Decades Come and Go

People on Twitter and Facebook and other social media have been making lists of accomplishments, posting pictures, and generally thinking about the differences in their lives between 2009/10 and 2019/20. I actually started this blog a decade ago, but didn't really use it until 2017 (though I did post a few things in 2009 and 2012). It's been a pretty remarkable decade, though. Not just for me personally, but for the discipline of classics. We have seen some major shifts in scholarship, teaching, who is recognized as a classicist, and in who speaks out for classics--a new culture war is kind of upon us. We have seen the birth of Eidolon, of Classics and Social Justice, of MRECC,  of Mountaintop, of the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, of Sportula, of Paideia (and maybe its fall?), of Lupercal, of PHAROS, of classics making the Chronicle and inside Higher Ed for controversies more than I remember before 2010. Let's also not forget all the racism. We also saw the fall of Famae Volent into the abyss of crazy racism, misogyny and gods know what else (attempts to revive led to Novae Famae--defunct due to cess pit--and Novae Novae--don't know where it is at now).

BUT we haven't seen much change in who holds permanent positions, who gets tenured, and who gets promoted to full (men v women, white v non-white candidates). The stats on that are pretty much the same as they were in the previous decade (the data in the 2018/2019 survey in Adler/Jones TAPA article is close to what came from the 2013-2014 SCS survey which is not that much different from the SCS 2003-2004 survey). The field is still almost entirely white, majority male, majority male tenured/t-t, and super-majority male at full professor.

Also, the number of TT positions advertised in a given year has held steady at close to 40%, but that is a drop of 20% from the previous decade. This decade started with the Great Recession and programs have not recovered. That means that we have more people this decade in temporary positions than in permanent ones, fewer people on the tenure-track than trying to teach and research off it. It is something to remember when we think of what we have accomplished professionally--those of us who have TT and tenured positions are in the minority and we may have access to resources our colleagues do not.

BUT we should also remember that not all TT and T jobs look alike--some come with 4/4 teaching loads and no research support and pay under $50k a year (some have been posted for as little as $35k), while some temporary positions have half that load, pay more (sometimes by 20-30k) and can come with travel and research support. Not all people in tenured position teach a 2-2 (or less), get sabbaticals, and make remotely close to 6 figures.

With all this in mind, here is my last decade--a blend of the personal and he professional, since they aren't separate things, really.

2009-2010: After 6 years as contingent (got my PhD in 2003), I finally got a TT job and started Aug 2009. I also published my first monograph (expansion/revision of my diss), Athena's Justice, in October 2009. The start of my new job was also a start of a new life. After 7 years of marriage, I started the 2009-2010 academic year as a single parent (to a 4 year old) and separated. New town (moved there from New York state), new job, new start. Thanks to the joys of academia, my first monograph (and my first article from 2006) weren't going to count toward my tenure requirements. YAY! Teaching load was a 3-2, pay was reasonable ($54k with a $5k research fund for the first 3 years). I wrote a review of the 2nd edition of Sowerby's The Greeks that got some people laughing, this line in particular: "It is true that there is some pedagogical value in forcing students to check the sources in their textbook for accuracy, but it is perhaps not the best use of students' time in an introductory course." I am happy to report the 3rd edition is better.

Started dating Max! He was at Wayne State, which was not too far for regular visits.

2010-2011: Got into university housing! Which meant child and I could live in a small house instead of on top of each other in an apartment; she turned 5. Max started working at Vandy, a little too far for regular visits. I also gave a couple of papers and wrote a couple more reviews. I also started the Race and Ethnicity sourcebook and a few articles. But, as you can see, teaching 5 classes a year, being a single parent, and managing a long distance relationship didn't leave a lot of time for churning out the pubs. But, I was playing the long game.

2011-2012: KINDERGARTEN! And another year of long distance relationshipping.

Gave a few more papers, got an article rejection (still haven't published it; happened with another one in the following year, too), got the contract for the sourcebook, realized that another article I was writing really wanted to be a book instead, so I wrote up a proposal and asked some colleagues for recs on presses. Submitted the proposal. In the summer after, I had to prepare my 3rd year review file. If I was successful, I would have a semester sabbatical and another contract to take me through to tenure review.

This summer, I took my first ever trip to GREECE. Did research on what would become the Immigrant Women book. Spent my first time at ouzo hour at the ASCSA.

2012-2013: So, funny things happen in academia. I submitted my 3rd year review file and was, as far as I knew, never going to hear back from the press. So, I queried and it turns out they had emailed me a contract offer, but I NEVER GOT THE EMAIL. Also, the contract was pathetic--no royalties on the first 500 copies and then only 2.5% after that. I told them that I wanted 5% on the first 500 and 10% after that, which is what we were getting for the sourcebook (maybe-?-I think we got 7.5% on the first 500). Needless to say, I got the offer presses love to give to first time authors who need a monograph for tenure so will take anything, but they gave me what I asked for. I should have asked for more.

Regardless, I got reappointed. The child started playing sports. That was the beginning of the end of my free time.

2013-2014: RACE AND ETHNICITY IN THE CLASSICAL WORLD finally published! This book, while counting for very little in terms of tenure and promotion (because TRANSLATIONS) has been one of my pride and joys. Working with Sydnor Roy and Max on this was a labor of love (Sydnor, of course, got out of doing the set of proofs by going into labor! She had her priorities in proper order.). This book has fundamentally transformed the way I teach, my research, the way I view the discipline. It was simply transformative for me.  I also designed the cover. Cannot wait for time to do a second edition (with LOTS of inscriptions).

