Looking forward to 2021

We are all agreed that 2020 was a challenging year. To be sure, we will be affected by this year and its events for many more to come. Whereas the era of Covid-19 has brought many setbacks, we also are learning how much we have to improve and develop, personally and socially. With the year of 2021 on the doorstep, I thought it would be an ideal time to provide a quick status report and provide a roadmap for my plans in 2021.

First, I plan to bring the 2D and 3D Material Reconstruction of the Dead Sea Scrolls series to a conclusion. This series provides an alternative to the Milik/Stegeman method, as it is the first method to utilise digital technologies to reconstruct fragmentary corpora. We have some exciting things yet to address in this series. Many of the items discussed are fully explained in my doctoral thesis, which I will speak more about below.

Second, I plan to start a new series on Ethics and Ethical Readings in Digital Humanities in July of 2021. I have spent the last five years working in a (quasi) digital humanities projects. I would like to pause and reflect on my work in this project. In June, I will publish an introductory essay, wherein I will introduce the themes of interest and outline of the series. I plan to develop these essays into larger discussions regarding the future of philology in the area of artificial intelligence. I have reached out to a publisher, and hope to hear back soon.

Lastly, I will defend my thesis very soon. In discussion with my advisors, we thought it best to wait to 2021 for the oral defense (viva). This decision was based on many factors, and I truly appreciate my advisor’s input and advice on the matter. Meanwhile, I am preparing my thesis for publication.

In short, 2021 will bring certain challenges as I continue my search for employment amidst a post-2020 Covid era. I suspect the pains of 2020 will continue to ring throughout the discourses and events of 2021, but I remain hopeful that we are on the cusp of meaningful development and healthy change. As a first generation academic, I faced many financial issues in 2008–2010. At the time, I wanted to attend graduate school, but was set back due to the financial crisis. I taught myself how to write code and program. I transformed a horrible experience into something positive, as my programming skills provided the opportunity to support my family and attend graduate school. My days were long, as I would awake at 3:00 am and research until 7:00 am, then head off to campus after breakfast with my family. I stayed at campus until 3:00 pm, at which time I returned to my home office to work until 9:00 or 9:30 pm. Those were long days. I will likely face those types of days again, as I continue to search for a job. I remain hopeful that something will open up—even if that means I forge a new path for myself. Whatever the case, I wish us all the best in the new year.

Happy New Year to all!

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