Good morning, friends,
Today’s newsletter is in solidarity with everyone whose institutions are expecting things to be back to normal this fall, and especially to everyone whose health, home, or family situation makes normal impossible.
It’s also in solidarity with everyone who is trying to eke out a little bit of space away from everything before the fall begins.
Hannah for the VFC
Academic Tarot Party: Friday, Aug 6
Join the VFC for a virtual academic tarot party this Friday, August 6 at 5pm et. We’ll talk about feelings and ask hard questions about our own futures and the future of higher education.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom info. This is a recurring event, to be held on the first Friday of every month.
International Student Advocacy
In case you missed it, the VFC’s international student team took over our last newsletter to update you on their work. Want to help? Read the newsletter, take the survey, and share it with the students you know.
Writing Round up
Teaching during the pandemic has been an exercise in balancing the utterly mundane with the profoundly traumatic—the sort of things that alter your soul.
Our university—like most—was designed around a model of education that has remained fairly constant for hundreds of years. But many schools and educators are currently looking at this model with fresh eyes. The potential disruption posed by online learning allows us to question how time, space, expertise, accreditation, and student agency may also change within higher education. Many parts of the undergraduate experience are ripe for reinvention.
I'm a geriatric millennial and things have not gone as planned. I misguidedly got a Ph.D in the humanities. I had a series of fraught relationships with people who had avoidant attachment styles. I was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
As an undergraduate student, I yearned to better understand the world we lived in. I gravitated to topics that assessed how Black people encountered violence, and the strategies Black women, men, and children used to resist and survive.
The unwritten rule seems to be that book writing is something you do if you’re a historian in academia, ideally on the tenure track at a place that will support you as you write (but certainly not always). Take a job outside of academia–in my case, teaching at an independent K-12 school–and you’ll rarely get asked about your dissertation or whether you’ll write a book. But book writing isn’t just for those seeking tenure or tenure-track jobs: while many history PhDs might not have the interest, it’s still possible to write and publish your book outside of academia.