lotesse: (starmap)
I get to work on Sor Juana this week yay! I saw her name in the files list, but was sure the assignment would have already gone out to someone. God she's the best. So excite.

Can any of y'all recommend resources for a Japanese ESL student dealing with college-level intro to composition coursework? My daddy goes soaring with a Japanese girl who's doing the aviation program at the local community college, and I guess she broke down on him last Sunday out at the airfield, overstressed and undersupported, so we're trying to help her out. I had her bring her materials to a meeting yesterday and sat with her for a bit; it looks to me like the main problem she's having is that she's having to deal so slowly and carefully with the language-comprehension stuff that she's not able to keep her thoughts clear, or cut through bullshit. There's also an awful lot of bullshit - I took the course she's in, long time passing, and it's comp-through-analysis-of-American-stereotypes, pretty much, and she neither knows nor really needs to know those stereotypes - but she does have to get through this class and the one after it in the comp sequence. I suggested audiobooks when possible, told her to stop writing in GoogleDocs and get herself a darn word processor with a spellchecker, but I was wondering if those of you who are trained for ESL education, or who have specific experiences with a Japanese/American situation, would know of anything more directly relevant to her needs.
lotesse: (genius)
Wow reading post-TS-by-BS Sentinel fic is a really different experience once you've started and abandoned a dissertation and an academic career. Damn.
lotesse: (faerie)
some links, mostly about gender violence, abuse, and affective labor/exhaustion:

this comment on Jezebel about gaslighting was helpful for me in figuring out why I've found the UCSB murders and the conversations in their aftermath so profoundly triggering

Re-imagining Disclosure as a Collective Act of Listening over at thefeministwire: "this formulation is that the burden of social change is placed upon those least empowered to intervene in the conditions of their oppression. The figure of the subaltern, or the survivor, gaining voice captures our political imaginary, shifting the focus away from the labor that might be demanded of those in positions of power to learn to listen to subaltern inscriptions—those modes of expression that are often interpreted as ‘silence.'"

Abuse as DDoS at Model View Culture: "DDoS attacks are so difficult to deal with largely because of their distributed nature. Even if the individual attacks aren’t particularly powerful, deal with one and dozens more will sprout up like some terrible mythical creature. Systemic abuse in the tech industry is also like this. Even seemingly minor acts of misconduct become a problem because they don’t happen in isolation."

also from the same issue of Model View Culture, The Fantasy and the Abuse of the Manipulable User: "Social media’s social-reinforcement mechanisms are also far more powerful. The “network effects” that make fledgeling social media sites less useful than already-dominant platforms also serve to lock existing users in. It’s difficult to practically set boundaries against existing social media products which have historically served one and one’s friends. People’s natural desire to be in contact with their loved ones becomes a form of social coercion that keeps them on platforms they’d rather depart. This coercion is picked up on and amplified by the platforms themselves - when someone I know tried to delete his Facebook account, it tried to guilt him out of it by showing him a picture of his mother and asking him if he really wanted to make it harder to stay in touch with her."

The Empathy Trap at Hook and Eye: "I mean really, what responses are left when faced with someone you ostensibly respect who hasn't found a place in the system? You tell them they matter. The work they do matters. You tell them that it stinks that they don't have stable work and that it is unfair. And probably it is unfair, but there you are, face-to-face, at a stalemate. If you're jobbed and you care then you're inevitably in a position of empathy. You are in a position of relative privilege. If you're not jobbed and you care, then you're in the position of needing to tell the caring person you're ok. You'll manage. Because honestly, it is the system, it isn't them. This, friends, is the empathy trap. It is a real thing and we are all, one way or another bound up in it, be we jobbed, not jobbed, or somewhere in between."
lotesse: (freedom)
bell hooks ain't wrong. have been experiencing SO much anger watching as pop feminism and its whiteboy hangers-on dismiss her as old, jelly, a bitch. you sit your ass down so it can get schooled, ms. hooks is willing to dispense a drop of her brilliance & you should be grateful.

I've been thinking a lot about Audre Lorde's language, which hooks refers to above: the master's house will never be dismantled by the master's tools. When I first read that back in college I heard it but was resistant, I think because I was still so deeply in at that point with white man's culture. I was all Tolkien and Joss Whedon and I wanted to dismantle patriarchy with Buffy and I wanted it to work. And of course I was just really coming in to "wifely" living with my whiteboy partner.

The place where I'm at now? If I could have believed Lorde then, maybe I never would have come to be here. I get why the process was necessary, but - I had thought that I could work revolution from within, you know? marry a man and have his children and raise them to be feminists. get a cozy academic job working with old white culture in new intersectional ways, that'll work out just fine, right? I didn't, I haven't LIKED to acknowledge the depth of white culture's damage and complicity, but I'm realizing now that it's emotionally and psychologically dangerous not to. Like, it should not have been so surprising to me that the Victorian Studies department of Indiana University wasn't all that in to revolution. Lipservice yes, but if you rock the boat too hard stuff gets wet; maybe your scholarship on Dickens stops being seen as so centrally significant, maybe your dept switches places with the black studies dept and YOU have to be the poor underfunded sideshunted ones.

well, above, bell hooks said it pretty good: we're not going to be able to take our wealth with us through decolonization.

