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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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A growing criticism mounted by students/parents of students is the trite argument that there are too few contact hours. Anybody who works as a researcher/lecturer/tutor can demolish this argument in two seconds flat, but the problem now seems to be extending to HR managers, who apparently think that their staff only work about 1/2 the year (ie. when students are around). Let me point something out. One of the reasons that people teach in HE is because they know stuff. They know a lot of stuff. It may surprise you to know, though, that they weren't born knowing stuff; they had to invest quite a significant amount of time learning, as the Twitter hashtag that people are using today "#dayofhighered" shows. Today was one of my research days. Here's what I did. I'm also going to include Sunday (I worked Saturday too) as it was spillover from Monday's work:

Sunday:

Time Activity
9.00 Began typesetting articles for new scholarly journal
13.00 Break for lunch
14.00 Continue typesetting
16.00 Finish typesetting

Monday:

Time Activity
06.30 Get up
08.45 Leave for British Library. En route, read and annotate 15 pages of primary material for current research topic
09.30 Write preface for launch issue of new scholarly journal with which I am involved
10.09 Email preface to co-editors for comment
10.11 Begin reading, annotating and integrating Mattessich, Stefan. Lines of Flight: Discursive Time and Countercultural Desire in the Work of Thomas Pynchon. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002 into thesis and monograph work
11.57 Receive email of transcript from presentation and request to convert to article for journal publication by 1st of May. Respond to email accepting with an additional query
10.58 Resume reading
12.38 Break for lunch
13.03 Resume reading
14.26 Finish reading book #1 (290 pages)
14.27 Email colleague regarding joint proposal for conference paper on an in-progress Digital Humanities project
14.35 Begin reading, annotating and integrating Foucault, Michel. Fearless Speech. Ed. Joseph Pearson. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2001 into thesis and monograph work
15.28 Finish reading book #2 (183 pages). Break for tea
15.50 Begin (re-)reading, annotating and integrating chapter 1 of Hite, Molly. Ideas of Order in the Novels of Thomas Pynchon. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1983 into thesis and monograph work
16.03 Finish reading book chapter (30 pages)
16.04 Begin reading Elliott, Jane, and Derek Attridge. “Theory’s Nine Lives.” In Theory After “Theory,” edited by Jane Elliott and Derek Attridge, 1–15. New York: Routledge, 2011
16.20 Finish previous reading. Begin Osborne, Peter. “Philosophy After Theory: Transdisciplinarity and the New.” In Theory After “Theory,” edited by Jane Elliott and Derek Attridge, 19–34. New York: Routledge, 2011
16.53 Finish reading
16.54 Re-write paragraph of thesis/monograph on history of Theory/theory/philosophy as terms with detailed political histories
16.57 Respond to communication regarding archival procedures/digital preservation for Open Access journals
17.05 Begin re-writing transcription as journal article
18.05 Leave British Library and read a further 20 pages of primary material on train home
18.56 Arrive home, respond to further emails and admin
19.30 Write this post
19.39 Dinner at last (well, can start cooking it)

That's what a day looks like as a researcher. I like what I do and feel privileged to do it, but it's long hours and is paid on an AHRC grant of £12,000 per year, so please don't say that we don't work hard.

Featured image by Ellen Forsyth under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.