And Back Again

Hello all. I'm recovered sufficiently from the Written Comps (which I was told I'd passed, finally, about a month after I'd finished them) and from the holidays (which I may have passed), and the work staring me in the face has gotten large enough that I can ignore it by blogging. So, I'm back.

I haven't quite decided if I'll post the essays I wrote for comps. I think I might, just to show off what I did, and to see if it garners any response. One of them, "Negotiating Time's Boundaries: Identity, History, and Utopia in Four Medieval Works" might be all right, but the second, which features a bit of lit review and a foray into Chaucer's House of Fame, is a little more rough than I'd like, and I'm not sure how proud of it I am.

Right now, I'm working on both my prospectus and my Oral Comps paper; I've been encouraged to think of the former as the introduction to my dissertation, and the latter as my "theory chapter." I actually had been thinking of the introduction as the theory chapter, but this is probably for the better. The thing is, the more I sketch out the theory chapter, the less I'm certain how the dissertation will go. The theory should be integrated into the rest of the readings—otherwise, why have theory at all—but because I don't know quite how the theory chapter's going to turn out, or what claims I'll be making at the end of it, I'm not certain I know quite what comes after it anymore. I'll probably post the theory chapter, or bits of it, up here for your perusal; with any luck, I might get feedback.

So, yes, aside from that . . . I've also been questioning whether I want to put myself through the MLA this year. I should be done with the dissertation by the Spring of 2010, which is nice, but I'm worried about a number of other job-related things, including:
  • not being sure where to get the money to go to Philadelphia (unless there's a chance of presenting a paper at MLA, in which case I could get a travel grant from the University)
  • the scarcity of jobs available at the moment, and the explosion of candidates competing for those jobs
  • competing with a number of scholars, many of whom have a larger reputation, more publications, and more experience than I
  • not having the money for campus visits, should I get any
All in all, a grim prospect. So, I'm also thinking about applying for lectureships. I'm aware that there's going to be a lot of competition for those as well, but I'm also thinking that the lectureships might be a way to spend a few years working on publishing things and saving up money, so that by 2012 or so I might be a more viable candidate.

I don't know, though. We'll see.

Teaching is going all right; I have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday and a Tuesday-Thursday schedule, so I'm up here every day. Trying to figure out how to balance that and my own work is going to be a bit more challenging this semester. I do have two sections of Honors World Lit I, which means smaller classes and potentially smarter students. So far they've proved themselves keen on debate—at least, one section has. The other section's a bit lethargic, but that may just be me; my metabolism seems to crash around 1:30 PM, and class goes until 1:50. We jump into Gilgamesh this week, after a few days of discussing theory.

So, there we are. I'm back.

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