A chance to catch up

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Campus was quiet over reading week!

Campus was quiet over reading week!

Glad to see everyone back on campus after a quiet week. It is at least getting a bit warmer now and the days are definitely getting longer. We’re into the final stretch of this academic year already!

I’ve been asked by a couple of people how I spent my reading week, so I thought I would answer that in this posting. First, I should say that I’ve never been one for going to warm places for reading week, or skiing. Don’t get me wrong—a nice warm beach would be great after the tough January and February we’ve had (skiing is less my thing). But since as far back as when I was an undergraduate here, reading week has always been a time for me to catch my breath, and catch up generally.

In each of my four years as an undergrad I typically spent the week knocking off a major term paper. I recall that during reading week in 1978, I was working on an essay for my class on Tudor England with Prof Christianson. I was writing a paper on Tudor ideas of history and politics in Shakespeare’s history plays, little imagining that this would turn into my major area of doctoral research – not to mention a whole career as a historiographer.

36 years later, the week isn’t a lot different. I’m teaching a class this term (on historiography as it happens), so my first task (following the Family Day weekend when we were pleased to have our youngest home from university) was to write comments on essay proposals handed in just before the break. Then, I had some serious editing work to do on an article I’m writing with one of my former PhD students. That ate up at least three days.

I spent a day tidying up some administrative work that had been piling up, including getting ready for the Board of Trustees meeting in March My wife Julie and I also attended a reception in Toronto on Thursday connected with the Matariki Network of Universities.  And, of course, I tuned into the Olympics now and again, as time allowed.

It was all in all a productive week, though as always it’s rather nice to get back to the routine. I hope whatever you did, in warm places, cold places, or right here, was both productive and restful.

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