future scholars

Just heard from the last positions out of state, and it looks like we are staying in Delaware for the foreseeable future! Right now the plan is to finish up and defend my dissertation in the next few months and hold onto the graduation paperwork until a job comes through. I’m waiting to hear if I can teach at UD, but I’m also applying to some local/remote work positions.

For those not in academia, you should know that this is fairly normal. To get THE job before you actually finish, the first year you apply to things, is very very difficult. This is pretty par for the course, and I knew it going in. Oftentimes the search process can take 2-3 years before you find something. A permanent position can take even longer to find!

My first year on the job market went super well! Interviews at 6 different institutions, short-listed for a tenure track position and a post doc. I’ve gotten to meet so many wonderful scholars/future collaborators, and I’ve learned a lot about the kind of linguist I am and want to be! Now to finish up this full draft of the dissertation and get those publication numbers up for the next year of applications.

important Anne Boleyn reminders

  • Henry VIII would have ‘divorced’ Catherine of Aragon regardless of if he had met Anne Boleyn or not. In 1524 he and Catherine ceased to have sexual relations; in 1525 he began building his illegitimate son as a rival heir; in 1526 he began courting Anne Boleyn and in 1527 he and Anne agreed to marry.
  • Although Anne was a leader mostly in the Church/religion-sphere, which seems quite irrelevant in the modern world, her achievements are still strongly connected to modern society in that, through supporting the translation of the English Bible, free education and a reformed Church, she was essentially fighting for a very universal right which was more freedom of opinion for the English people. This was actually monumental considering the few Englishmen who could read did not understand Latin, and thus did not understand the Bible and were dependent wholly on what they were told about it, as they could not form their own opinions about something they could not understand. 
  • Important note that women weren’t supposed to have their own opinions in the 1500s, let alone voice these opinions to their king.
  • Rather than follow traditional, conservative English fashion, Anne Boleyn was a leader in spreading French trends and in that sense represented the hugely important 'wear what you feel comfortable in’ concept of feminism.
  • Elizabeth is known for her solid reign because of her wisdom in choosing advisers, all of whom were connected through their Cambridge origins, and so, essentially, their tie to Mathew Parker, who had a huge hand in raising Elizabeth. Parker was Anne Boleyn’s chaplain and it was her final request, days before her arrest and execution, that he raise Elizabeth in the new faith. This connection shaped Elizabeth’s entire upbringing and character, and thus, her reign, so that busts the myth that Anne Boleyn had no hand in her daughter’s greatness.
  • Anne offered patronage to many less fortunate future Protestant scholars to study on the continent, interceded to save the lives of several Protestants who had been charged with heresy, and by the end of her three year reign, had given about 14000 pounds toward charitable causes.
  • She was known to lend her books to her ladies-in-waiting.
  • She initially tried very hard to have a friendly relationship with her stepdaughter Mary, but when Mary refused to so much as acknowledge her position as Queen, the abuses she subsequently suffered were largely called on by her father, Henry VIII, although Anne is mostly held accountable as the stereotypical 'evil stepmother’.
  • Reminder that, at her trial, Anne Boleyn was not even at the listed places at the listed times in which the many bizarre adulterous encounters with not one but five men supposedly took place. The listed actions were highly contrary to Anne’s character given most sources. A keen politician from the start, she was highly aware of what was at stake if she were caught.
  • oh and reminder that who even gives a fuck if she did commit adultery, like Henry VIII was faithful to her so fuck your sexist double standards
  • reminder that the fact that she dared call her husband the king out for his infidelities indicates huge self-respect and bravery rare even in modern women let alone a 16th century woman with everything at stake
  • oh the awkward moment where most people in the 21st century still regard a mother who got her head cut off on fabricated charges a 'whore’ who 'got what she deserved’. who the fuck deserves to get their head cut off?? its not like she fucking killed someone
  • 'she got what she deserved for being overly-ambitious’ highly doubt this would be said about a man since even today men are encouraged to be ambitious and women are encouraged to get married. This is so commonly said and it is honestly so fucked up, like that woman going for the CEO position deserved to get shot?? A woman deserves to be executed because she’s ambitious?? fuck that shit, and reminder that Anne didn’t force Henry to do anything.
  • the even more awkward moment where people in the 21st century are still using the word whore
  • 478 years later I’m so done with your shit patriarchy
Eragon sentence starters
  • “Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.” 
  • “That’s why I’m teaching you and not the other way around.”
  • “People have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn’t.”
  • “Life is pain…anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something”
  • “My heart died a while back. “
  • “To have a child is the greatest honor and responsibility that can be bestowed upon any living being. “
  • It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.
  • “Respect the past; you never know how it may affect you.”
  • “The greatest enemy is one that has nothing to lose.”
  • “Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. “
  • “No hunter of the sky should end his days as prey. Better to die on the wing than pinned to the ground. “
  • “Do not dwell on what once was, but rather look forward and ponder how you can make the future brighter”
  • "Always the scholar, aren’t you?”
  • “I refuse to repent, and I won’t plague myself over what is done and past”
  • “Do you think I enjoy this? “
  • "Anyway, I’m not going to stay behind while some stripling gets to run around with a dragon.”
  • “Defend yourself!”
  • “May the coming years bring you great happiness.”
  • “ Why are you here? ”

