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Random bullets of the book project

The thing about writing a book (and it feels like “writing a book” now, even though the phase I’m in at the moment is revising an article that will eventually become a chapter) is that it leaves virtually no writing-brain left for blogging. Everything’s getting channeled into the larger project, even if it’s just 15 […]

AcWriMo: Throwing my hat into the ring.

I got wind of AcWriMo (the academic-writing answer to NaNoWriMo) just as I was starting to think “Okay, now that the Potential Book Project has a good chance of turning into my Tenure Book Project, I should start making time to work on it.” It’s high time I got back into the daily writing habit, […]

Fun with Google Books Ngram Viewer

When Google’s Ngram Viewer appeared on the scene last month, I (like half my Twitter feed) went a little crazy feeding search terms into it and looking at the results. For any of you who missed the news, the viewer lets you search language corpora generated from Google Books and display a chart of the […]

The past is a foreign country; they write poems differently there.

My Material Cultures paper is coming together at last, with a little over a month and a half to go before I present it. I suspect a lot of the points I’m making have been made at least once or twice before, but I’m working with a body of evidence that doesn’t seem to have […]

The Slow Food approach to scholarship

Reading Anthony Grafton’s recent NYRB blog post on the impact of budget cuts on British universities (and especially the paleography program at King’s College London), I was struck by the following paragraph: There was a Slow Food feel to British university life, based on a consensus that people should take the time to make an article or a […]

Writing projects: update and non-update

So. Instead of being Insanely Productive Writing Month, November has turned into a cage match between my NoNaShoStoWriMo story and my embryonic Material Cultures paper project. The latter has been winning; the former is stalled out and sitting forlornly on my hard drive, waiting for a month when I can give it my undivided attention. […]

On trying to get some research done, or, Revenge of the zombies

Every research project I’ve ever undertaken (of the kind intended to lead to something publishable, anyway) has tended to fall into a distinct series of stages. It goes more or less like this: 1) Initial idea, followed by exhilaration as several interesting data points and/or previous ideas and/or previous research investigations dovetail in an unexpected way. […]

In which an extracurricular project coalesces

Remember that idea I had for a project dealing with Dracula and information technology some months back? I think it may turn into an actual article, or at least the makings of one. I’d been thinking, over the winter break, about which of my various research ideas (some library-related, some more literary, some, like this […]

Current awareness needs to get more…current.

Now that faculty outreach and collection development for English and American literature are officially part of my job description, I've been making an effort to stay more up-to-date with the field. I'm scanning a much bigger field than I used to when I was a grad student in English, though, and I have fewer hours […]

Article idea: scholarly social network mapping

Several days ago I had an idea for an article: a study of humanities scholars' social and professional networks, using names mentioned in the acknowledgments sections of scholarly monographs. If you assembled enough data, I bet you could build a network graph, and if you had some way of representing people's areas of specialization, you […]