Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm Back


It has been a couple of weeks of forced isolation for me. And I have noticed that isolation does not make for good blog posting. During the times I have to shut down and get to work, I notice I do just that. Shut down. I suppose anyone who has ever written a dissertation has done that. At some point, one emerges from one's cave and looks around bleary-eyed and tries to figure out what the rest of the world was up to.


I had lunch with a friend yesterday who has just finished up his graduate course work and was ready to begin his journey toward "the dissertation" (cue the ominous music). We compared notes on how that leaves you feeling terribly isolated, having lost out on the gossip of life. Sort of like when George Bush, Senior stared dumbfounded at the electronic price scanners at the grocery store, having missed life as the rest of us experience it. Although, one suspects any "Bush" has not experienced life as the collective "we" know it.


In my case, nothing so dramatic. I spent days in isolation building a new Distantly Learning course. Right or wrong, good or evil, Hamas or Zionism, I have put my Introduction to Archaeology course online. It debuted this week with 27 students. Their first exercise, to get them accustomed to the course, etc, etc. was to post to the Discussion Board about their trash. They seem to be enjoying, themselves and I must admit, its kind of amusing to read their posts. They seem to feel a great deal of guilt about their lack of recycling and over consumption of plastic water bottles.

Global warming, going "Green", and destroying the planet are such easy moral issues, aren't they? Its good to know that while we were denied communitas by a fumbled oath and an awkward speech at the Presidential Inauguration, we can all join in with a pure "tsk tsk" at our own water-bourne frailties.

2 comments:

larry c wilson said...

The linked definition of communitas reminds me of why I'm an historian rather than a social scientist of any sort.

Pamthropologist said...

Don't mess with Victor Turner.