some teaching where I actually do know the field, more or less, and the other staff have been really supportive and friendly. It is going to be fun, though it is also going to be an entirely different sort of fun keeping up with publication and application deadlines as well as, you know, my main job, all at once. But this is just what real academics have to manage, right? so I expect to report on success here because a real academic is still what I’m aiming to be.
It’s amazing how that has stuck with me, actually. A long long time ago when I was still beginning my doctoral work I wasted too much time on a newsgroup called soc.history.medieval, because at that point there wasn’t really any presence of people authoritative in the field on the web, not even what we have now, and I couldn’t get out very much due to early parenthood and it made me feel like I was somehow keeping current. For reasons I have expressed elsewhere it also made me feel as if I was banging my head with a virtual brick quite a lot and it was something I downsized out of my life quite readily when time became tight. However, before I stopped reading it, there was a conversation in which the resident troll, in the middle of denigrating his usual opponent on the group in prolix style, gave a definition of a real historian, which was along the lines of `a person employed in a higher academic institution to teach, and publishing in, history”. I have usually only ever been able to manage one of these at once, and more often neither. This year, however, by that somewhat narrow definition, I am a real historian again for a while. If I have time to celebrate, I will.