flaviamarquesart  asked:

Hi! In a recent post you said that Daniel Handler had to change the entire plot of TPP because he realized that a sentence of TBB created a plothole. I never heard about this before and now I'm very curious about it (TPP is one of my favorite books from the series) do you happen to know more about this?

This is a reference to an interview Daniel Handler made with Salon in 2006. It’s gone from the Interwebs ever since, but thankfully 667 Dark Avenue transcribed it for posterity (Link):

Q: Did you start off with an outline? How did you file your notes?
A: Randomly, on scraps of paper. The nice thing about having a narrator with ambiguity and unreliability is that it’s not as crucial to be exact. But it’s not really that complicated either.
Q: Did you catch moments in the series where you actually did make mistakes?
A: Not really mistakes, but things that make something else more complicated. There was a sentence in “The Bad Beginning” that I really regretted for about a year. It made kind of a mess of things. I had to change a huge part of the plan all because of this one sentence – and not a sentence probably anyone would have noticed, but I would have known.
Q: And what sentence would that be?
A: I’ll say that, for a while, the Baudelaires were going to return to Count Olaf’s in the 12th book. They were going to find some stuff there. But there’s a sentence in “The Bad Beginning” when they’re locked inside a room and it says, “Klaus goes through all of Count Olaf’s papers.” [/li][li] It was a really stupid thing to say. They couldn’t go back and find something that would have been under their noses all the time. It just really annoyed me.
Q: And future scholars rejoice!
A:This transcribed interview will be a major addition to the literature
[Daniel Handler’s interview with Salon, Oct. 28, 2006 - (Source)]

667 Dark Avenue also managed to gather a few more details:

19. You’ve said you had to change your plan because of the line from The Bad Beginning, “Klaus read through Count Olaf’s papers and books.” What would have happened differently if you had never written this line, and what were the Baudelaires going to find? - Dante
Early research indicated that the Baudelaires had stopped at Count Olaf’s home on the way to the island, and discovered there, rather than beneath the roots of the apple tree, certain materials described in The End.   Further investigation, including the sentence you cited, made it clear that this was most certainly not what could have happened.

[Daniel Handler’s interview with 667 Dark Avenue, July 13 2007 - (Source)]


For the next month or so, instead of Mondays being Diagram Day, they will be Dissertation Day! As I prepare my dissertation “Issues in the Rebinding of Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts: Facing the Future, Conserving the Past, and Creating Useable Objects for Today” for presentation at the International Conference for Books, Publishing, and Libraries in October, I’ll be posting summaries and expositions of portions of it for your reading pleasure.

Solving the Mystery of MS 19

The downside of long-lived institutions such as the University of Edinburgh Library is that some details and information doesn’t get passed down through successive generations of librarians and keepers. Edinburgh MS 19 is a fairly recent example of this. MS 19 is a French Bible Historial, completed sometime between 1314 and 1315, and apparently rebound sometime in the past 25 years. Luckily, the person or firm doing the rebinding retained the late 18th or 19th century University binding, but unluckily, they left no sign of who they were or why the rebinding was carried out!

