This is my job!
It’s early May, and that means that this semester’s teaching is finally done. Phew. This has been the heaviest teaching semester that I’ve ever had: one 65+ person lecture plus two 15-person seminars (both of which are “new preps,” which means that I had never taught them before). I know that for most faculty, three courses in a semester is the norm: among the invisible professoriate three in one with two new preps is normal, even light. JMP once taught FIVE courses in one semester. But among regular faculty in research-oriented departments in research-intensive universities, it is not the norm.
But I have a confession. Right now I may have the bleary-eyed look of Donald Sutherland in Animal House (and I actually do have that jacket) but unlike his Jennings, teaching isn’t “just a way to pay the bills until I finish my novel.” I like teaching, and I don’t care who knows it. Of course I don’t like everything about teaching, but I do like the basics: I like to talk about Southeast Asian politics to people who are eager to learn about it, and I like to debate basic questions about, say, why Asia’s material prosperity has grown over the past half century, or how we ought to go about learning how politics works around the world. On the whole, I’ve had a good time this semester. I’ll be glad to turn my attention to research again, but not because I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve been doing.
The costs of teaching this much are that I have had scarcely any time to do any research or writing since January. I have, though, done a lot of productive thinking. I have a couple of ideas saved up on multimethod research, for example, that I’ll share here in coming weeks. Some of these ideas are going into a new paper on context and method in Southeast Asian politics, which I’ll be presenting in three short weeks at Uni Freiburg (this conference program can only be described as bad-ass…MacIntyre, Malesky, von Luebke, Shair-Rosenfield, Kuhonta, Tajima, and the great Emmerson too).
However, before that happens, we have to have Slope Day here at Cornell. I have a couple of other Animal House images that I could post in honor of Slope Day, but I leave that to your imaginations.