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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Does entering the digital age mean abandoning simplicity?

IPhones were free yesterday, so we ordered them for most of the family. I’ve ordered one of the last Typo keypads available now that the maker is locked in a legal dispute with Blackberry. We are at the point where certain kinds of texts do not make it through to our flip phones, so we are obliged to move into the digital age at last.

While most of the family is thrilled, I find myself grieving a little. I have no desire for a smart phone. One of the few ways I have been able to guarantee time not working, time exclusively and truly with family, has been to leave the house. If work can reach me anywhere now, I know myself, and I have a hunch that I will grade the occasional test or essay at a ball game.

The obsession with work will not drop off my shoulders anymore when I leave my home office. It will follow me everywhere because technically – and technologically – I can do it anywhere now.

I do not want our kids to become zombies constantly checking their phones, texting in face-to-face social settings, unable and unwilling to allow themselves to be a little bored for the sake of others who need their undivided attention. They have done well with their flip phones, so perhaps this is not a concern. We shall see.

So I am trying to wrap my head around how cool it will be to …. what? What will be cool about this?

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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Life & Work


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Actually listening to “Religious Nones”

Danielle Mead Skjelver:

This conversation is so important. We can all learn from each other. One of the things I so enjoy about the ELCA (Lutheran Church) is that it is not only ok to disagree and to doubt, but that you are welcome, and you can even discuss these things!


Some of the comments from the panel:


*A perception that Church is an unsafe space for doubt and questioning. The panelists spoke of their high comfort level with not having “all the answers.”


*A deep desire for authenticity. This commitment to authenticity may mean rejecting a singular religious label because it don’t adequately capture the multiple spiritual traditions someone finds meaningful. They named a fear of “being put in a box.”


*Panelists also spoke of thinking it odd to dress up for Church. As one put it “why should I get up early on a Sunday, get all dressed up, to watch people in weird robes?” This panelist found an easier point of entry with a smaller, Saturday evening service.


*A number of the panelists, though not all, had some religious background. For these people, late teens and early twenties was a turning point in questioning and ultimately, leaving religion.


*A deep, dare I say faithful, commitment to big ideas and values. The panelists had thought a lot about how they wanted to move through the world, how they wanted to live ethically, how they wanted to change their community. They just didn’t feel the need to do it within the bounds of a religious community.


*A fullness to their own life and spirituality. As one panelist said, “I bristle at someone saying ‘I’ve got this thing you are missing.’ as if I’m lacking.”

Originally posted on RevEverett:

I really, truly heard it for the first time: “I’m not missing something,” she said. “I don’t want you to see me as lacking. I’m perfectly fine without religion.” For some reason, I finally heard this loud and clear at a panel discussion last Friday night at the New England Synod of the ELCA (video forthcoming: Mad props for attempting to live stream it!)

The professional religious world has been talking a TON about “Religious nones” since the Pew study came out in October 2012 that documented one in five Americans has no religious affiliation and one in three under 30. We’ve been talking a ton. I’m not sure we’ve been listening to “religious nones” as much as we’ve been talking about “religious nones.”

I attend Church meetings professionally. It’s an occupational hazard. Church annual meetings are mostly insider baseball: committee reports, resolutions, budgets. Church annual meetings are a space…

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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


Next Live Stream – Matthew Hammond on The People of Medieval Scotland Database

Danielle Mead Skjelver:

Great Scot! There is a “database of all known people of Scotland between 1093 and 1314 mentioned in over 8600 contemporary documents.” And there is a live stream digital history seminar about it on May 14th!

Originally posted on History SPOT:

The next IHR live stream will take place at 5.15pm on 14 May 2013 with the Digital History seminar.  Details below:

Digital History seminar
Matthew Hammond
The People of Medieval Scotland database: structure, prosopography and network visualisation
The People of Medieval Scotland 1093-1314 website (click on image to view)

The People of Medieval Scotland 1093-1314 website (click on image to view)

This is a seminar about a prosopographical database, ‘The People of Medieval Scotland, 1093-1314’, which has been in production since 2007, and which has been freely available online since the summer of 2010. Since the relaunch of the database last year, we have had over 40,000 unique visitors from across the globe. Now nearing completion, the database contains records on over 20,000 individuals, drawn from over 8500 medieval, mostly Latin documents. The paper will examine some of the PoMS project’s technical innovations as well as the new directions we hope to take in the coming years.

The seminar will…

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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


Candles to Mark the End of Nazi Occupation in Denmark

Candles in the Window Jyllands-Posten

Candles in the Window

For decades, Danes have been lighting candles in their windows on the night of May 4th to mark the end of 5 years of German occupation. Sadly, the tradition is dying out. 

A candle in the window marks so many things. When we moved to NC, there were candles guiding soldiers home, so to speak. Some did it as a holdover from the Civil War. When we moved to Rugby, and my husband was in Iraq, we had candles in the window for him.


Ten Tips for a New Graduate Student

Danielle Mead Skjelver:

Outstanding Advice: “Work harder than everyone you know and collaborate with people smarter than you. My experience is that these two things are related. Smart people have better ideas, get more opportunities, and generally have more fun. Part of the reason that they are successful is they have less smart collaborators and colleagues who work really really hard. Work hard and smart people will let you ride their coattails.”

Originally posted on The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World:

This evening I’m taking out a couple of my students who have been accepted into graduate school for next year. I threatened (offered?) to give them my list of ten tips to being a successful graduate student (also know as “things that I wish I had done in graduate school or did, but only by accident). I riffled through my harddrive and found a few versions of it and decided to compile them into one list. 

This list is directed at prospective graduate students in my field and it reflect my mistakes and successes more than anything else. 

1. Have fun. Graduate School is fun. Resist the urge to rush through the program toward an uncertain future. Don’t dawdle by any means, but make sure to savor your time in graduate school. Chances are that your graduate school environment will be the most supportive, robust, and dynamic that you experience…

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Life & Work


Um. No.

Screen Shots from Aftenposten

Screen Shots from Aftenposten

I’ve been watching the Scandinavian press chuckle over the History Channel series “Vikings” for awhile. Most recently, Aftenposten pointed out Uppsala’s sudden move to the mountains, courtesy of the series.

In reality, Uppsala looks a bit like Nebraska with water.

So, just in case it needs saying since the show is on the History Channel, the series is pretty much fun, silly fantasy.

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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in History


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