Well, I survived October. It felt like the perfect storm after the calm of a year of research leave. I did what I thought I could to get in the best possible shape for it – a first draft of the Shakespeare manuscript was completed and printed before term started, home and work office were tidy and organised, all review commitments fulfilled and so on. But it still hit hard and I barely remained afloat. Most of my teaching is in the first half of term 1, so it’s a busy time, but add in welcome events, meeting lots of new tutees, an open day (on a Saturday), PhD supervisions, admin meetings etc. and it’s a very busy time. It wasn’t helped by external commitments – advisory council of the Durham Institute of Advanced Study, British Academy meetings, external member of an appointment committee at another university, multiple review requests and so on. And I didn’t help myself by going to a conference in California at this time of year – I flew on a Wednesday, got back on a Monday, and was teaching 10am-8pm on the Tuesdays before and after. But it was a crucial conference to be at, and it was worth the trip. I also spoke at an event organised by the London Centre of International Law Practice. I managed to squeeze in a few hours on a few days at the British Library, and just about managed to keep getting out on the bike – many of the month’s miles were commuting to work, but I did just scrape over my 500 mile a month aim.
Part of the reason things feel so busy is that I’m trying to run research projects on three or four different themes. There is the Shakespeare project, and while I’ve barely touched the manuscript in the last month, I spoke about this in California and have done a little reading on it. There have been two interviews on the Foucault work this month, one by phone and one by email. I’m also beginning to think about how I will structure work on the earlier period of Foucault’s career. I’m developing a project around terrain in relation to my territory work, and I returned to that earlier work for the LCILP talk. Ideally I aim to put in a grant application on this in the near future, but this requires the time to do it properly. I’m also moving forward with the Lefebvre rural project with Adam David Morton. There are quite a lot of talks coming up in 2017, and just the logistical organisation for these can be draining – what dates are possible, how can I get from one US city to the next and then onto Boston for the AAG, what topic do I want to speak on, and does this fit with the organiser’s wishes, etc.
November should be much better. The teaching is much less, and we have the oasis of a reading week. I’m only giving one external talk, on ‘Foucault and Shakespeare’ in Cambridge, and that’s a paper which is written and is almost ready to submit. I am internal examining a PhD thesis, so need to block out a couple of days to read that. I’m not getting on a plane in the entire month, so that’s also a welcome break, though there are a lot of train journeys back and forth to London.