Read more after the jump…

Keep reading

When you asked me to find somebody for you
I gave you names of girls that I knew
Beautiful ones with olive skin and sly smiles
Dark eyes that matched their hair
And smelled of musk and whispered mysteries in
Your ears

Ones with bright blonde hair that made everyone’s head turn
Like the type of girls you see in the magazines
Red dresses and heels higher than their confidence
And laughter that exploded
And voices that sounded melodic and inviting

Ones that had bright futures and were scholars
That could calculate numbers that I don’t dare to touch
I introduced you girls that liked your favorite sports team
and had things in common with you
That I didn’t
And ones that could offer you things
That I couldn’t

When you asked me to find someone for you
I told you I have tried them all
Jokingly admitting you were too picky
You need to keep your options open
And asked what you looked for in a girl

And you said:
“Someone who dances around the kitchen
to her favorite songs
And highlights the pages of her favorite books
Who eats a bowl of cereal every night before she goes to sleep

Someone who laughs obnoxiously and loudly
Who gets excited about little things
And cares a little too much about what people think about her
Who underestimates herself at the wrong times and was blind enough to think
Someone else was better for me than her.”

(via ‘The Big Bang Theory’ just did what no TV show has ever done before)

And people say TV will rot your brain: Yesterday, CBS’The Big Bang Theory made waves—and history—when showrunner Chuck Lorre (Mom, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly) revealed that he plans on taking the award-winning program’s scientific slant from fiction to reality. Starting this week,Big Bang Theory and The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation have established The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment—valued at $4 million dollars.

The endowment will go directly to 20 low-income students entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at UCLA this year and then benefit five new students each academic year in perpetuity. The inaugural class will be announced this fall at the show’s set in Burbank, CA with cast and crew in attendance.

“We have all been given a gift with The Big Bang Theory, a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community – this is our opportunity to give back,” Lorre said in a statement. “In that spirit, our Big Bang family has made a meaningful contribution, and together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”

I just hope for equal gender and racial opportunity for these scholarships

My second reason for wanting to direct attention to Afrofuturism is political. From the ongoing war on terror to Hurricane Katrina, it seems that we are trapped in an historical moment when we can think about the future only in terms of disaster – and that disaster is almost always associated with the racial other. Of course, there are many artists, scholars, and activists who want to resist these terrifying new representations of the future. As a literary scholar myself, I believe that one important way to do this is to identify the narrative strategies that artists have used in the past to express dissent from those visions of tomorrow that are generated by a ruthless, economically self-interested futures industry. Hence my interest in Afrofuturism, which assures us that we can indeed just say no to those bad futures that justify social, political, and economic discrimination. In doing so this mode of aesthetic expression also enables us to say yes to the possibility of new and better future and thus to take back the global cultural imaginary today.
—  Lisa Yaszek, “Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future”

Part II: Haiti – From Boyer’s Fall to the U.S. Occupation, 1843-1915 (a very brief overview)

Introduction // Part I

Although the United States intervened in Haiti on July 28th, 1915 largely as a result of short-term and long-term objectives in the region, the country’s political instability since the fall of Jean-Pierre Boyer in 1843 surely presented the Americans with a pretext for landing their troops. Indeed, with a few notable exceptions, most Haitians heads of state came and went until 1915, with the period immediately preceding the occupation being the most volatile one. This post will (very briefly) survey some currents in pre-occupation Haiti in hopes of understanding the particular economic, social and political context in which the U.S. occupation unfolded.

Many factors help explain Haiti’s difficult position in the decades leading up to the U.S. occupation. Although this post is not set to cover all of them in great details, it does want to stress the importance of recognising that both a series of internal and external factors concurred into aggrieving the Haiti’s fragile standing as a sovereign nation. 

Since the onset of its independence, Haiti enjoyed a peculiar position in Latin America. It was the first modern country born out of a successful slave rebellion and second only to the United States in gaining its independence from a European power. Unlike what popular belief would seem to suggest today, Haiti was not among the Americas poorest states in the early and mid-nineteenth century. Indeed, historian and professor of economics Victor Bulmer-Thomas (2012) notes that the “Haitian economy entered a downward spiral in the 1890s from which it has never recovered.” Before that point, Haiti had been an important exporter of coffee, coming third after Brazil and part of the Dutch East Indies. Several elements may help explain why the Haitian economy suffered such an important blow in the 1880s and why, as stated by Bulmer-Thomas, it was difficult for it to recover. 

