In response to a few people’s queries about how I find the time to blog…

(1) I don’t. It only appears that I do, but compare this blog with, say, Levi Bryant’s Larval Subjects and you’ll realize I really don’t. And anyway, it’s usually just brief bursts of experimental enthusiasm.

(2) The blogging feeds the writing. Or at least it feeds the thinking that eventually results in writing. It’s also part of the outreach that my school (fortunately, and somewhat unusually) recognizes as part of scholarship. And it occasionally leads to opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise come up and that open up the writing/scholarship to new possibilities, opportunities, and pressures (in the best sense of the word).

(3) I’m on sabbatical. Which means I actually am writing, regularly (for a change). That’s in contrast to a normal teaching semester, in which the 40-40-20 of teaching/advising–scholarship–service — the workload ratio for a professor in my position — becomes something closer to 70-10-20, with the exception of brief spurts preceding conferences or deadlines, and with the summer providing some unpaid catch-up time for what’s undone in the scholarship category.

That said, my sabbatical projects include, let’s see: 2 book manuscripts, one of them (on film) about 40% written but to be completed this year, and one (on culture, identity, ecology, and other things) with much more written but much more left to go, and on the back-burner for now; 8 (at last count) articles, book chapters, or conference papers, of which one just got sent off to a journal, four are in various stages of completion or revision, and three are barely out of the hatchery; a couple of research-related trips and a handful of conference or public presentation trips; and all the semi-official mundania like book, manuscript, and article reviews, grant applications, attending to grad students’ queries and needs (which doesn’t stop during a sabbatical), participating in journal or professional society board discussions, tending to ideas in various stages of conception and germination, and blogging (see above). (I won’t mention the music, which is completely unofficial, but desperately needed for sanity’s and creativity’s sake.) . . . A sabbatical is hardly a vacation (though I wouldn’t mind one of those, after nine years in the tenure stream, and twelve post-doctorate).

But I do believe that as both media and knowledge production undergo dramatic changes, academics have to get better at working with the possibilities of the first so as to better communicate the second. And any opportunities for doing that, even the extra minutes in a day presented by a sabbatical, are worth pursuing. This blog is one of the results.

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