How I’m spending my summer vacation

Friday was the last day of faculty meetings for the semester, making Monday my first weekday of freedom. I celebrated by attending the newly-inaugurated Foucault reading group that looks set to occupy many if not most of my Monday afternoons for the next couple months.

Other than that, my main goal this summer will be to finish up a couple major projects — my translation of Agamben’s The Use of Bodies and my long-promised devil book, tentatively entitled The Prince of This World. I anticipate putting the finishing touches on the translation in the next couple weeks, setting myself up for a summer of sudden mountainous influxes of copy-editing and proof-checking. I have been fortunate to have Carlo Salzani’s help this time around, as he generously volunteered to compare my translation carefully with the original Italian text. I just finished entering his edits into the penultimate section and eagerly await his comments on the epilogue.

This month I also need to figure out my book orders and syllabi. I’m teaching the Humanities capstone and a new course designed for transfer students, which has only been taught once before. I’m looking forward to both, especially the latter — it’s interdisciplinary and will give me the chance to teach some science texts, perhaps as a prelude to teaching one of the Natural Science courses one day.

On the book front, I am planning two parts of three chapters each, along with a brief introduction and more substantial conclusion. The first will be a genealogical investigation of the ways that the figure of the devil emerges out of attempts to answer the problem of evil in the Hebrew Biblical tradition and in Christianity, while the second will be a “biography” of the Western medieval devil (fall, present meddling, ultimate fate in hell). I have drafted two chapters of the first part and am in the middle of the third. I anticipate a pace of approximately two weeks per chapter for the rest of the summer, which will give me a full manuscript well before classes start.

As I move toward completing that project, I’m also trying to think of easy ways to work toward future projects. I’m leaning toward something on the trinity, so I’m thinking I will begin assembling a reading list to help keep me organized and focused during my more limited research time during the semester. I am also pondering whether to try to pull together an edited volume.

In any case, I figure I had been finish up whatever I can this summer because in the fall I begin a one-year term as Associate Dean at Shimer. My exact portfolio of duties has not yet been determined, but so far it seems likely that I’ll be significantly involved with the ongoing development of our assessment program. It will be fun to experience first-hand what it’s like to be a neoliberal sell-out, even if the context of a boutique, artisanal ideological apparatus like Shimer is admittedly unrepresentative.

On the vacation front, we don’t have any set plans, but we anticipate taking a few day or weekend trips within the Midwest. I hear Milwaukee’s nice. Finally, my lunch time viewing for the summer is Babylon 5, and our couple viewing seems to be converging on a Sopranos rewatch. My hope is that neither will result in formal writing of any kind.

What about you, readers? What are your hopes and dreams for this summer?

2 Responses to “How I’m spending my summer vacation”

  1. Tracy Lightcap Says:

    Adam,
    Have you ever edited a book before? I did. Just once. Now I always say that if anyone asks me to edit another anthology I will scream out loud, run from the room, and try to get an early flight to Tanzania. I’m proud of the book, but, if you think the proofs for a translation are bad … well, just you wait, Henry Higgins.
    On the other hand, if you’ve already done it and actually liked it, then more power to you and have fun. Personally, I’d rather have my wisdom teeth pulled.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Wow. Getting my wisdom teeth out was quite literally the worst experience of my life, so…. maybe I’ll have to scratch that off the to-do list.


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