Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Who am I?

That's what I'll answer briefly here for everybody, and it's what I'm hoping to figure out as we work our way through the Hall book. My own academic self-identity is not obvious to me (I think Another Damned Medievalist noted this as well), and I am at a period in my life in which I am really thinking about how I want to live my life for the next 30 years or so. I am up for tenure this year and am making my last stand this summer to get pregnant at age 40-something, so the idea of self-consciously figuring out what kind of life I want to have in academia is appealing to me.

I teach in a small social sciences department at a private Research-1 U., 2-2 teaching load. I found the atmosphere here pretty much the same as my R-1 graduate school, but not in a good way: The lack of intellectual intercourse or even general camaraderie is the same as it was in grad school, but I had hoped for more. It's not that I feel competition with other junior faculty, I just don't see much of them. And while I have a good mentor in my dept., our subfields are different enough that I can't toss ideas around with him the way I wish I could.

But I know that I'm lucky to have this job, and I don't really want to go anywhere else. They let me do my own thing; that's the good part. (Whether what I've done so far will be enough for tenure -- we shall see.) What I hope to get out of this book group is a renewed confidence that academic life is what I want and a better sense of what my place within academic should be, given my own strengths and weaknesses and my desire for a balanced life, with or without a baby in the picture.

I look forward to it!