And that grindstone is spinning fast and hard. December is rarely any kind of real break for English profs ... we're working like dogs from Thanksgiving to the end of semester, followed by the frantic attempt to catch up on personal things (such as Christmas shopping and decorating) before the holiday, and immediately after Christmas each year we've got the MLA conference -- then back to the office to prepare for the new semester.
So, looking ahead at the coming semester, what sorts of things can you expect to find me blogging about? With what is on my plate now, likely topics will be:
- Applying study of the history of the English language to TESOL studies. I'll be lecturing on that in Korea in about two weeks (at Pusan University of Foreign Studies). For my Korean readers, I'm not sure whether or not the lectures will be open to the public, since I am giving them to graduate classes. I'll primarily be speaking in English -- sorry to disappoint those who wanted a chuckle at my poor Korean.
- The relationship between medieval literature and the postmodern. I'm writing an article dealing with that issue for Global Perspectives on Medieval Literature and Culture (which I'm also editing with Noel Kaylor).
- Medievalism in the Harry Potter series. I'm talking with my old friends at Backstage at the Theatre of the Mind right now on delivering a paper (popular, not scholarly) at InConJunction -- which will be Harry Potter themed this year. This is all part of my attempt at re-shaping what it means to be a "public intellectual."
- Undergraduate research. I'm chairing the Chancellor's Fellowship Committee again, and we reward money to undergraduate and graduate students for research. Note to junior faculty: if you ever get a chance to get on a committee that gives out money for student research, take it. It is very rewarding.
- Discussing the relationship between pre-Columbian literature and medieval literature. This is an article idea still in formation, so we'll have to see what it grows into, if anything.
- Tolkien and medieval philology. I'm giving a paper on the topic at PCA.
- -Blogging and medieval studies. Well, OK, I know I'm always blogging on that at least indirectly, but I'll be on a panel on the topic at the International Medieval Congress this year, so I'll probably blog at bit on it both to get my ideas together, and to provide fodder for discussion there.
- -Topics arising. One likely topic -- how to avoid a nervous breakdown while pursuing this vigorous a schedule. Yeesh!
Anyway, feel free to comment on which of these issues you'd like to hear more about.