I don’t want to belabor this, but it’s been quiet around here for awhile and I thought I’d mention a couple of personal notes about why. On the personal front, a good friend of mine died over the holiday from cancer. He was far too young to die and I will miss him. His death has sort of taken the wind out of my sails.

And, ironically, the vicissitudes of academic life sometimes hinder the work of actually thinking and writing. A while back, Dave over at Radio Free Newport, mentioned his disappointment at not getting a fellowship and also wrote about how difficult it is to get back to being productive after such news. I got similarly disappointing news about a (permanent) academic job recently, and frankly, it’s just been hard to think or write following that. (Someday, I will write a piece about what it’s like to “do race” on the academic job market, but that’s writing better left for another, post-tenure, day.)

I do wonder how the uber-productive among us handle these routine disappointments of academic life and keep producing, keep writing, keep pressing onward?

Still, there’s a bright spot on the academic front. At about the same time as the bad-job-news, I had a paper accepted (with very little revision) in a well-regarded journal. And, I’m looking forward to a short-short Winter Session course on digital video that I’ll be talking about more over here. We’ll do a section on “Race, Visual Technologies, and Civil Rights,” that I’m really looking forward to.

With that, I suppose I’ve answered my question: this is how one goes onward, find the stuff that’s interesting and keep working on it, despite the ups-and-downs of external validation.


  1. Seattle in Texas

    Losses are so hard and the healing takes much so time….. In terms of the news—I would suspect it is only their loss and a blessing in disguise that will, in time, reveal much better things in store, that weren’t ever thought of, or even imagined, before. Their loss, not yours.

  2. Sorry to hear about the bad news on both fronts, Jessie. Yes, it seems that you’ve answered your own question — the best way to deal with the academic letdowns is to just keep plodding forward. I’ve studied Buddhism informally over the past several years, and the biggest impact it has had on me is to not sweat the things I can’t control. That’s certainly helpful when you’re constantly dealing with reviewers, editors, bothersome colleagues, etc.

    Meanwhile, I’ll look forward to your thoughts on doing race on the academic job market…

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