Burying Books versus Praising Them

When asked as a child to name my hobbies, my usual response was “books.” I wasn’t athletic or artistic; I couldn’t play a musical instrument or entertain an audience on stage. My skill was reading, and I honed it daily: on the bus ride to and from school (two hours a day just to read!Continue reading “Burying Books versus Praising Them”

Speaking Events in Shanghai and Hong Kong

  Early morning jet-lagged greetings to all from Shanghai, where I landed last night. This is my first time in China since the summer of 2016, and I’m very curious to see what has changed in the intervening two years. So far all I can say is that they now take your fingerprints when youContinue reading “Speaking Events in Shanghai and Hong Kong”

Weekly Wanderings: AHA FOMO Edition

▪ Four thousand historians descended on Denver this weekend for the annual American Historical Association (AHA) conference, but I wasn’t among them. Driven by a fear of missing out (FOMO), I went back and forth and back and forth about going to the conference, eventually deciding that I just don’t need to be there thisContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: AHA FOMO Edition”

The Uncompromising Jill Lepore

I’ve mentioned here before my enormous history-geek fangirling for Harvard professor and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore. Lepore is an excellent example of someone who works inside and outside “the academy” (aka the university) with equal success, which is one of the reasons I have so much admiration for her (the other being theContinue reading “The Uncompromising Jill Lepore”

Two Upcoming Events in SoCal

I will be back in California for a week at the end of this month—first to San Francisco for work, then to Irvine for … well, a working vacation? I originally intended my three days in Southern California to be pure vacation—visiting friends, going to the beach, eating my annual In-N-Out burger. But then IContinue reading “Two Upcoming Events in SoCal”

The Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Past and Present

I spent last weekend in Chicago attending the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS, shorthand for both the association and the annual meeting). On the night before I left for the conference, my boss handed me something she had found in her office—the program for the 1971 AAS. Promising to treat itContinue reading “The Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Past and Present”

Gone Grant: UC Pacific Rim Research Program Ends

I have a very clear memory of finding out that I’d been awarded a UC Pacific Rim Research Grant, because I thought I’d been rejected. I was kind of on a break from grad school in the spring of 2012, working on ChinaFile at the Asia Society and living in Princeton. As I rode theContinue reading “Gone Grant: UC Pacific Rim Research Program Ends”

Notes from #AHA2015

The annual meeting of the American Historical Association was held in New York this past weekend. Admittedly, I didn’t have a specific reason to go—I wasn’t on a panel or interviewing for a job or trying to sell a book manuscript—but it seemed odd not to attend when the largest meeting of my (sort-of) professionContinue reading “Notes from #AHA2015”

What to Keep? What to Toss?

I’m now into the one-week countdown before leaving Shanghai, and it’s going to be a busy week. I’ve sorted through all my clothes and packed one suitcase, made arrangements with my (somewhat annoyed) landlady to end my lease early, and taught my class at warp speed so we’ll finish next Monday afternoon, 24 hours beforeContinue reading “What to Keep? What to Toss?”

Twelve Years a Graduate Student? Yes, Twelve

“Oh, you’re still in school?” I don’t think any doctoral student can refrain from cringing at this question. Friends, relatives, and airplane seatmates unfamiliar with the PhD process don’t always understand how unbounded it can be: it takes as long as it takes to get through coursework, pass a set of rigorous qualifying exams, drawContinue reading “Twelve Years a Graduate Student? Yes, Twelve”