Busy, busy, busy…so very busy. Most academics’ schedules slow down by mid-May. They are busy with grading and graduations, but unless they teach summer classes, their schedules shift. They are still working, but more often not in the classroom, dealing with students. For me, not so much. About April, my schedule starts to pick up and I begin traveling to conferences. I have been to three since mid-April and I have two more before August is out. This all has to do with the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program I manage. My work with our program’s PR also picks up as I revise brochures and plan our annual publication. This is complicated by my complete lack of formal education in PR. I have learned (some) as I go, but I admire people who do this for real. I am grateful we have a graphic designer to make my crude understanding of PR actually look professional.
Anyhow, I am off to my favorite conference – the Conference on the History of Women Religious tomorrow where I will chair a panel. This is my favorite conference because it is specific to what I do as a historian. It is also a wonderful group of people who care about scholarship and supporting each other’s work. We meet only every three years. While I am getting a bit of travel fatigue, I am glad to be going to this conference as it will also be the kick off to a much needed vacation.
At the last meeting of this conference, I gave a paper that helped develop one of my chapters for my forthcoming book, Women of Faith: The Chicago Sisters of Mercy and the Evolution of a Religious Community. Papers are an excellent way to try out new ideas, and help move along writing. They should be about 12 to 15 pages to keep to the 20 minute time frame. Because of the limit on the pages, one can really focus on the kernel of an argument and explore how it will develop into a larger chapter. This time, I don’t have a project. First time since 1991 I do not have an active research project.
That’s a little disconcerting. But, only a little.
I am pleased to say that I have two books coming out. One is the Chicago Sisters of Mercy history and will come out in February of 2014 and the other is an edited book entitled Empowering the People of God: Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II. For this second book, I contributed an essay and I helped with editing. (I confess, I feel like I should have done more to help. Is that guilt or was I a slacker? Who knows.)
Either way I am off in the morning to the best.conference.ever. Cannot wait to see old and new friends and make a few more in the process. Can’t wait to hear what is new and listen to some good papers.