From Ufa IV

July 31, 2008
Well, today was my birthday--and a great day it was. For the last ten days or so, I've been working a lot not only in the archives, but also on an article that's been a part of my life for too long. Today, like most days, I spent the morning working on the article before heading off to the archive. I came home again at around four in the afternoon, sat down and started working again on the article. I didn't get up again until after eleven.

And now, the article is pretty much finished! I'm going to send it off to some friends of mine, see what they think about it, then look at it again myself in a week or so. Hopefully I'll be able to submit it before too long.

Another special thing about today was that it was my last day in the archive, which closed this afternoon. The archive here is a good place to work. Other than the fact that readers are limited to ordering five documents a day, it's all right. They let people use digital cameras, which is nice.
On Monday, I'm supposed to start work at the History Institute, where they have a personal archive of Rizaeddin Fahreddin, the second mufti of the Soviet Union and an individual who figures rather prominently in my current work. The archive is closed now, but opens on Monday. The folks at the History Institute say they'll let me in on Monday, so hopefully things will work out.

All in all, I'm really happy with the way things have been going in Ufa. I haven't felt this productive since I was living in Turkey, back before graduate school. In particular it's been really great not having internet at home. Instead of wasting my time online, I've been working 8-10 hours a day, working about 5-6 hours per day on the article and a few hours each day in the archive and at home reading the archival material. The rest of the time, I'm mostly just going into town and back, or at home watching TV or messing around with this site.

Anyway, I guess I could be having a more exciting time, but I'd basically been on vacation for a month before coming out here and I was ready to get back to work. Moreover, I finally looked at a map and realized that there are beaches in Georgia that are still under government control--maybe if I can get a lot done between now and the beginning of September, I'll be able to take a small vacation again then.