Namely, one in which you’re taking two classes with one of the most exacting professors in your department, and another one with a professor studying both the subject and region in which you’re interested?  While also starting a new research-heavy job at the library?  While also working as an ESL tutor?  A writing intensive blog.  So yeah — you may have noticed that my investment in this dropped from “yeah yeah yeah!” to “no really, I’m going to post regularly” to “blog?  What blog?”  For the three of you who read this with any regularity, I’m sorry but something ended up having to give.

So why have I come skulking back?  Because it’s summer, and I’m determined to make it a productive one.  I also have absolutely no excuse to not be productive because a (slightly) more leisurely summer is one of the few tangible side benefits of academia.  This blog, which I do feel has potential, might come in handy.  Curious?  Then read on.

So for those of you who might not have heard by now my grant to study Wolof in Dakar over the summer did not come through.  I’m not exactly dancing a jig over the news but fortunately I’ve been keeping more than a few pieces on the board just in case.  Thanks to a smaller grant which I did win I’ll be spending the summer researching New England’s role in the Triangle Trade.  Molasses, rum and other commodities did make my home region (including the very local Charles River) a significant leg.  At this stage I’ve scouted out local libraries and historical societies to lay the groundwork for my research, and gotten the names of some local authors who have researched the history of slavery around Boston as well as local slaveowning families.  By the same token I’ve also looked into the local abolitionist movement, my first step being the local Quaker fellowship because really.  When researching abolitionism in New England, who else you gonna start with?

Meanwhile my job at the library will be providing some very interesting opportunities to apply the theoretical frameworks I have been learning about in the classroom.  This summer’s project?  An ethnography of faculty research needs and habits.  On the surface?  An effort to strengthen the liaison program between the library and academic departments.  On a deeper level?  An examination of how higher education trains one to “think” in a certain way using certain concepts.  What implications might this have for the subject of meta-cognition and the field of educational anthropology as a whole?

Two very different projects with two very different foci.  One of them keeps me fed for now, the other one will hopefully keep me fed someday.  Either way it will be a very busy summer.  I will hopefully keep you posted and it will hopefully be interesting.

In our next installment: Armed with his brand-new local library card, Dr. Tomato hopefully drags himself out of bed at a reasonable hour and gets his ass to the library before work!  Will he find the right book?  Will he get a papercut doing so?  Considering he works in one, will our good doctor overdose on libraries?

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