Winter Travelz

Monday, December 28, 2009

Well, I've finished my first semester as an assistant professor!  Actually, I taught my last class on the eleventh, but the semester didn't officially finish for me until Sunday night of last week, when I submitted my grades. 

It's not easy leaving beautiful Bozeman...

It's good to be finished with things. This semester I taught only one class, which I'm very thankful for. I was so nervous when the semester began! Lucky for me, my students were really patient with me and helped make the semester a good one. 

In the Spring I start teaching my normal course load of two classes per term. I'll be teaching one class on Russian imperial history ("Russia to 1917") and another course I designed myself called "the Making of Modern Turkey." Classes don't start until January 13, though, so I've fortunately got some time to think about other things before the new semester begins.
Anyway, I flew out to Michigan on Sunday of last week and since that time have been relaxing at my parents' place in Ann Arbor. It's great to be back in town. 

I've mostly been hanging out with family and friends, and on Saturday my Dad and I attended the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl  in Detroit. The game, which was called the Motor City Bowl until GM and Ford gave up their sponsorship this year, is played at Ford Field (home of the Lions!) in Detroit. As someone who grew up attending University of Michigan football games for years, watching Marshall and Ohio University battle it out in an indoor stadium wasn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it was still really great to finally see Ford Field (a nice stadium, considering it's got a roof) and to hang out in downtown Detroit. 

Tomorrow I'm flying to Istanbul. I'm going there as a participant in a program sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, or SSRC. For years, the SSRC's Eurasia Program has been bringing together scholars from the US and the former Soviet Union through a series of workshops relating to the theme of "Teaching Islam in Eurasia." My participation in this project--with which I was associated peripherally when I was in graduate school--involves writing, along with a co-author from the former USSR, a set of research priorities that the SSRC should focus upon in the future with respect to this theme. We hope to have this paper finished by May, but for now the SSRC is flying both me and my co-author (Shovosil Ziyodov, a professor of Islamic studies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan) to Istanbul this week so that we can talk things over while we stroll along the banks of the Bosphorus and contemplate the relative merits of poğaças and açmas. Good times! 

I'll be in Istanbul for a week before returning to Bozeman by way of Ann Arbor. If possible, I hope to post some Istanbul photos (as well as some shots from Amsterdam, where I'll be staying one night on my way back to the US) here later on this week and next.   

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