After a hiatus…a turn to the personal
August 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
Friends, it has been a while. In January 2011 I started this blog so that I would have something other than my dissertation to write about. I took my interests in feminism and popular culture and focused my critical lens on the present day, while reaching back into the past as a touchstone (I am, after all, an historian). And it was great.
Then the job market hit, and I also returned to teaching. Bye-bye blog! Well, stressful as my first cycle on the market was, I landed a one-year teaching position at a small liberal arts college. In the South. As some of you know, I am not from the South, nor did I got to grad school there. Needless to say, the prospect of moving to a completely different and foreign part of the country to teach American history for a year was simply thrilling (also, thrilling: being employed) but also a little terrifying. A new adventure, for a new phase of my life.
Oh, and in the mean time I also finished, defended, and filed my dissertation. So I now have those three little letters attached to my name. I know, right? It’s pretty crazy!
Why am I returning to blogging now? Why, to tell you all about my new life! I promised friends and family I’d keep them updated on my experiences down here, and since I don’t care to have the same conversation 30 different times and we all lead really busy stressful lives, I figured ye ole blog was the perfect platform for this. But blogging in this vein requires a few key caveats going in. There will be no specifics. I’m going to keep job deets as vague and generic as possible. And I will try to avoid writing about individual faculty members or students, even pseudonymously. I will attempt to the best of my abilities to speak in the aggregate, because it’s unfair to write in an ostensibly public forum about people who have no knowledge that I am doing so and no way to speak back. My goal with this blog is to give you a sense of my life here and to continue to talk about the things I care about. If members of my department, through some magical sleuthing, discover this blog, I want them to be comfortable with what they read.
That out of the way…I don’t have much more to say! I am SO DOGGONE TIRED. Last Tuesday I filed my dissertation, then scrubbed out the remnants of my emptied apartment, hopped in the car with my brother and my two cats, and made a 2-legged trip down to my new home in Quaint Southern Town. After a whirlwind week/end involving the purchase of some exceptionally cheap and adorable antiquey furniture on Craigslist, a flat tire (and new set for only $500 smackeroos), and lots and lots of scrubbing and unpacking (I will still be unpacking come June when I have to move again), I found myself facing my first Monday “At Work.” My first morning up at 6:30 (when does this happen? never), showered, dressed, and in the car by 8:00 (I’m going to have to do better than that for my 9:00 am classes, since I have a 30-40 minute commute to my school), and I met my incoming faculty cohort for our New Faculty Orientation. And they were delightful.
Everyone here is delightful. Seriously. People are SO NICE. And chatty. And smart. Both at my SLAC and my encounters in Quaint Southern Town. I am sure you are imagining all the stereotypes that a Northern Liberal Feminist Commie Dem (ok I’m exaggerating) would bring to a Small SLAC and Quaint Southern Town (and vice versa). I feel like my year down here will simultaneously dispel and confirm some of those pesky Northern stereotypes about the South. Yes, in my first week I have encountered plenty of “country” people and seen church billboards that read “God Bless Chik-fil-A” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, trust me, you don’t want to know). I’m sure I will have to wrestle with the degree to which I allow some of my own personal politics to show in my classroom (um, the sheer content of my syllabi should be a dead giveaway, but I’m trying to keep mum about my personal beliefs and allegiances to parties, platforms &c and my faith commitment).
In general, I am trying to restrain myself from going in with too many regional assumptions, other than that I will probably encounter a lot more openly religious and openly conservative folks. I stress openly because I know that my grad school state is home to a lot of political conservatism (actually, it’s an extremely contested state, politically) and to many people of faith, but the culture is much more private in this latter respect. But I was also living in a college town, those oases of cosmopolitan hippie commie liberal values. One immediate and obvious difference between North and South? You didn’t see a different church every other block in the North! I joked to my friends on Facebook that I feel as if I am constantly keeping a for/against tally in my head. For: green tomatoes in the supermarket, friendly chatty people everywhere, gorgeous countryside. Against: see above re Chick-fil-A, mosquitoes, mosquitoes, and mosquitoes (they love me)!
Tomorrow is more orientation, faculty picnic, and then it’s rush rush rush to get the syllabi done, office set up, and teaching clothes fully unpacked because on Tuesday, August 21 it’s GO TIME! My goal is to post once a week, ideally on Sunday or Monday evening. I hope you’ll keep reading, so let me know you’re around by posting in the comments from time to time.
It feels good to be back!