Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Resolve and Resignation

Mikhail Emelianov from Perverse Egalitarianism has a new post up on New (Academic) Year Resolutions – a post which he has spun mimetically, asking for responses from a few of us who are known to lurk around those parts… Mikhail resolves to (or wishes for the ability to?) include more complex material in his courses, spend more time on research, and wear a bow tie: what more could any academic want?

Since I live in an inverted country, Mikhail’s tap actually hits me in the middle of my academic year, rather than at the start – making me uncertain whether this gives me an advantage, in that, whatever resolutions I make, I only have to keep for something like another seven weeks… Or whether, weighed down as I am from the detritus of this year and this term, it simply makes it more difficult for me to find any resolve whatsoever… I find myself wondering whether I should perhaps make resolutions about what I would like to have achieved… before the next academic year begins?

First… there is a veritable mountain (well… perhaps more an imposing molehill… but still…) of pieces I need to finalise, in order to send them off for review, where kind reviewers will no doubt shoot them back to me with quite a lot more work still pending than I would hope. I consider this a short-term resolution: something I have resolved to do during this term – during, in fact, the next few weeks… Resolution: that I will actually keep my own deadline.

Second… the current draft of the thesis needs to be completed. Notice the lack of agency in that sentence. The thesis is the actor… It needs to be completed. My resolution, evidently, is agnostic about who, specifically, needs to do the completing… Nevertheless. Completion needs to happen. Actually, technically, it doesn’t – not quite yet – I have more time. But I don’t want more time. So my resolution, I suppose, is to stick to my own deadline, rather than waiting for impending administrative doom to compel completion. So: resolution: thesis, by the end of the Australian summer.

Third… to choose something genuinely removed from my control: I would like to know, before the beginning of the next academic year, that I have a “next academic year”… My current contract ends with the proper calendar year, and so I must soon begin sorting through that overwhelming deluge of desperate job offers that immediately confronts all academics from the humanities and social sciences, as soon as they enter the job market… Right. Resolution: that someone else will resolve that I shouldn’t be summarily expelled from academic space.

So… two resolutions about keeping my own deadlines, and one… wild gesture of random hope…

Not sure whether Mikhail intends this to be passed along further… I’ll open it to the gallery – feel free to add your own resolutions here and elsewhere, if the mood strikes…

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2 responses to “Resolve and Resignation

  1. Mikhail Emelianov August 15, 2008 at 7:28 am

    sorry, in my northern-hemisphere-centric world i totally forgot that you’re probably already teaching this year in the “upside-down” land…

  2. N Pepperell August 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Nothing at all to worry about – as I said, you have perhaps saved me that most difficult aspect of resolutions, which is actually maintaining them until the end of the year… We’re not quite midway through our second term at the moment… heading toward the term break. I think that gives me something like seven weeks to stick to my guns… ;-)

    Take care…

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