September is almost over, and while most faculty and students at UVM are completing their first month of new classes, I have not stepped foot into a classroom. This is a very strange occurrence for me. Since 2007 I have participated in the “back to school” ritual of planning course readings and assignments, organizing my office, meeting new students, and catching up with advisees. Instead, this semester began with me sitting with my laptop and a stack of books on my front porch, staring out at Mount Ellen and diving into my research and writing. It is wonderful to be able to devote myself entirely to brainstorming new projects, putting the finishing touches on articles (and books) in progress, and catching up with the literature in my scholarly fields.
In the coming months, I plan to keep our blog readers updated on what I am thinking, writing, and reading about during this sabbatical year. I will tell you about the projects I am working on, give brief reviews of books that I am reading that may be of interest to you, and offer a glimpse into how I work—for example, what tools do I use to locate and organize sources, or how do I make sure that I make progress towards my goals without the structure of classes and meetings to help organize my time.
I have ambitious goals for this sabbatical—these include writing grants, finishing chapters, revising articles, and conducting fieldwork. I am hopeful that I will be able to achieve most of them, but I am also willing to follow tangents and new directions that emerge out of my reading, writing, and conversations with others to see where they take me. Such is the nature of scholarly inquiry—to seek answers to questions that more often lead to new questions rather than definitive conclusions. I am grateful that the sabbatical provides me with the time to pursue some of these lines of investigation to see where they take me. I look forward to sharing this discovery with you.