Novak (novak) wrote,

Personal: Saturday at the American Academy of Religion Conference

The interviews today seemed to run the stretch from good to great. The first was friendly with one representative of the department asking sensible questions about teaching and the content I'd inject into their departmental offerings. The second was twice the normal length of 20 minutes, with five members of the department, and became wonderfully enthusiastic and excited-sounding as I went on. They sold their program strongly, emphasizing a wide variety of opportunities that, thanks to their remarkable and ongoing growth, would be available to me for research despite being a primarily teaching institution. Other forms of teaching opportunities, such as an increasing travel-related component of studying - how would I like to return to Tunisia and Algeria as part of teaching Augustine, for example - were mentioned. I felt like the king of the party by the time I left that one, with many thanks for my time. The last of my three interviews today was the most intense. Two of the four of that group were familiar with Sullivan's work, and so these scholars asked detailed and probing questions about the dissertation project, far more so than any other group. That interview, too, I think was very positive, and that the depth of my answers with regard to the dissertation seemed satisfying to them. That was at the end of the day, and they were clearly wiped out, and so "intensity" was more what I got a feeling of, rather than the love-fest of the prior interview, but I do think that it was a favourable showing. I walked out to find a request for another interview waiting for me from one of the schools to which I'd applied, and I'll be checking for more tomorrow.

Ran into lots of people today just hanging out in the Jobs Center. Along with my talking with Kari-Shane some more, I also saw and talked with Aaron (who had flown into Milwaukee and stayed with Dan and Amy on Thursday, so that he could talk with his dissertation director before coming down for interviews), Ramon L., Kenny Y., Matthew G., who I'd gone walking with last night, Jeff W., Scott C., and John J. So I wasn't hurting for interesting theological/political/cultural conversation, as well as job talk. I also met sigerson face-to-face for the first time, joking that she seemed so much more feminine in person than the Jeremy Brett-as-Sherlock-Holmes picture I always had in my head of her from her primary LiveJournal userpic. She's out from Boston University and staying with magdalene1, who I've never met face-to-face, either, and who I thought would be able to join us for dinner tonight. That ended up not quite happening, and I went out just with sigerson and her compatriot Sara from Boston U., finding our way to a corner bakery for dinner, and talking about our various work, with sigerson having a dissertation project in mind about the various ways in which people read novels for ethical meaning, and Sara doing a lot of work on liberal democracy and Islamic states. So that, added in with my ecclesiological work, made for eclectic, but very interesting, dinner conversation through the evening.

And I'm tired all of a sudden - right wiped out - after three nights running without more than four hours of real sleep; just lots of tossing and trying to rest or snooze after three good hours last night. I don't know what the deal is with that.

A man stopped me on the street, wanting me to autograph his jersey. He thought I was some Chicago Bulls coach, apparently. And I don't know what the deal is with that, either.

My new suit got some compliments, which was very cool. As I feared, though, it’s so dark that every bit of dust or lint that I catch seems to glow. I had to keep brushing myself off and hoping that I didn’t look like I had fatal dandruff – on my knees. As I type, I'm being shown up, though, by an entirely different level of class being displayed by the women gliding through the Palmer House lobby in elegant evening gowns and their companions in tuxes or well-cut suits. Not that mine isn't good, but.... I wonder if there's an Event on, or if this is simply high-end Chicago nightlife that one sees in Chicago at the Palmer House if one is here more often than I am.

My interview on Monday makes hash of my plans to check out early, save my ridiculous Palmer House fees, and to see Mom, Leslie and Jim and the nieces on Sunday and Monday. And I can't go out after I'm done on Monday since I need to be in Milwaukee on Tuesday to vote. So it goes. I'll get to see everyone in a week and a half, anyway, when I head down to babysit.

I wasn't able to make it to any sessions today, given the way my interviews were scheduled: the ones I would have tried to sneak in for most of a given session were back here at the Palmer House, and in my dress shoes I couldn't try to rush back and forth. So that's that. If there's nothing better tomorrow, I'm inclined to just cross the street and take in the Art Institute: it's been a long time since I've been there, now. I was smiling as I walked by last night, remembering getting locked into the front revolving door with Julianna once during college as we were leaving well into closing, and having to be found and let out by a guard. They've got some exhibitions going on now that look interesting if not earth-shattering. Not that you ever know what you might find earth-shattering if you let yourself wander freely in a great museum....
Tags: academia, dissertation, friends-marquette era, personal, travel

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