The academic year: my top 10 (part 1)

Whew. Week 10 of the Summer Term has come and gone. That’s the end of teaching although not the end of work, what with PhD students to look after, articles to write and review, a couple of book chapters to get on with…

…oh, all right then, the students have gone so I’m off on holiday for three months. Happy now? Hmph.

Anyway, it might be something to do with the fact that I’m de-mob happy in my best holiday shirt and shorts; it might be the second glass of Cotes de Rhone; but I started musing on my favourite and most bizarre moments of the 2012-13 teaching year.

NOT working year, teaching year! Yeah, yeah, I’ll shut up about that now. Mutter mutter.

In no particular order, here are the first five:

1. PhD student first year reviews

27 first year research students in politics at Warwick, 27 inspiring people doing bloody interesting work. 27 presentations to be allowed to upgrade to PhD from MPhil status, 27 passes. The first time that every one of them has upgraded first try. Just the start of a long process, but very impressed, very proud. Our PhD student profiles are here: Check them out.

2. My doctoral students

I can’t praise the cohort without giving a special mention to my three fab PhD students, Lucy, Damian and Bahadir. It’s been a real pleasure watching these guys grow into real researchers over the year. Very much looking forward to the year ahead.

3. The applause after my Feminism lecture

Sometimes I despair at the losses in acceptance of basic feminist ideas these days, but there’s a new generation of young women – and young men – who get it, and refuse to accept that one’s life chances should have anything to do with one’s genitalia. The new generation are not as aware of the lessons learned by previous generations as they should be (ain’t that always true) but the sustained applause after my impassioned defence of equal rights for my daughter and my son in front of a couple of hundred first year undergrads gave me hope. Next step: the rest of the class having the guts to attend.

4. Public engagement in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lectures at Harvard, Oslo, Uppsala, Tianjin and a couple of panels at the American Political Science Association conference in Chicago – the passport is taking a bit of a bashing this year. The visit to the Harvard Graduate School of Design was a bit of highlight though not just because I learned a lot – thanks Jerold – and got to meet a bit of a legend, but also because of the audience full of the engaged public of Cambridge, MA. OK, so it’s generally the engaged members of the moneyed, leisured classes, but they asked some probing questions and made me wish for more. Something to ponder for the coming year.

5. Love tore us apart

I can’t not mention this. Trevor, Ben and I have gone from our first appalling bashings, mumblings and grumblings two years ago to playing our first gig. Two 40-mumbles and a (nearly) 30-mumble playing post-punk classics at the department postgrad ball, and after taking three songs to get over the shock, the crowd all got up and danced, danced, danced to Gary Numan, Joy Division and New Order. We’re still waiting for that Glasto invitation.

More soon, but I might have to do a lowlights too. Not been blogging much lately because (a) too busy; (b) the kids have been ill and demanding; and (c) some of the news out of government is just too depressing. Life’s too short to wallow in grim news all the time. But … more when I’ve had a bit more of that Cote de Rhone.





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