25/03 – 30/03 Emma Southon

This week we welcome Emma, aka @nuclearteeth (I’m dying to ask if there’s a story behind this name) as our @wethehumanities curator. She’s in a position that I think many of us will identify with, PhD or not. Unemployment and underemployment touch people throughout the humanities, both in and out of academia, and we’re looking forward to the conversations Emma’s hoping to start and the honesty and insight she sounds like she’ll be bringing to her week as well as hearing more about experiences in academia so far and her passion for Caligula and Roman history.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my week as @wethehumanities and what I shall do with it. This is partly because I overthink horribly, and partly because it feels like a big responsibility: for a week I’ll be the face of humanities! I can’t talk about all humanities though, I can only talk about my role within it and the things that I love and hate about it.

It seems important first off to say where I am coming from. I consider myself an academic and a historian though I’m currently only sort of one of those things. I completed my PhD in Ancient History last year and have been working at Coventry University teaching Academic Writing since then. I’m in post-PhD hell and trying to work out where I go from here. Part of my post-PhD hell has been properly dealing with the mental illnesses that I tried to ignore while I was studying, and trying to work out if there is a place for a woman with anxiety and depression in the academy.

The second thing then, is what I want to talk about, which is mainly what I care about. I hope to use this week to find out what other humanities people are doing post-PhD or are planning on doing. I want to talk about academia, and especially the place of self-care and mental health concerns among academics. I want to talk about my research, and the emperor Caligula. I want to talk about what non-historians think about the Romans. Mainly I want to talk about the humanities, which I love and want to talk about more than anything.

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