#amwriting

Friday, 30 September 2011 20:37
strange_complex: (Snape writing)
I'm afraid I am completely rubbish at livejournal at the moment, because I am busy trying to meet article deadlines - and this state of affairs is guaranteed to last until at least November. Still, the good news is that I submitted one article today, bang on the required deadline. This is a Wordle of the final product:


Betcha can't guess what it was about! (There's a clue in my tags).

Meanwhile, I have finished implementing all but one of the editor's suggests on another article (actually submitted several months ago), but I still need to arrange the illustrations for it. I'm less panicky about that now than I was a week ago, though, as I have discovered a nice chap in the University's Print and Copy bureau who can draw plans better than I can, and have already been working successfully with him on the illustrations for the article I submitted today. This means I feel confident about asking him to do the illustrations for the other article as well, which will cover all of them except for one photograph that I will need to go through the tedious process of tracking down permission to reproduce.

And I've now at last started work on the written version of the paper on the clustering of workshops in Roman cities which I delivered in Oxford in July - rather later than I'd have liked to, given that it is due for submission on November 1st ARGH, and term has started ARGH and I have two guest talks to deliver during October ARGH and how will I find the time ARGH! But I guess I will just have to, and I have at least managed to plan it out properly and write the first 500 words over the last two days. Evenings and weekends will clearly be things that happen to other people while I keep on writing for the next month... but there's a reasonable chance I'll have at least something to submit, along with another set of illustrations, by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, here are two things which pleased me immensely (for quite different reasons) on reading through the OUP style guide which we were sent for the book of which the clustering paper will form a part:
  • "A hallmark of our house style is the serial comma [otherwise known as the Oxford comma, natch], the comma before ‘and’ or ‘or’ in lists of three or more items: ‘red, white, and blue’, ‘feminine, masculine, or neuter’."
  • "Please make every effort to avoid any form of language or expression that might be interpreted by a reader as racist or sexist, derogatory of a particular religion or creed, or otherwise offensive. The gender-specific pronouns ‘he’, ‘his’, ‘him’ should be avoided in any reference relevant to males and females; to achieve this, pluralize the reference, repeat the noun, use the passive voice, or use both pronoun forms (though the last solution is clumsy and undesirable for more than occasional use)." - exactly the point I made myself at the actual conference!
Apologies in advance if I'm now completely silent, or post only about work, for the next month or so. Once this batch of articles is finished, I will pretty much have my REF submission in the bag - everything will have been written, although one long-delayed article will still need chasing, and possibly rescuing and submitting to an alternative publication outlet if necessary. I'll then be able to concentrate properly on developing exciting new projects, like my work on the upcoming bimillennium of Augustus' death in 2014... and, yanno, maybe have a life a bit as well. But for the moment, I just need to jump over this final hurdle.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Cathica spike)
OMG, why am I reading an article which contains sentences like this:
"Sahlins' argument is thus for a dialectical relationship between externally generated events and localized actions"
when I could be doing this Who meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe?

Who's game? )

OK, I'm working now...

strange_complex: (All roads lead to Rome)
I'm finding it rather hard to concentrate on article-writing this weekend, because the deadline is too far away, and I already know my basic arguments for most of the bit I'm writing up at the moment. In some ideal academic world, I would be writing like a demon anyway, getting it finished so I can get on to the next thing, and maybe even enjoy some free weekends later this month. As it is, I'm having to chivvy myself along using the promise of little breaks to motivate myself. So it's all, 'If you can get this paragraph done by X o'clock, then you may break up boxes for recycling / email so-and-so / cut your toe-nails'. This break, I get to write up another Doctor Who story. Woot!

First Doctor: The Romans )

strange_complex: (Urbs Roma)
Some very interesting new research is reported over at Rogue Classicism today.

The origins of Etruscan culture have long been debated - was it imported into Italy by immigrants from Lydia (in modern Turkey), as Herodotus claims; was it imported by immigrants from somewhere else; or did it just develop out of the existing indigenous Villanovan culture?

Well, now some people from the Università di Pavia in Italy have applied DNA evidence to the problem. It seems that in the small town of Murlo, at least, an unusually high proportion of the population (17.5%) have 'Near Eastern mtDNA haplogroups' - which apparently points towards 'a direct and rather recent genetic input from the Near East'.

It's still a bit of a leap from there to saying that Herodotus was correct, and the immigrants came specifically from Lydia, as the authors of the report seem to do (though I've only seen the abstract, so don't know exactly how strongly they're pushing the case for that link). But still, this is much more persuasive that any of the existing evidence, and quite the opposite of what I'd been expecting. Previously, I fell largely into the established 'evolvement from Villanovan culture' camp - although I'll admit that that's partly because of personal emotional prejudices in favour of Italy as a cradle of civilisation in its own right, and a more rationally based general dislike of overly-simplified models of 'civilisation' spreading in linear fashion from culture A to culture B. And of course, the new evidence doesn't in the least rule out the involvement of the Villanovans in the creation of a new culture based on ideas imported by a small number of immigrant easterners.

In any case, I'm surprised. And, of course, rather excited and eager to hear more. I'll look forward to seeing how this 'settles in' with the existing scholarship over the next few years.

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