First, when Alexandre Pétion assumed power in 1806, he favoured an agrarian system which encouraged the parcelling out of land in much of Western Haiti. This process was largely accelerated by his successor, Jean-Pierre Boyer, who reunited the two Haiti’s in 1820 and who later annexed the Dominican Republic in 1822. Although this system guaranteed that Haitian peasants –  unlike most of their Latin American counterparts who were disenfranchised for the most part – could own parcels of land, it also meant that as time progressed, more individuals were competing for fertile land. 

Second, as coffee became an important stable for commerce, Haiti fell prey of the fluctuation of a competitive and uncertain global market. Competition from Brazil was particularly important. Unlike the small Caribbean island, Brazil enjoyed a slave labour (as slavery was not abolished until 1886). This made it difficult for a country such as Haiti to prosper as an effective player in this business. Moreover, Haitian politicians invested little in modernising agriculture, which meant that peasants, who were the backbone of the country’s economy, had to use some of the same archaic methods they had utilised under the French colonial system. Likewise, a global depression in the 1890s greatly contributed to the falling out of the Haitian economy mentioned by Bulmer-Thomas. 

A discussion on Haiti’s economy in the ninetieth century, however brief it might be, should still mention, if only in passing, the controversial question of the French indemnity. Although originally proposed by Haiti’s president Alexandre Pétion in hopes that France would recognise Haiti’s independence, the Ordonnance concluded between Charles X of France and Haiti’s Jean-Pierre Boyer in 1825 was very different from what Pétion seemed to have envisaged a decade earlier. With a sum negotiated at 1789 values (the most profitable year of French revenues in Saint-Domingue), the 150 million francs debt was difficult for the Haitian state to absurd. Though it was eventually renegotiated at 90 million francs in 1838, new clauses guaranteed that France would receive a preferential treatment in all commerce with Haiti. The indemnity, in essence, changed little in Haiti’s position vis-à-vis France and afforded subsequent Haitian governments very restricted financial manoeuvre. Haiti was independent in name but a neo-colonial structure was edified between the country and its former metropole which, for the most part, remained unchallenged until the U.S. occupation in 1915. 

As the century progressed, the indemnity had largely become a “fact of life.” Indeed, when speaking of contemporary evils in Haiti (aside from the color question which will be discussed later in this post) most Haitian intellectuals of the day would have spoken of the place of foreigners in the country. Although research in this domain is scarce and future scholars should apply themselves to the task of examining late nineteenth century Haiti, whatever scholarship that deals with this period tends to point out a European immigration to the country at the close of the century. Leaving aside conceptual debates about who they were and why they might have decided to travel to Haiti (as again, future scholarship should try to answer), one group at least, irrespective of their small number became very influential in Haiti. 

Since Dessalines 1805 document, most Haitian constitutions barred foreigners from owning land in Haiti. This position began more difficult to uphold by Haitian governments who were in need of financing and were willing to accept the money from non-Haitian through legal or illegal channels. Although in The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934, historian Hans Schmidt estimates that at their highest, there were never more than 100 families in Haiti, German became a particularly prominent group by the 1900s. These German immigrants assimilated into Haitian society, partly thanks to inter-marriage with local élite families. Unlike Americans who during the years of the U.S. Occupation insisted on segregating Haitian form American institutions, wealthy German merchants were able to find a niche in Haiti’s upper crust. In 1912, a first German school was opened in Port-au-Prince and by 1914, German interests controlled as much as 80% of Haiti’s commercial business. More daringly however, Germans had financially assisted Haitian General Pierre Nord Alexis in 1902 in toppling his opponent Tirésias Simon Sam. It was evident that as influential members of Port-au-Prince’s society, they could and would force their will. As it will be seen later in another instalment of this blog series, Washington took Germans actions in Haiti very seriously and perceived them to be a threat to the logic of the Monroe Doctrine. Fear of a German takeover of the Haitian state, especially in the first fifteen years of the twentieth century, when political instability was at its highest, was very real.

