End of a Very Busy Year!

It’s been a busy year, though you wouldn’t be able to tell it from my blog! I’d like to say I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog—that would be partially true, but not entirely. I probably could have blogged, and I certainly did when I was busy with other things. But whatever the excuses, here I am again.

What have I done in the last year? Well, I finished my dissertation in the spring and defended it at UMass during the first week of June. So now I’m a legitimate PhD, which came in very handy in August when a professor at Bemidji State went on sick-leave and I was hired to teach her classes. I taught two sections of World History II (1500 to present) and a section of History of World Religions. A bit out of my wheelhouse, but I’ve done a lot of reading about religion over the years, so I managed it.

The semester just ended last week, and through most of it I was pretty busy writing lectures, quizzes, exams, and discussion notes. And reading the texts I chose, which I was of course unfamiliar with. I tried to insert some Environmental History into the World syllabus, which I thought worked out fairly well. The classes kept me running to stay a couple of steps ahead of the students. I enjoyed working in front of a physical rather than an online class – maybe there will be more opportunities to do it at BSU in the future.

While this was happening, I completed a book proposal and responded to readers reports. The result is, my dissertation Peppermint Kings is under contract for the Yale University Agrarian Studies Series. Yeah, really! So I’ll have something to do this winter, after the holiday guests all go home. I promised to deliver a 100,000-word manuscript by July 1st, but if I’m not working at BSU this spring I hope to turn it in around March 1st so the book will have a chance of being released on the Spring 2019 list, in time for conferences.

And while I was doing all that, I took TopHat up on an offer to convert my American Environmental History textbook into an online text/course for them. I completed that also last week, and it should be hitting TopHat’s marketplace soon. That project gave me an opportunity to revise and complete the print and ebook versions of the text. It’s now a full 15-chapter semester-long book. About 267 pages long, with 196 images and an ample bibliography. Should be hitting Amazon in a week or so – I’ll let you know!