I retired from the Department in 2003 after twenty-six years on the faculty, after having served in the three ranks of the professorship, and I recently wound up my teaching career as Professor of Humanities at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. As someone whose degrees are from U.C. Berkeley (BA in English 1967; PhD in Comparative Literature 1972), I have indelible memories of the years I spent here, from the time I first walked into classes taught by the likes of Thom Gunn and Alain Renoir until recent years. I am grateful to the colleagues from whom I absorbed so many insights over that time.
I continue to work on projects that fascinate me. These mostly have to do with the origins of English literature in the period of cultural synthesis that followed the adoption of Christianiity by the Germanic-speaking peoples of Britain (Beowulf and all that). My next book project, however, is a study of long-term changes and continuities in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
My 2022 book Webspinner: Songs, Stories, and Reflections of Duncan Williamson, Scottish Traveller is linked to a website, Scottish Voices, that provides public access to a comprehensive selection of still photos, audio clips, and video clips drawn chiefly from field research I undertook in Scotland during the 1980s and early 1990s: https://search.library.wisc.edu/digital/AScottishVoicesColl.
I have recently been researching island cultures and maritime cultures in connection with a book project centered geographically on the islands of Mull, Iona, and Staffa in the Western Isles of Scotland. In addition, I have been researching the archaeology of Iron-Age Eurasia with an eye to putting pressure on the category of the “Germanic” — one that has long been enshrined in Early Medieval studies to the possible strait-jacketing of that field.