Tuesday, May 15, 2012

That was the semester that was

I don't know about you but I always wonder what other people do all day, how they spend their time. I won't inflict that on you, but this blog is sort of my diary and this has been an unusually eventful semester. So here's what happened.

The unusual busyness began when I found out I was going to be team-teaching a course on poverty on top of my usual teaching load. I have neither taught nor studied poverty before, nor team-taught anything, so this was an interesting experience and a lot of work. (In case you're curious I taught mostly material from Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities, some material from John Iceland's Poverty in America, and selections on distributive justice from Solomon and Murphy's What is Justice?. I also tried out a game based on Rawls called "Assume the Position." I will do things differently next time, but it went pretty well.)

Then there was the job search, which ended with our hiring Reshef Agam-Segal. I am amazed at our good fortune. I also found out that Reshef and I will be moving to the English Department, which is to have a new major into which Philosophy is to be integrated (in ways still to be determined). This is involving some interesting encounters with what I imagine someone has called "English Department Philosophy" and could lead to something good. Watch this space.

I also applied for a Chair at VMI (didn't get it), for the Stakes of Speech seminar (didn't get in, but was rejected so graciously that it almost felt good), and submitted a paper for the "In Wittgenstein's Footsteps" conference in Iceland (unsuccessfully, by the looks of things, although I have a suspicion my electronic submission never got through). Also, Man United were within minutes of winning the Premier League only to be pipped at the post by hated rivals Manchester City. Oh well. On the positive side, though, I think I'm going to get to revise my Wittgenstein dictionary, which I've wanted to do almost since it first came out. So that's good. I've also had a really good time with the blog. Thanks very much to everyone who has visited.

This summer I'm going to Italy and to Arkansas for a poverty-related meeting. Blogging will occasionally be light.


  1. Congrats to Reshef! Happy travels to you! (I'm from Arkansas, and will be visiting home in August--where are you headed in AR, if I may ask?)

  2. Thanks, Matt. I'll be in Little Rock, at the University of Arkansas and the Clinton Library, arriving probably late August 6th and leaving early August 9th. But I should be free in the evenings on the 7th and 8th if you're around and have nothing better to do. It would be good to meet you if you're in the area.

  3. Dear Duncan -

    As regards the conference "In Wittgenstein's Footsteps", it is becoming evident that, unfortunately, the plans have stranded. I had some correspondence with the organizer, I also submitted an abstract, was asked to revise it, but then heard nothing back. In fact, I've had no contact since June 2011.

  4. Thank you, Lars. That's exactly my experience too, with the possible exception of the precise date of my last contact with them. I hope everything's OK there, or that whatever problems they have are relatively minor.

  5. Lars and Duncan,

    My experience has been the same; I've heard nothing from the organizers since June 2011 when my abstract was accepted. I've tried contacting Mikael Karlsson a couple of times since, but I've heard nothing back. I hope all turns out OK for them. Really quite disappointing, I think it would have been a very interesting conference!

  6. I've tried contacting him far more than a couple of times! I regret that now. My excuse is that the first time I sent my abstract it somehow got lost, so I made a point of asking him to acknowledge receipt when I sent my paper in. I knew from my previous correspondence with him that he is very helpful and friendly, so when I heard nothing back I assumed that, like my abstract first time, it hadn't got through. So I sent it again. And again. And again...

    The conference would have been great, I think, and will be if it somehow still happens. I hope the problem is simply that the funding got pulled or something of that sort, and not anything more personal.