Friday, May 25, 2007

Meanwhile, back in Kennesaw....

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been a month since my last posting. . . .

No, wait, I'm not Catholic.

It's been a quiet month in Lake Wobegon. . . .

No, that's not right either.

A couple of things came up that kept me away from the blog for a while, and I just never got back to it. No excuses, no further explanation, I just took a long unannounced break.

Early this morning, I saw that One Blog a Day recently featured Ed Darrell's Millard Fillmore's Bathtub. I thought "Go, Ed!" He deserves the attention. And then, just a few hours after I read that, Ed added a comment to my last posting here: "'No students' means 'no posting?' Hurry back, please."

OK, I guess Ed's comment was all I needed. Here I am.

It's been a good month. Our Civil War Symposium went well. Good speakers, and a good crowd. I was happy to finally meet LeeAnn Whites, who has written on Rebecca Felton, a champion of women's rights and the first woman in the U.S. Senate (and, like me, a resident of Cartersville, Georgia--well, she resides in the city cemetery). LeeAnn didn't know that the old Felton home, built in the 1850s, burned down a few years ago. I go to the home site every once in a while as I drive around town, and I always pick up a few of the old nails (the ruins have not been cleared). I gave one of the nails to LeeAnn, and she was happier than I would have imagined to have it. She's a very pleasant person, as were all the speakers.

Spring classes ended. One, the senior seminar, I'm especially going to miss. I had a really great bunch of students, the sort of combination that you might expect maybe once in a half-dozen years.

Summer classes begin next week. I'm teaching three. Three classes is a full-time load during the regular year, so this is a killer schedule for the summer (8 weeks rather than 15). One of the classes is the second half of the US survey, and I'm going to use The Historian's Wizard of Oz, edited by Ranjit Dighe. (This edition contains the entire text of L. Frank Baum's book, plus Dighe's extensive annotations on how the story reflects late-nineteenth century politics, economics, and culture.) I've thought about using it before and always chickened out. We'll see how it goes. I'm also doing a section each of Georgia history and the methodology course. I get tired just thinking about this!

While I was away, Elle abd became Elle PhD! For non-academic readers, "ABD" is an informal designation for PhD students who have completed the coursework for the degree but not the dissertation--"all but dissertation." Sadly, ABD ends up being a terminal degree for some, but Elle made it!

All right, those syllabusses for next week aren't going to write themselves. See y'all next month. (Just kidding.)