happiness · musings · teaching


IMG_4482.JPGIf I told you I was walking on sunshine, would you believe me?

Reason: I can see the end of the road for this semester. One reason why I can see it is because I always team-teach the Civil War with my senior colleague and partner John Beeler at the end of the semester.

Today, after I did the social piece to the war for my “American Civilization to 1865” class (i.e. a motley crew of characters were fighting for their version of what “freedom” looked like),  he addressed the North’s effort to take on the South: the Anaconda Plan (i.e. cut off all major transportation arteries and create economic turmoil).

Watching John Beeler teach reminds of how far I have to go to be even a quarter as good in the classroom.

Beeler has won almost every teaching award one can win at the University of Alabama. In fact, only last night he and I attended UA’s annual Last Lecture presentation (given to a prof who has left such an impression on students, he or she is invited to give a so-called “last lecture”).

If you had one more lecture, what would it be?

The magnolia he picked on the quad today.

As the Last Lecture honoree two years ago, Beeler lectured on why history matters.

Last night, another esteemed colleague, Dr. Trudier Harris, Professor of English, lectured on what we lose when we’re tied too much to technology. We’re over engaged with elsewhere.

We need to live more presently, or as Shug in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” tells us, notice the color purple.

Reason 2. The magnolias are back. Beeler picked one.

Noticed these outside tenHoor classroom building today. What are those green Ivy-like plants. Beeler says, “Usually weeds, although in this case, not sure.”

Reason 3. Random sightings of colleagues in the hallway, the ones you just want to hug. Beeler did that to Jeff Melton of Am Studies today.

Reason 4. I had yet another student walking up after class to ask if I was teaching “American Civilization Since 1865″ next semester. I wish. It would go well with “Bebop to Hip Hop: Young America and Music.” But I’m still essentially an antebellum girl finding her way to the 20th and 21st centuries. Maybe in another year. Need to master TO 1865 first although my first survey class here in Spring 2013 was since 1865. I cringe just thinking about that effort.

Reason 5. The thrift store dress my mom bought goes well with my shoes bearing the word “joy.” Something I am feeling now.

Reason 6. A-Day is this Saturday. Roll Tide.

Reason 7. See Reason 6. Actually, reason 7 is I finally watched Beyonce’ “Lemonade” film! Never like things when everyone is talking about them. Took me seven seasons to watch “American Idol.” Assigning a Beyonce’ memoir next semester so I went there. Liked it. No, hold up. Loved it. Especially since my students enrolled in my “Gender, Race and Urban Space” course take up Africa tomorrow and next Thursday via Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and “Queen of Katwe.” Powerful imagery in that film. Powerful imagery in Adichie’s work. So much to consider? Where is race? Where is gender? Where is the city?

Beyonce invites us to meditate on the continent in “Lemonade.”

Reason 8. I am excited about this weekend’s intimacies symposium overseen by Dr. Harris. See this link for details. Messy stories. We need to go there. Communication is the only way to figure out how we got where we are. One moment at a time on it all.

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