I think that one advantage to having a single research area, which I don’t, is that you have a certain number of meetings to go to and you are done.
That’s not how I am doing this conference. Â I’m not sure I’ve gone to two sessions from the same area yet, though I may have gone to two Vampire sections. Â Maybe.
Having multiple research areas causes more than just a multiple personality experience at conferences. Â It means that I don’t have a specialty. Â I don’t know where all the conferences are for a topic. Â I don’t know what all the journals are in an area. Â And, when most people have a down time, because their big conference just finished, I haven’t gotten one of those this semester and won’t, either. Â It keeps me from being bored, but it may poise me to be a generalist a little too much.
I went to Mindmeister and created a research areas web to show what I do. Â Everything I do fits neatly into six or ten research areas.
The short version:
- popular culture
- women’s studies- trauma and gender
- teaching writing- technology, business writing, composition
- creative writing
- literature- literature and speculative fiction
The ones after the dash are what those are divided into when they are not six but are ten.
Right now I have just finished a paper on popular culture/rhetoric/politics. Â I have a creative writing piece due this next week and a piece on women’s reproductive lives. Â In three weeks, I have a popular culture Civil War book chapter due. Â Six weeks from now I have a paper on Gilman for ALA to give… Â It continues like that.
But hopefully after this year I will also have a few publications. Â I don’t have many of those right now. Â Unfortunately they won’t be all in the same area, which may make my work a hard sell. Â How can I argue I’m a technical writing teacher if I only have three conferences on that? Â If you look at my research, it certainly appears that I’m a literature and religion teacher, with popular culture becoming a strong third.
I’m going to have to think about that. Â For a community college teacher, the generalist aura doesn’t matter. Â And even at a SLAC it probably won’t hurt. Â But I probably won’t get into a university with that, even for composition.
Thought: Are there any pop culture jobs in my area open? Â What degree is required for that? Â (Because I know I don’t have it. Â And SACS is so picky.)
One thought on “Going to the conference”
Ugh, SACS. The bane of my academic existence.
“Or related” is often the key term. 🙂
I think it is both admirable and completely sane to have as many interests (and publications) as you do/are aiming to have. I think one of the biggest challenges is that we often end up teaching outside of our academic training, but also having our interests travel outside of our academic training and teaching. Like my increasing interest in the digital humanities.
I called myself an academic flake. I meant it in a good way, but it can seem that way to hiring committees. I think it makes us better academics, but especially better teachers. How are we expected to relate to the variety of interests and challenges our students present to us if we ourselves have little variety or rarely challenge ourselves?