Haitian politicians and intellectuals were all very much aware of the various ills which plagued their country. What made it more difficult, especially for the Haitian state, to properly react to the various crises, it experienced since Boyer’s demise was the general political instability and the lack of unity in the country’s political class. In his influential monograph From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti (1979) David Nicholls paints nineteenth-century Haiti as a contested terrain between black and mulatto fractions for the control of the Haitian state. While his analysis tends to offer a conceptual framework much too rigid to understand the complexity of colorism in Haiti, Nicholls is right in assuming that the color question took an (almost) unprecedented importance in the mid and late nineteenth century Haiti. By the later decades of the century, and especially after the fall of the mulatto-élite-favouring Fabre Geffrard in 1867, Haitian politicians were generally divided between the National Party (mostly dominated by blacks) and the Liberal Party (mostly dominated by mulattoes). With a few notable expectations, the ideological impetus behind Haitian politics followed both political philosophy and considerations of colour. Haitian politicians found it difficult to agree among themselves even within their respective parties. In such context, cooperation for one compensable national project was almost impossible to find.

As Haiti entered into the twentieth century, it did so largely bankrupt, with its sovereignty threatened by foreign aliens and politically fragmented. Between 1908 to 1915, there were seven different admirations, most of which were disposed through violent revolutions. It is amid this complicated economic, social and political situation that in 1910, Washington supported the actions of the New York City Bank in trying to take control of the Haitian national bank. The contest for the control of Haiti’s Banque Nationale de la République d’Haïti (BNRH) is in fact the first real episode of the U.S. occupation of Haiti and will be the subject of part three of this series. 


Bulmer-Thomas, Victor. The Economic History of the Caribbean since the Napoleonic Wars. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Dorigny, Marcel. “Aux origines : l’indépendance d’Haïti et son occultation.” Cahiers libres, January 1, 2005, 45–55.

Nicholls, David. From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti. Revised edition. New Brunswick: Scholarly Book Services Inc, 2002.

Schmidt, Hans R. The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934. Reprint edition. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

Séphocle, Marilyn. “Germany’s Challenge to the Monroe Doctrine.” Pouvoirs Dans La Caraïbe. Revue Du CRPLC, no. 13 (January 1, 2002): 177–90.

'Twas the Night Before Finals

‘Twas the night before Finals when all through the town
Not a fuck could be given, not a fuck could be found.
The library was filled with students poorly dressed,
In hopes that soon they wouldn’t be stressed.

The exams were prepared all ready to go,
While teachers nocked grades preparing to throw.
And my friend on Netflix, and I in my bed
Had just resolved ourselves to wing them instead.

When deep within campus there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my room to see what was the matter.
Away down the hall I rushed like a manic,
Waking all as I went and causing a panic.

The moon did beam, lighting everything around
And I lead chase following the strange sound.
When, what to our wondering eyes did we see,
All the professors in red and decorating a tree.

They sang Jingle Bells a bit off key and flat
While one topped the pine with an old Santa hat.
More joyful than elves while they danced and they sprang,
And they whistled, and shouted with glee as they sang!

“Now Bible! now, Physics! now, Song and Psychology!
On, Art! On, Nursing! on Theater and Biology!
To the top of the class to graduate school,
Or work minimum wage and pretend to be cool!”

As kittens so curious are unable to contain,
So too were we, watching the decorations they lain.
So up to the tree we let ourselves wander,
With the professors so merry, we were left to ponder.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the night
The groaning of Graduate students just out of sight.
As I rubbed my eyes and I drew in a breath
Out of the shadows they crawled, looking of death.

They were dressed all in black, from their heads to their feet,
And their clothes were all torn as if mourning this treat.
A bundle of books they had flung on their backs,
Future scholars reflecting their educational tracks.

But their eyes-how they twinkled, lit with a fire
Passion in them kindled even as they tire!
To them the scene was expected, not even a surprise
Their backs straightening, and their hope on the rise.

Then they gathered around and took us by hand
And we circled the tree like a livestrong band.
With decorating complete, teachers joined in too
Saying, “its near over for them but not for you.”

And then they exclaimed, “Just survive through the twelfth,”
And I laughed when I heard it, in spite of myself!
A wink of their eye and nothing more said,
And I still didn’t know how much I should dread.

We spoke not a word, instead broke out in song
And filled the quiet air for the whole night long.
So goes the tradition the night before tests
The whole school does gather to break from our quests.

Then back to our beds we surely would run
To catch precious sleep before the coming sun.
But before we departed, I studied my class
All us thinking the same thing, “Please, God, let us pass!”