July was an odd month for productivity.
Most of the writing projects are on a long simmer and as much as I hoped to get one or two into submission, it was an unreasonable expectation. Otherwise, the month is full of mundane tasks and ongoing projects related to the UK trip and three short papers I’m determined to finish and submit by the end of August.
Back in May I submitted an abstract in response to a call for contributions by the editors of a planned volume dealing with the historical place of wounds in medieval history. Since I was already working on a conference paper with this as a major theme, it seemed like a good opportunity. I was already planning of writing a full length essay treatment of the conference paper so there was no extra work in this. One of the editors was hosting the session in which I was going to present the paper anyway, so this would help him evaluate the topic. On 3 June they let me know that I am in, and the essay is due in May next year. The volume will come out in 2014, but as soon as I get the official details for the planned volume I can put the chapter on the CV.
There is a heap of advice online about working on edited volumes, most of it is strongly cautionary, others flatly prohibit new academics from contributing to edited collections. Most arguments are sensible enough, usually based around the logistical problems of collaborative work, the long delay between submission and publication. The really negative people claim that no one reads edited collections and that they count for less than nothing on the CV. The argument is that you should just publish in peer review journals, because that’s all anyone reads. That may hold in certain areas of the humanities and social sciences, but in some parts of history, especially military history, violence and conflict, or even book history, the edited collection is the cornerstone of scholarship. I need only mention Jeremy Griffiths and Derek Pearsall’s Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475 (Cambridge: CUP, 1989). I can’t think of anything I have read, published since 1990, on the topic of manuscript and book history, that does not cite at least one or more essays from this volume. I’m fairly sure I have a book that manages to cite every essay in the collection, several times.
Since none of the other writing projects are finished it’s hard to quantify my input. I probably spent about 30 hours this month working on drafting and research. Word-counts are meaningless at this point. The are progressing, and there is no reason why I will miss the August submission goals.
Oxford et al.:
A great deal of time was devoted to the T4 visa application and other administrative tasks. There was a faculty ‘self assessment’ where I had to list off the things I did and did not need as a DPhil student in the coming year.
There have been some complications—unwanted but not unforeseen—in regards to my eligibility to sit that test. This is still playing out.
I made my mandatory road-trip to the closest office of the UK border contractors for a 5 minute appointment for fingerprints and a photo. I now wait for the New York embassy to process the T4 application and send it all back. That ordeal took three days and involved 19 hours on the road.
I wrote 10 blog entries. I won’t count up the words.
That’s about all that is worth reporting here.