A new dawn

By the time rosy-fingered dawn poked her way through my kitchen window this morning, I’d been lying awake for hours contemplating — among other things SOPHI — the possibilities of a blog. A few days ago, my colleague, the Australian Professorial Fellow Shane White, had passed on a review by the Princeton historian Anthony Grafton (his History of the Footnote is a model), of the published blogs of the Cambridge classicist Mary Beard. Both scholars remind me what life must be like for people who need little sleep, or don’t waste it lying awake.  I am now a convert to Beard’s blog ‘A Don’s Life’ (once I would have called it a column) and I append the link here: http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/
It is not only highly entertaining, it is salutary reading for those of us seeking perspective on current events in the higher education sector.  Britain’s present is too often our future (here go straight to http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2010/01/what-to-cut-in-universities.html).

During my year long odyssey as Head of SOPHI I hope to keep the ship on an even keel, sail safely through any approaching and unexpected storms, and try to occasionally anchor us in some appealing ports — one of them (and here I may be mixing my historical metaphors) is the new SOPHI Salon, a regular live rather than virtual forum for the humanities, where we can have interesting conversations about the work we do with a broad public.  More on that soon, and on navigating the Scylla and Charybdis-like perils of accrued annual leave. In the meantime don’t forget Grafton’s own review of Beard (see http://www.tnr.com/book/review/scholar-and-blogger ). It refers us to the range of blog reading that feeds one fertile academic mind — most of the sites I’d never heard of. It did not list the Sophistry blog, but it did give me an exciting sense of what’s out there, and what I can learn. If I beat dawn to her game.

Glenda Sluga

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