This was also the year basically all the things I had in the queue the first few years on the job started making their way to print. Published an article on Aeschylus' Persians, the Immigrant Women book went to press, I published a few more reviews, gave some more papers. I would have publications in print every year from this point on.

My divorce was finalized this year.

2014-2015: IMMIGRANT WOMEN IN ATHENS came out. It was a career changing book for me. First, it got me tenure, second, it is actually pretty good! It got me recognized despite not having a prestige PhD and working at a small school. Since its publication, I've been invited to lots of other things--publish, present, etc. It only happened more than a decade after getting my PhD. It's been a bit of a roller coaster since then.

This is also the year I bought a house. I bought it in the summer of 2014 after asking my Provost "Are you sure I should by the house right before I go up for tenure?" She told me to buy the house. I was very lucky in that the university cosigned my loan, which meant I did not have to have 20% to put down and I got a really good interest rate. My mom also gave me money from her retirement account for the down payment. Otherwise, I would not have managed it. I still, you know, owe money on student loans from grad school. Saving is hard.

In Feb 2015, after being notified of tenure, I was also asked to temporarily become a Museum Director (reader, I am still the director...). I think Max and I got married this Jan (2015)? Maybe it was Jan 2016? I can't remember.

2015-2016: Want me to direct your museum, university? Well, then, you have to help me out. Negotiated a SPOUSAL POSITION! YAY! And I started as a member of the WCC elected board. I had a sabbatical from teaching in the fall, but not from the museum. Also, I built my dining room table (oak, seats 8).

Also published an article and got the Handbook of Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval Worlds out (2015 or 2016--I think it is technically December 2015). This one was edited with the incomparable Molly Jones-Lewis, a lecturer (now senior?) ar UMBC. She is amazing. Met her when I was finishing my PhD and she was starting hers. So much style (best knitter I know), so much depth of knowledge, so attentive to detail and just the best. This book was a labor of love and represents aspects of the ancient world I am still trying to learn more about. It may be my favorite thing I've done. Also, the cover is awesome. Molly picked the image.

I also was asked in this year to edit the Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus.

2016-2017: This is the year I went under contract for the sourcebook on women in Greco-Roman antiquity. Doing it with Max. Molly is doing the medical texts. We aren't done yet. Sorry.

May 2017, I published my first article for Eidolon. And revived my blog shortly thereafter. Took students to Italy for a summer course for the first time. So much awesome. And then a trip around Sicily by car.

Much of my personal life and professional life started to become a blur at this point. The museum sort of took up most free time and the child was playing multiple sports. She also started fencing summer 2017, which is a year round thing. So many sports. Luckily, my mom decided to retire from her job and moved to be near us and help out. Between her and Max now being with us, we had a good life.

2017-2018: More blur. More work. WCC co-chair. October saw the second Eidolon article and at the SCS, we organized the harassment panel and workshop (here's my opening talk and a great write up from Eidolon of the panel and here are the Workshop notes). Got asked to write a monograph on race and ethnicity in antiquity and its modern complications. I hope it will be done by summer 2020.

SUMMER 2018 = ASCSA SUMMER SESSION! After 2 weeks with the Denison students in Italy, I headed to Athens. I had to wait 13 years to go since the first time I applied was the year I managed to get pregnant. Now, with the child 13, I was able to leave her with her father and my mother for the 8 weeks I was gone. Best summer in a long time. Met Arkadia for the first time. Stunning.

2018-2019: The formative experience of this year was my concussion in October. I had to pull out of 2 publications, sleep a lot, figure out how to rebuild all my ADHD coping mechanisms. It was hard. I'm still not sure I'm fully recovered. But, I also joined Twitter (brain damage, right?) and I did manage to get the Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus out. Three people died and four others either pulled out or ghosted me (you know who you are) in the process of its production. But it got done and I like it. The cover image is a Rockwell Kent from the Denison Museum collection. Running the museum had become a huge weight around my neck. That did not stop me from gutting and renovating my kitchen.

This was the year the SCS went crazy. It started off GREAT! We had the WCC party, with free drinks for many! Sportula got a prize, Pharos got a prize. Cool papers and articles got prizes! Then the fun started. Racial profiling of the Sportula leadership, racist 'western civ' rant at the Futures of Classics panel (which had zero representation from K-12 or liberal arts schools, so interesting future anyway), Mary Beard's tone def speech, and the Twitter aftermath.  I wrote a little about it on the blog here and the Sarah Bond did a full round up of responses, including Dan-el Padilla Peralta's important commentary on what was said to him by the western civ lady.

Spring of 2019 was also the semester time forgot--I gave a dozen visiting lectures in 3 countries, 8 states. Needless to say, I need to slow it down. I also in the 2018-2019 year I did a number of podcast interviews and for media pubs. I took students to Greece! And followed it with another 6 weeks divided between research in Athens, vacationing on Crete (I have a friend from grad school I can stay with), and writing a conference paper in an apartment in Thessaloniki. It was a good summer, but the 3rd in a row my garden did not get planted. Nor did my screen porch get built.

2019-2020: It is this year. There is so much to do. The child is 14 and we have basketball, field hockey, fencing, cello, and just being a teenager. Max has learned how to let the cats feel like they are in charge, the women sourcebook is...we are working on it. More pubs in the queue, I've set an end date for the museum directorship (June 2021). Trying to slow down and take more time to myself and with the family. I am at a stage now where I try to defer to other people, recommend them instead of me. Use my energy to do things that are meaningful for me. I've slowed down on blogging. I can't explain why, but I just have. We will see if I pick back up again next decade. I do intend, however, to plant my garden come May.