The joys and perils of fluid papers.




(just put some glasses on him and thats me)

Like many writers I am usually working on numerous projects at the same time. At the moment I have about twenty projects, large and small, some of which I post on my site: I generally separate these into formal and non-formal projects. An academic project is aimed at a narrow scholarly audience and has usually been vetted by numerous other scholars before I let anyone see it. It is very much a team project. This one on the Greek concept of andreia (manliness, courage) in Procopius’ Gothic Wars is the culmination of research that began in 2002: So much work and redrafts went into this project that it took on a life of its own. A shorter version was sent to another journal. Though rejected the peer reviewer had many constructive suggestions, that led to this larger article. This one was edited by the journal and only after it was published did I notice a few minor typos from the editorial process. Since it is no longer was mine there is little I can do about it now. Since they are minor most people will never notice them anyway, but it still bugs me.


Other projects are more for fun and more quickly written. This one: that appeared today on was written largely on a whim about six months ago and forgotten about. This paper’s genesis arose from a chapter in my 2003 Ma thesis, but I updated in order it to interact with some of the current scholarship. I have been fine-tuning off and on, but never expected anyone else to be interested. Now that I have given it a quick re-read I realise that this paper is aimed at a broader audience and could only be published in an academic journal if I did some serious work on it. The best thing about publishing this way is that I still own it, and was quickly able to fix a few things once I realised that about 500 people were going to read my casual musings. Moreover, what is exciting about pieces like these is that I had no idea that it would be picked up so it was just a pleasant surprise, much in contrast to the nervous three-to six month wait for articles. It is fun to write for different audiences, which takes me to this blog which is very informal and written largely for cathartic purpose…… though surprisingly I have been able to use some blogs as springboards for more serious projects. I am not sure what all this means, only that if one puts their work out there and sticks at it, it will find an audience if it is worthy. Whether this is an academic audience or just a high-school kid interested in medieval history does not really matter to me. I think that one of the most important jobs of an academic is to share their passions on certain topics with the largest audience as possible, if we do not we become more marginalised, and our most important work goes largely unnoticed.



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