I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis

UVa ends early decision

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 26 September 2006

My alma mater has decided to end its Early Decision program. I can’t remember if I applied for an early decision, but I did receive an early enough response that I didn’t have to apply to any other schools. I recall being pretty happy that I didn’t have to spend more moolah on application fees.


free online courses

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 26 September 2006

A few days ago, Lifehacker posted about the wide array of free courses available online. Of all the offerings they linked to, I found that MIT has the most impressive selection.  Really, where else can you find a free course on Digital Typography or Technologies of Word (1450-2000)?

Estonia’s new president

Posted in history by Rae on 25 September 2006

Have I mentioned that I live in Tallinn, Estonia now? I’ve been here for three weeks. And I seem to have arrived at a very good time in Estonia’s history.

Estonia’s presidential election took place this past Saturday. I watched it on tv, though it’s difficult to express the thrill of watching someone count paper ballots. But, considering I’m trying to learn Estonian numbers, it was time well spent.

The election takes place every 5 years. Since Estonia regained independence in 1991, there have been two presidents: Lennart Meri (who died this past March) and Arnold Rüütel. Rüütel, a “reformed Communist”, was running for re-election. His main challenger was Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

Ilves was an interesting candidate. First, he was born to Estonian parents in Sweden. Second, he was raised in New Jersey and has degrees from Columbia and UPenn. Third, he gave up his US citizenship and moved to Estonia. Fourth, he wears a bow tie. He has lots of American mannerisms (he smiles, for example) and speaks English without an accent. From what I can tell, native Estonians have accepted him. And, of equal importance, the Estonian parliament has accepted him. He was elected as Estonia’s next president and will take office on October 9th.

Many Estonians have expressed discontent over the electoral system. The Estonian people vote the 101 members of Parliament into office, and then the Parliament is responsible for electing the President of Estonia. In the event that the vote does not result in a two-thirds majority for one candidate, then there are two more votes held (starting from scratch). If there is still no candidate with two-thirds of the votes, there is a later vote held by the electoral body (comprised of the 101 members of parliament and representatives of the local government councils), totalling 374 members. This electoral body vote is the one I watched.

As City Paper highlighted in this article on the election, Estonia sets an important, international example in the realms of “reform and modernization.” It seems that Ilves, a Social Democrat, will help continue that trend.

news roundup

Posted in history,scholarship by Rae on 22 September 2006

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is not an anti-Semite.


US widow deported over Nazi past:

Mrs Rinkel’s husband Fred was a German Jew who arrived in the US after escaping the Holocaust. He died in 2004, never learning of his wife’s secret.


New Year, New Dumpling:

But Jewish food has become so diverse, how about a taste of another kind of traditionfor Rosh Hashana on Friday night? A new dumpling for the holiday.

I am in a bit of a cooking conundrum this Rosh Hashana. First, my kitchen things have not yet arrived in Estonia. We have two pots here from Ikea (one big soup pot and a smaller sauce pan) and two wooden spoons and my knife set that I brought in my suitcase, but that’s it. Second, I no longer eat chicken or beef, which are common ingredients in Jewish cooking. There are lots of vegetarian recipes out there, but I haven’t figured all that out yet. Third, the ingredients commonly available in the US are not necessarily easy to find here. And since I can’t read Estonian (although I can identify the word for pork), Finnish, Latvian, Lithuanian, or Russian, my only hope is when labels have English or Spanish or Italian.

So, this Rosh Hashana will be very untraditional. We have a vegetarian borsht (from a jar; just add water). We have bread. I will probably make an egg-and-tuna salad. We have kidney beans, which I might add to that salad. And we have some cooked rice and pasta, but no sauces for them. Apples and honey for dessert.


Jewish Cooking Q&A with Joan Nathan.


Fresh Air recently had a few interviews discussing Christian Zionism: here, here, and here.

homeschooling, part 2

Posted in scholarship by Rae on 22 September 2006

The History Enthusiast has another post on homeschooling: Myths Dispelled.

