Beginning Again

It’s the first real work day of a new period of research leave.  I’m not wholly free from university and college commitments, but mostly so, from now through next February and then I am only teaching a graduate seminar “History from/in the Arts”An investigation into how and why we today use literary and visual media when reconstructing the past and how this intersects with context and function of ancient artistic and literary production.  I design it to let me bring in as much of my work on coins and historiography as possible and to allow as many different types of student projects as possible.

[Why you ask to I get this time you ask… Well I worked over contract for two years, never took my whole maternity leave, and never took the research leave given for having served as chair.]

I’ve cleared up over do emails and have set up a lovely office in one wing of a friend’s home so I can go out to work rather than work from our cottage.  I’ve fixed childcare schedule to give my self six uninterrupted hours five days a week for our whole time in England.  And frankly I just don’t want to work harder than that this summer.  (See my last post.)

What then are the goals for this period of work?

  1. Keep on top of  conference preparations for next May!  (And delegate what can be delegated!)
  2. Triage my unpublished writings.  One of the greatest gifts of my sabbatical and this blog is a sense now that I can write freely and easily as I need to.  If I have one great overarching goal for this period of time, it is to feel just as confident taking a preliminary piece of writing, often something constructed for a conference or invited lecture, and deciding how I want to publish it and pushing it through the publication process.  I’m so over the edited volume thing.  (Unless I’m the editor. 😉 )  I’m good a writing.  Not so good at editing and publishing.  This can be fixed.
  3. The goal is to get as much out the door and in press this year as possible.  It feels like I need to clear the decks in another way.  To let go all my darling little projects that I’ve hoarded up.  I never want one of my former students to (have to) footnote an unpublished paper when building on my ideas ever again. To this end, I will be resisting the appeal of the new and try to discipline myself to stay with in the limit of sufficiency.   This will mean thinking about the intersection of thoroughness and sufficiency within my discipline(s).  I had some terrible role models that insisted on a level of completeness and exploration of alternative possibilities that can stymie all progress.  The goal is to use this blog not so much to develop new ideas, but use it as a resource to inform the revision of existing works.
  4. This brings us to a confession of the unpublished, drafted docket:
    • a book on roman republican coins (70,000 w0rds), perhaps a new proposal to better reflect how the project has evolved.
    • A note on quantification using literary testimony and a die study of RRC 330.
    • A note on the interpretation Lepidus’ coin series (RRC 419) in light of Hersh and Walker’s redating (might be good to have this come out before the Kings at Rome piece mentioned below as then I can footnote myself.)
    • “Minucii, Modii and Priestly Implements:  A Case Study in Mid-Republican Political Iconography” another short coin piece.  (Actually have some grant funding for following up on this one this year…)
    • “The Tree and Sunset Motif: The Long Shadow of Roman Imperialism on Representations of Africa” 99.5% ready for submission to a journal, even formatted to house style. (7,817 words)
    • “Civil War as Foreign Conflict” (3,782 words)  Not a piece I want to publish in anything like how it stands, but in my research for it I spent huge amount of time documenting and taking notes on the historiographical tradition of the Colline gate and its aftermath.   I’d like to come back to that and morph the paper into something I would like to publish.
    • “Rome’s Past in the Present Tense The very contemporary, ancient history of Dionysius of Halicarnassus” (11,837 words)  in good shape!  I really like this piece and would like to get it out the door while it still feels fresh.  It uses maps and coins as a nice contextualization of the historiography.  I think it may go over 15,000 when polished for publication.  My hesitation to put this high on the goal list is I feel that I’d need to grapple with Dionysius corpus of rhetorical writings which sounds the opposite of fun.
    • A number of scripts and drafts and thematically related pieces on  the rhetoric of concordia, Memories of Opimius and Marius in 60s onwards.  More than 10,000 words but of greatly varying quality.  Like the Historiography of the Colline Gate piece, it would probably need a new frame work.
    • A long piece on Faustus’ use of Sulla’s memory  (~6,000 words) that is lost on an old hard drive.  I think my thinking has moved on and I should probably only re read it to remind myself what I used to think.  Some of the good stuff in this may have already been wrapped into the Kingship in the Late Republic piece below.
    • A Prolegomenon to the Study of Glass Pastes in the Roman Republic” (~4,300)  Probably one of the direction my research wants to head towards in future.  Fun but I’ve not yet convinced myself I’m right in all I claim.
    • “Conceptions of Kingship in the Late Republic”  (8,100 words)  – I really love this piece.  It feels like how I want to write.  I suspect it will need to grow by 2-4,000 words for final publication but it feels like I have something meaningful and creative to say.  Bonus I’m talking about one aspect of this topic at CAMWS in October.
    • And then there are some of the blog posts here that have ideas that should be properly written up for publication.

So just 10+ projects, not counting the conference I’m organizing.  Hmm.  Clearing the deck indeed.

What order to tackle all this?  I’d best do some consultation….

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