Hello All. I hope that everyone out there in the interwebs had a very Merry Christmas.

The topic of this blog post is 2012, or more accurately my 2012. When I think about next year, I am both thrilled and terrified at the same time. Thrilled because it will be a year in which I am able to test the academic role that I have been working myself into over the last couple of years. Terrifying because this testing also requires a lot of unknowns. My initial response is to suppose that these two feelings are in no means contradictory; indeed I should be thrilled that next year will be so scarily novel and challenging.

If postgraduate study is supposed to be training and preparation for a later role (as an academic, an alt-academy worker or whatever life brings), then surely qui audet adipiscitur. Unfortunately the excited-afrighted feeling that I am getting is currently manifesting itself as a sort of baseless, sourceless anxiety. I’ve thought long and hard about where this anxiety is coming from, and the answer seems to lie in range of unknowns. As a result, I thought that it might be prudent to face 2012 by listing my challenges in order to acknowledge them to myself and to others. I am one of those people who likes annual reviews because they are a mandated look back at what one has achieved, so this is sort of a reverse review of what I need to achieve in 2012:

  1. Naturally, madam thesis refuses to let me escape from her clutches. I have drafts to rewrite, Latin to translate and a philosophy of water to formulate. By this time next year, I will only have approximately five months left before submission, so I am aiming for a full draft of the thesis excluding intro/conc/bibliography etc.
  2. Because I am a sucker for punishment, I am also taking part in the postgraduate teaching internship program at my university in 2012. For those of you unfamiliar, postgrads in the Arts at my university don’t really get teaching until or after they have done an internship, in which we do a teaching and learning training course, give a couple of lectures, do some curriculum development and tutor. I am undertaking the internship with a diverse and fantastic group of people, and really look forward to working with them all.
  3. Furthermore, I have kind of *accidentally* ended up with three articles to write next year: one co-written with a friend on the premodern scientific and religious influences on twenty-first century water management, one on Gaston Bachelard and his successors in 20th/21st century materialist and elemental philosophy (i’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to Bachelard, so wheee!) and one for a themed journal edition on ‘Imagining Europe’ that, although not immediately looming, requires some thought. I know, boo freaking hoo James, you have publication opportunities. Yeah, well I still have to contend with peer review.
  4. I am editor of a graduate journal, and have to nurture the 12 articles that have made it to peer review. One has passed corrections, and i’m looking forward to seeing a few more make it through. We also have a sweet conference to plan for June.
  5. Finally, as if I needed more, I am going to the US not once, but twice. Once for Kalamazoo in Michigan in May, once for the New Chaucer Society in Oregon in July. My contribution to these conferences is an organic extension of my thesis, and so this is an opportunity for me to get out there and meet some great people in my area, my heroes you might say. Exciting but anxiety inducing.

Phew it feels good to write all of these things down. As you can see this is a lot to do, but no more than a tenured academic has to deal with. In a way, I feel like next year will be the litmus test for academic life. Will I sink or swim, brave readers? I’m generally good at rising to challenges and so i’m optimistic, but expect a lot of grumbling and musing on here next year. I think that 2012 will be one in which I find that Fluid Imaginings is a real asset, and I hope that you’ll all join me.

In the short term i’m looking forward to taking a short break during January and going to a Latin summer school in Sydney later in the month.

Valete Omnes,



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