A few more weeks left in Boston

An infographic explaining the origins behind Boston’s neighborhood names. via Reddit

My dear readers,

I am about to reach the end of my sabbatical year. I am formally on leave until the end of July 2019 but I will probably be at work by June. In fact, there are already thesis committee duties by May 22. In most of Boston stay, I was sort of in a reading camp. After more than two months very routinized life I have succeeded to finish three pieces I was working on: An encyclopedia entry on algorithms and gender bias. A book chapter on Aktrolls (based on my previous work but with all new material) and a book on social media and politics in Turkey. Well, the last one should be my first real book level work all written by me. They are all the hands of reviewers now. So in this respect, my mission is accomplished. I do not think I am behind in terms of following theoretical developments. Just that, when you are in Turkey, you remain in the periphery. I should, at least, force myself to attend workshops and conferences abroad more in the future.

I have already told in my previous special post that Boston has become one of my all-time favorite cities. It is a haven for an academic. I believe I have spent a good time here. In my remaining weeks, I hope to have a road trip over Vermont and then a few places south of Boston. If I can do that, I might write a separate post.

I have attended many conferences. Met with some scholars. Fewer scholars than I hoped. They are all busy people and I am not sure if I have met, there could be more productive engagements. For instance, the director of Media Lab is so busy that he could not spare a 15 minute. “His schedule is full until June” It is all about money. The lab is so engaged with industry is that there is no place for outsiders. I took a mental note to always allocate time for academics/ or visitors in my future positions.

Probably Spring has come for Bostonians but for me, it is a little bit cold. Photo by Erkan Saka

Like in Irvine, I did not have a very social life but that’s ok. I will be back to a socially intense life. The sabbatical period was probably my last less-social period. Although I am sometimes anxious that I might end up with some jail time. I cannot guess what kind of evil plans some authorities are up to. The law became so arbitrary that you can never guess. But let’s hope for the best.

One of the things I could not do was to go to Toronto. I just could not deal with the Canada visa application. Toronto is close to Boston and one of the most devoted readers of this blog lives there. I am so sad I could not succeed in that.

Bostonians are essentially helpful people but they never smile at you. After spending some time in Texas and California, they look very cold-hearted. But that does not mean they are. They are still helpful but they seem to get rid of all shallow goodwill gestures (!)


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