01 November 2012

Tenure and the Culture of Failure in Academia

Why are career paths that aren't tenure track considered failures by so many of us? Why do we use expressions like 'abandon the academic job search' or 'plan b' even when we're trying to explain that non-academic jobs are good outcomes of graduate studies? The easy answer is to blame the conveyor belt model of academia, and the lack of non-academic perspective of most academics. The reality is probably more a case of individual priorities and goals.

04 October 2012

Nuclear Train and Operation Hurricane

Yesterday, 3 October 2012, was the 60th anniversary of Operation Hurricane, which was the first British test of an atomic bomb. Today, 4 October, is the 55th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. We're also less than two weeks away from the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It is, in other words, a good time to remember how lucky we are to be here.

25 September 2012

The Misery and Joy of Doing Recent History

I am an historian of recent events. Well, relatively recent events. Some of the people who participated in the events I study are still alive. In the past day I've been reminded of the statement that real historians don't study anything that has happened in the past X years (where X is a real number between 1 and 100 that is arbitrarily chosen by the speaker of the admonition). I still don't agree with the statement, but I have new reasons for believing that recent history is hard.

13 September 2012

Microform Was Ahead Of Its Time (I still hate it)

In the midst of all the career-hunting I've been doing (networking, career counselling, job-searching and job applications), I've been making time to tweak my thesis and turn it into a book manuscript. Fortunately, I chose to write my dissertation as something more book-like than other people seem to think is possible, so I have relatively few things to do before I can submit to a publisher. One of them is using microform - the worst research tool available to historians - to solve a research question posed by my defence committee.

26 July 2012

Making Some Changes Around Here

It has been far too long since my last update, but big things are happening, so I thought I'd post a bit of an update.