Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Years of Rust

Because I have been fielding some questions from students and colleagues about my whereabouts and going-ons for the last couple of years, I thought a long-overdue blog post was warranted.  What follows is narcissistic, navel-gazing, and perhaps a candidate for #humblebrag.  Forewarned.  Better stuff will be coming in the weeks and months ahead as this blog gets a soft re-boot of sorts.

After teaching since I finished my PhD in 2002, the last two years provided a most welcome break from the grind.  Thanks to the generation that preceded me in the university, and provided vastly improved working conditions for academics,  I benefitted from not only a sabbatical in 2009-2010 but also a parental leave for 2010-2011.  I managed to stay rather active in those 2 years, especially with 2 new edited books (well, one brand new and one "new and improved" from the first edition),  some conference and public presentations, plus examining doctoral and M.A. theses, doctoral comprehensive examinations, and chairing an OGS committee (not in history -- for which all historians let out a big "WHEW") for the first time.

Closer to my academic home, I was also part of a new initiative called "DH@CWorks" (website forthcoming), or "Digital History at Carleton Workshop."  At the website, we shall be promoting a wide range of new research by students and faculty, done in the context of our courses, that are contributions to the burgeoning field of digital humanities and digital history.   Among the the things that I will be contributing is the development of a both an immersive interactive website and a mobile computing application related to the place memories of 20th-century childhoods in neighbourhoods around Carleton.  More details about this can be read about at the CCPH Tumblr page.

This fall, in addition to teaching a third-year course in Historical Representations I am also coming home to Canadian Social History.  I could not be more excited to teach the course which has best defined me as a teaching professor, and I will be teaching with the second edition of Home, Work, and Play for the first time.  The usual combination of nerves and excitement that accompany us on that first day are going to be on steroids for me.  I already feel bad for my students:  a hyper, excitable professor at 8:30 on a Tuesday morning is nothing less than terrifying.  Apologies, 2304ers.

I am also very excited about the crop of new graduate students coming to work with me this September, including 3 new public history M.A. students doing different-but-complementary research on the commemorative practices of the War of 1812.  Road trips next summer to the north shore of the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula are already planned.  It will be a spectacular nerd-fest for those of us there doing fieldwork.

If I write one more word about myself, I might vomit on my keyboard.  So that's it.  I am back, I am rusty, but I am also excited.

(As an apology for this post, here is something beautiful:

LA Light from Colin Rich on Vimeo.