This semester happens to be my last in grad school, and so I thought I would treat myself to only two classes; that way I would be able to spend more time writing. My, what a foolish dream that was. In my ignorance, or clueless bliss, I’m not sure which, I forgot that Graduate School, even if it’s just for a Master’s degree, is a Deathclaw from Fall Out 4: a monstrous soulless beast designed to rip, tear, bite, and devour the body before digesting the soul in its black pit of a stomach. Despite that colorful description, I should note for the reader that I am actually enjoying school, despite the fact it’s slowly killing me. Continue reading Evil Tyger Max -#12
Recently, I’ve started trying to keep tabs on other academic blogs. After fumbling around with my partner to figure out how to get all (okay, most) of the posts in one reader, we finally got it to work, and I can now browse through them on my phone. In particular in the last month, I’ve seen a spike in posts dedicated to self-care. Apparently, it’s particularly difficult for academics to practice it in late November/early December—something to do with papers, grading, grant deadlines, and—oh yeah—making sure to have quality time with your family and friends on Thanksgiving if you celebrate it. To name a few posts I’ve seen: Raul Pacheco-Vega redefines academic success (in both small and large scopes); Meghan Duffy reminds us that while we are busy, we don’t actually work 80 hours a week and should stop feeling guilty if we aren’t; Steven Shaw discusses realistic expectations and developing a healthy perspective (as opposed to a “tough skin”); and our own Amy Gaeta highlights self-care as part of surviving the first semester of grad school.
All of these writers give great advice, and if you find yourself in a rut, they’re worth a read. Still, as helpful as their posts are, sometimes all we can manage during the end of a semester is to go, “Right. Green tea. I should drink that instead of coffee this afternoon,” and then table the rest for when our workloads die down. But when winter break starts (or summer, or spring if you’re on a quarter system), sometimes we want to collapse or throw all caution to the wind and celebrate that we’re finally done (for the time being, anyway).
There’s a recurring question that springs to mind whenever I sit in the Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble in my little East Texas town and stare up at the mural of authors who all seem to have transcended time and space to have coffee alongside the hipsters: who put Oscar Wilde next to George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, and Trollope? Seriously, is it any wonder that the man looks so bored? Wilde shouldn’t be surrounded by those Victorian fogies, he should be sipping gin with Truman Capote, Christopher Hitchens, Walt Whitman, and the one man who would almost certainly guarantee a good time, and who also happens to be the focus of this essay, George Gordon, Lord Byron. The reason for such inclusion is simple: Byron could be an absolutely trenchant satirist when he wanted to be. Byron, like Wilde, Capote or Hitchens, could bring out his own breed of sharp wit whenever someone at a dinner party decided to be cleverer than him, only to be left decimated in a single sentence by his superior rhetorical ability. I know this is a platitude, but sometimes I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall whenever Byron let loose one of those glorious aphorisms that sealed his entrance into the hall of “Truly Spectacular One Liners,” if only to see and understand how it was that Rodney Dangerfield sealed his membership before the poet. (Then again, when you’ve starred in Caddyshack, your “Immortality card” is pretty much secure, unless you’re that blond kid who was the protagonist, and does anybody have any clue what happened to that guy?) Continue reading Dear Mr. Southey, Jump in a Lake: Byron and Epic Humor
The topic for this year’s conference, in Berkeley, CA, is “Romanticism and its Discontents.” See the full call for papers here: https://nassrberkeley2016.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/. Proposals for individual papers are due on February 8, 2016. Deadline for proposing an open-call session is November 2, 2015. Deadline for proposing a complete panel or roundtable is also February 8, 2016.
At the upcoming NASSR conference on “Romanticism and Rights” in Winnipeg, Canada this August, one of the headline events is the Aboriginal Rights Panel, which I expect many readers of this blog will attend. But what readers may not know is that Canada is at this moment at the centre of a deep and painful investigation into the ongoing legacies of the colonial maltreatment of Native people, which in June 2015 a Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined cultural genocide. Most of all, readers may not be aware of the pernicious influence of British Romanticism in forming the ideological conditions in which this cultural genocide took place. Continue reading Romanticism & Aboriginal Rights in Canada: A Primer
Hello NASSR Grads,
We have recently been advised by the organizers for this year’s NASSR conference in Winnipeg that the University of Winnipeg Hostel (a twenty minute walk from the conference venue) has a limited number of rooms available at grad-friendly rates.
If interested, see: http://uwhostel.com/.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Manitoba!
Jacob, Caucus Co-Chair
One of the great advantages we have as scholars is the opportunity to form communities beyond our institutions — not just at annual conferences in remote locales, but also in ongoing conversations on the web. These online communities are fora for scholarly dialogue and informal queries, requests for crowdfunding special projects and historical sites, and repositories of archival material. Here’s a brief roundup of selected sites, listservs, and communities available to Romanticists (and if you know of more, please get in touch!).
(1) NASSR List — the list of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (subscription required). The list is frequented by many major scholars in the field, but also graduate students and junior faculty; this is a particularly excellent resource for answers to obscure and arcane historical questions, and for links to major awards and opportunities in the field. Continue reading Romantic Web Communities
I’m delighted to announce that NASSR 2015 has released a program! Highlights of the August 13-16 conference in Winnipeg will include: tours of the archives of the Hudson’s Bay Company (the world’s oldest continuously-operating corporation) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights; plenaries by Joel Faflak (Western) and Nancy Yousef (CUNY-Baruch); and an Aboriginal Rights Roundtable. Also of note — in addition to participating in many panels, the members of the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus will be hosting a professionalization panel and a pub night.
I also have an update about the NASSR Pedagogy Contest, sponsored by the NASSR Advisory Board, the NASSR 2015 Organizing Committee, and Romantic Circles. Please send in your syllabuses by June 5th to be considered for the Pedagogy award (which comes with a cash prize of $250). Here are the instructions:
Please send a document of between 3-5 pages to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 5th. Please include a cover letter with identifying information, which should be left off all other documents. Initial queries and questions are welcomed.
Potential materials might include but are not limited to:
– A cover letter and explanation of the submission, including an argument as to the course or project’s pedagogical innovation and benefits
– Syllabus or parts of a syllabus
– Assignment sheets
– Multimedia or digital materials
Please note that the NASSR 2015 deadline for conference abstracts has been extended to February 7th, 2015. Information about the conference can be found here, and special session details are available here.
If you’re interested in participating in the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus Roundtable on Public Romanticism (in addition to any other speaking responsibilities at the conference), please see our CFP here. For details on the many fascinating special session panels organized by graduate students, consult this blog’s previous post.
We look forward to seeing you all in August!
The passing of a calendar year prompts reflection among many folks, including the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus co-chairs. Looking back, 2014 was a big year for the Caucus.
The NGSC Board doubled in size. After putting out a call for board members, Jake, Laura, and I were overwhelmed at the response. Graduate students at all levels (first year M.A. students to doctoral candidates), enrolled in universities across the country, volunteered their efforts and energy to expand the Caucus. For the first time, the co-chairs and board members met using Google Hangouts. More than twenty-five people participated in the meetings. Many of the ideas and changes that fill the rest of this post are the result of these meetings and the giving, thoughtful folks who make up our Board.