Jewish pirates

Posted in history by Rae on 21 September 2006

I may have missed Talk Like A pirate Day by a few days, but it’s never too late for an article on Jewish pirates. (via Patahistory)

Drew rethinks doctorates

Posted in history,scholarship by Rae on 21 September 2006

Drew Rethinks Doctorates:

Last week, Drew University informed faculty members and graduate students in English and the department of modern history and literature that it planned a review of the two departments’ Ph.D. programs. That announcement alone would not have been news: Such reviews are commonplace and, at a time of heightened scrutiny of doctoral education and the quality of higher education generally, would seem like sound policy.
But Drew’s approach raised eyebrows and, in some circles, hackles, for several reasons…

Read the full article for those reasons. They’ve suspended admissions for these programs and this news has me worried. I’ve been eying Drew’s book history program (part of the department of modern history and literature) with great interest for some time.

call for papers: Southern Jewish Historical Society

Posted in history,scholarship by Rae on 18 September 2006
The Southern Jewish Historical Society will hold its annual conference
co-sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington in
Washington, DC, November 2-4, 2007.  The title of the conference is
"Honoring the Past for the Sake of the Future." Proposals for sessions
or individual papers (1-1/2 page abstracts and short bios) on any aspect of
the southern Jewish experience are welcome.  Although January 5, 2007 is the
target deadline, sessions will be evaluated as they are received and 
individual proposals will be considered as they can be paired with other papers.
To submit proposals or if you are interested in serving as a panel chair or
commentator, please contact Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield (stevewhitfield@juno.com;
781-736-3035), and/or Dr. Mark K. Bauman (markkbauman@aol.com; 404-366-3306),
SJHS 2007 Program Co-Chairs.

endnote add-on

Posted in tools by Rae on 18 September 2006

Firefox now has a handy-dandy Endnote add-on for all you Endnote users. I only used Endnote for one class ever, as I found it easier to just put the bibliography together myself. Plus, I’m the kind who actually enjoys typing up bibliographical information. What can I say? I love everything about and related to books.

call for papers: Open the Book, Open the Mind

Posted in history,scholarship by Rae on 15 September 2006

SHARP 2007 Conference: Open the Book, Open the Mind

The fifteenth annual conference of the Society for the History of 
Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) will be held in Minneapolis 
at the University of Minnesota on July 11-15, 2007. SHARP is the leading 
international association for historians of print culture, enlisting 
more than 1,200 scholars world-wide; its members study "the creation, 
dissemination, and reception of script and print, including newspapers, 
periodicals, and ephemera," as well as the history of books. The 
forthcoming conference is organized in cooperation with the College of 
Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota; University of Minnesota 
Libraries; Minneapolis Public Library; Minnesota Historical Society, and 
Minnesota Center for Book Arts -- a part of Open Book.

The conference theme, "Open the Book, Open the Mind," will highlight how 
books develop and extend minds and cultures, and also how they are 
opened to new media and new purposes. However, individual papers or 
sessions may address any aspect of book history and print or manuscript 

The conference organizers invite proposals for individual presentations, 
and also for complete panels of three presentations on a unifying topic. 
As is the SHARP custom, each session of 90 minutes will feature three 
papers of up to 20 minutes, providing time for substantive discussion 
with members of the audience. Proposals should be submitted via the 
online conference website by November 30, 2006: please go to 
http://purl.oclc.org/NET/SHARP2007proposals and follow the directions 
provided there.

Each individual proposal should contain a title, an abstract of no more 
than 300 words, and brief biographical information about the author or 
co-authors. Session proposals should explain the theme and goals, as 
well as include the three individual abstracts.

Each year SHARP provides funding support for a few partial travel grants 
for advanced graduate students and for independent scholars. If you 
would like to apply for such support please do so online, as you submit 
your proposal.

In keeping with the theme of the conference, a "pre-conference" of 
practical workshops and a plenary session devoted to book arts and 
artists' books will be held at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts at 
Open Book, near the University of Minnesota campus, on Tuesday, July 10, 
2007. Details about that pre-conference and about the main conference 
program, registration, and housing arrangements will be made available 
early in 2007 at the general conference web site, 
http://www.cce.umn.edu/conferences/sharp. Much information about SHARP 
2007 and its location, including hotel-reservation information, is 
already available there.
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