Monday, January 4, 2016

A Year in the Life of an Academic

Over at The Indian Philosophy Blog (where I am the Book Review Editor and a contributor) blog co-founder Elisa Freschi issued a call for "End of the Year Balances."  Perhaps inspired by my recent 2015 favorites lists here on this blog (see my favorite movies and favorite books of 2015), I thought I'd comment with a list of some of my academic accomplishments of 2015.

A philosophy professor's natural habitat

It then occurred to me that, if the blank looks on some people's faces when I tell them I'm a philosophy professor are any indication, there may also be some general interest in understanding just what a professor of philosophy actually does for a living.  And thus was born the idea for a post on a year in the life of an academic.

Here are are some things I did in 2015 in my role as a philosophy professor:

– I published two articles and two book reviews (see my page for details). One of the articles was partly based on some posts I made both on this blog (here and here) and on The Indian Philosophy Blog (here and here).

– In late December I had a paper accepted by the International Journal for the Study of Skepticism. It should appear in 2016. I’m excited to bring some Indian philosophy to a “mainstream” journal.

– I served as a panel chair and discussant for a panel called “Self, Mind, and Agency in Indian Traditions” at the Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Vancouver in April, where I met Anand Vaidya. Anand invited me to San José State University to give a talk to his comparative philosophy seminar in October, which was a great experience.

– I organized a panel, “The Future of the Study of Indian Philosophy” at the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Conference in Monterey, California in October. As part of the panel I gave a talk, “Whither the Matilal Strategy?: On Indian/Analytic Comparisons" (partly based on this post on The Indian Philosophy Blog).

– Here at home, I taught spring and summer sections of a course called Western Humanities I and a fall section of History of Ancient Philosophy, a course on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.  I also taught Philosophies of India in Spring 2015. I created a new course, Introduction to Asian Philosophy, which is a lower level general education course that I taught in Fall 2015 and will be teaching again in the spring.

– In August I was invited to give a talk for a community group here in Chattanooga called the Chattanooga Institute of Noetic Sciences Study Group. I talked about the relationship between skepticism and religious practice in Sextus Empiricus and Nāgārjuna. It was a good chance to do some community engagement (something my university is keen to do).

– In October, on the invitation of my friend, Jeremy Henkel, I gave a talk at Wofford College in South Carolina. I talked about Nāgārjuna and skepticism.

– In January 2015 I began serving at the Book Review Editor at The Indian Philosophy Blog. We’ve had a number of really great reviews so far, and hopefully we’ll have a lot more in 2016!

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