In the last week or so, I have found two short-term but remunerative pieces of academic work. Firstly, I will be giving a lecture on July 10th to a group of American undergraduates on Canada/US security and defence cooperation since September 11th. The lecture is part of a program being run by Regent University, in association with Hertford College, in which American undergrads are coming to Oxford to learn about strategic studies. Since the topic I have been assigned is almost exactly what the NASCA report was about, and I did a considerable amount of background research before we went to Colorado Springs, that should just be a matter of bringing things back together in a way that will fit into an hour and be accessible to people unfamiliar with the topic. My provisional outline will be to cover:
- Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom
- The creation of USNORTHCOM and the Bi-National Planning Group
- Canada’s decision regarding Iraq
- NORAD and missile defence
- And border security, including the Smart Border Declaration
Obviously, it cannot be covered comprehensively in an hour. Given that they probably won’t be at all familiar with Canada’s security role after September 11th, it is probably fine to just cover the basics well and then answer any specific questions afterwards.
The other teaching job is to read three papers and conduct three tutorials on the Camp David Accords. These will be with an American high school student who will be in Oxford for a few weeks as part of a program being run by St. Hugh’s. I should get the first paper by next Sunday, then discuss it on the Monday or Tuesday of that week. For the next two weeks, I am to suggest additional paper topics to be completed and discussed according to the same pattern.
To be honest, I am a bit nervous about both jobs. I’ve never actually done academic work that involves working with students in an official capacity. I have no concerns about the material for the first topic. The second, I have less expertise in. That said, the person with whom I will be working on it is in high school. By fortuitous chance, I am also writing a paper on the Arab-Israeli conflict for Dr. Hurrell. I think that if I pay special attention to material on Camp David, as well as reading a few journal articles specifically on the topic, I should be fine. Sarah P’s encouragement has also been helpful.
Actually doing work in areas that I’ve been studying for such a long time is definitely exciting, as well as slightly concerning, due to my unfamiliarity. The fact that each job pays more than anything else I have ever done is also a considerable inducement. The lecture pays as much as a day and a half at Staples, for an hour’s lecturing plus preparation time. The tutorial job pays as much as nearly five days’ work at my last summer job: enough to cover two weeks of my rent here. In addition to that, there is considerable satisfaction to be derived from doing ‘real’ work, rather than filler work intended to pay the bills.