The Song of Lunch

Ooooooooh Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman were lovely in The Song of Lunch, but at the same time the story was so painful! Full of aches for a lost life and the inability to connect and drinking to mask it all but instead drinking exacerbates it all.

In other news, I went for one campus interview this spring and the job was offered to another candidate. That means that I am staying as a Visiting Professor again next year. I’m grateful not to have to move but saddened because there is no queer community here. I guess I shouldn’t say that because the first queer event of the year is happening Tuesday.

I also submitted my manuscript to a publisher. I’m waiting to hear what they think of it. That publisher doesn’t hire a cover artist to design the cover, so I started a drawing for the cover. So far it’s pretty terrible. But the joy of charcoal is that it is always malleable.


Hahahaha Rowan Atkinson from the 1980s.


Two things going on in my mind simultaneously. I have an interview this afternoon for a tt job. I also have a bit of a crush on our costumer (I was in a play this last month, which is why you didn’t hear much from me). I should be thinking about the academic interview (they want me to be able to teach both sections of the US History survey, and I haven’t thought about the first half in a long time), but instead I’m wondering if this woman is gay, and if she is, would she be interested in a fatty like me. Seeing the pictures from the play really brought home to me just how much weight I’ve gained lately and how much work I need to do to lose it. *SIGH*

But, ok. Let’s think about this. What would I teach if I taught the first half of the US syllabus? Certainly the interaction between the three major cultural groups–African, European, and Indian. The different denominations of Christianity. The rise of the Enlightenment paralleling the Great Awakening. But what about specific books? I taught Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs last semester. All are so not “normal” slaves, but they get across a lot of interesting information about slavery and Africa and America. Each also encouraged students to take away lessons that I would rather they not–for instance, in Douglass’ case, that most slaves did not resist, that most slaves were so terrorized that they rolled over and took it. Now, sometimes I wonder if the relative absence of large scale slave revolts in the US suggests that enslaved peoples adapted to their circumstances more than we sometimes discuss (as if I have read much about slavery–but I get the sense that contemporary authors look for resistance and agency in every way they can). But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t resist in myriad “small” daily ways, in order to continue to maintain their humanity. Maybe I could talk about the love stories between enslaved people that were in that one collection of primary sources–that’s a great source and was really compelling for the students.

But how can I show that I know more about the period than African American history? I just emailed a grad school colleague who specializes in Native American history–maybe he will share his syllabus with me, though I doubt it would be before 2 o’clock.

Hmmm found a cool teacher’s syllabus about teaching US History within a world context. A lot of the topics are familiar, though many of the readings are new. Will study this for awhile.

I forget the kinds of things they need their hand held through. I think I’ve given enough direction, but then there’s a ton of questions and/or mistakes all on the same thing. At least if my instructions were more thorough, there wouldn’t be room for interpretation of what I meant. Ugh.

For instance, they need to write a paper on their group presentation. Both paper and presentation should be based on research. I did the research for them and provided them with citations. Unfortunately, I forgot to go over how to access JSTOR or how to get a book. Most of them have figured it out, but a few are very confused and then used the wrong sources for their papers (or no sources, which equates to using the documentary as a source without citing it).

Artwork accepted!

My artwork has been accepted to hang in a gallery and go on sale! I’m so excited!

What is the main point of your work? What do you want the other students to take away from your presentation or discussion?

So I asked the students today who presented or led discussion. So I ask of myself all the time about my own work. I feel like I am like them–going on and on about the content without explain why it is significant or why we should care. A senior scholar is coming next week to give the Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture and I am hosting her. I’m so excited to talk to her about my book, but at the same time terrified that I won’t know what to say. She is the soul of kindness, so I’m not scared of her, but I am nervous that I will prattle on about the archival minutia without explaining the overall significance. Although, when she read my book proposal, she said that I should include more archival gems in it. So maybe she won’t mind hearing about the details.

Grading 3 week class

As a continuation to my “Heavens to Betsy” post, the problem and the advantage of these papers is that they are asking really huge, significant historical questions. Questions that they can’t hope to answer with any sophistication in 3 pages or using the sources I gave them. They needed to ask more directed, specific questions about the sources themselves.

But here’s the rub–I always feel like I didn’t do enough to help them. So if it is my fault, how do I grade that? Gotta figure it out soon b/c I want to turn them back before class today.