I'm going to try and listen better.
lotesse: (merlin_morgana)
Thanks for all the supportive comments over the last coupla weeks, y'all; you guys make such a big difference in my life. Nothing better than falling into media fandom has, like, ever happened to me. I'm doing okay. Feeling grouchy, which is prolly a good sign. I still got to get myself a new apartment this next week, and then I can get back to stressing about academic ish full-time!!! Naw, don't listen to me.

Man, I don't know why I don't just watch Shameless all the cotdamn time. Because it is my kind of shit. It is so good to see representations of being poor. I'm not Gallagher-type poor, tho I come from Chicago-poor stock - but my people are hippieshit backwoods artsy types for the most part, conjobbery on the side not front and center. But I am having so many feelings about Lip and college and how fucking bullshit it is that the American educational system is clogged with all this suburban whitebread babysitting timewasting felgercarb. The question isn't "how will we use this in the real world," it's "is the purpose of this lesson to efficiently inform us or help us acquire a skill, or is it just another hoop to jump through, another way to waste our time?"

I am NEVER going to say that learning is pointless, or even a bad idea, because I am SO DOWN with knowledge for knowledge's sake - but at the same time, how the fuck much time and money can you ethically mandate kids need to spend faffing around on distribution requirements when some people legit need to be living their lives at the same time? The pursuit of a well-rounded education ought to be a joyful supplement to a working life. I want both at once, jam and bread all together - anyway, why is it such a big thing to expect, to be able to have a home and a family and a work and learning too? I empathize a lot with Lip's emotional tension, his irritation at ritualized college social scenes combined with the intense affective pull of his family. I feel that now; I'm sick of living away from my people. And it was weird for me too back as an undergraduate, because I was also essentially a new wife at nineteen/twenty, keeping my first house, and that put me out of step with the private liberal arts college scene. But lots of the girls I grew up with were getting married and having first babies at that point in their lives.

Iiiiii need to get more freelance writing assignments and get paid, y'all.

eta: and anyway what's up with notjob disciplinarians who teach Foucault? do they not cognitive dissonance?
lotesse: (downton_beauty)
Lately I've been feeling the lure of the one-card tarot draw; until now, I've always worked from a six-card array, but the simplicity of the single card, not a pattern but an insight, is currently appealing to me. Last night I drew the Hanged Man ill-dignified, self-sacrifice and seeing strange; this evening I drew the Nine of Wands ill-dignified, which is a card my mother usually draws, a card about solar energy which for me is about the house I grew up in that was built to trap the sun, and upright it's about achievement but reversed it's bad faith, closed-down conversations, lack of initiative.

Had a fight with mom and dad last night; mama was taking out frustrations, and so was dad I think tho also quite intoxicated which makes him an asshole particularly to me. Patched things over with mom last night, sort of, and sent dad an email just now letting him know that I'm not cool with being his vent. Everyone's tired of me being depressed - as if I'm not.

Writing fic, a little - I'm trying something sort of ambitious for Yuletide this year, doing one of the stories I always wanted to write but didn't see enough audience to justify the effort, and it's nice to be back to spitting out words with some regularity. I dunno about how good those words are, but am not minding that right now.

I'm not really moving forward on academic stuff - still in a bit of a slump, too tangled up in unidentified emotion & baggage to deal with my document proper. I am working laterally, tho, exploring and digesting and regrouping; my project isn't off my mind. Am procrastinating marking papers; am sure I will lady up and get on with them sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Rewatching White Collar and Due South. Quite liking the new season of WC, looking forward to next week (El there behind Peter's shoulder, Neal speaking to them both - !). Also watching and enjoying the new series of Downton Abbey, shipping Mary/Branson all the way, and thinking that Edith's been looking tres chic, good for her poor dear, also god rich people really do have endless time to dramatize god damn.
lotesse: (academia)
I need advice. I wish I had someone on faculty here that I could turn to, that I felt like I could be straight-up enough with, but I don't. So I'm turning to you guys.

This dissertation prospectus thing has been such a fucking nightmare - and I think one of the reasons is that I've been overreactive to faculty comments in terms of changing my topic. I've written up like six different projects and abandoned them. The situation as it stands now is this: I have 2/3rds of a prospectus written up about the problem of feminine sympathy and the Contagious Diseases Acts. Most of what I need to do is further primary research, pulling out some specific instances and quotes and things. My advisor likes it, because it's properly historicist - as soon as I mentioned the CD Acts in one of our meetings I could see him light up. I CAN execute the project - but I really don't want to. I just want to talk about books :(

I've done a lot of work on the sisters Brontë over the years, them being my favorites and all, and I have material on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Villette that could turn into chapters; I was also thinking about my Rochester-reading, picking at the bits of him that don't fit the Byronic mode. I'm sure I could find a fourth thing to work on there, probably Gondal to get Emily into the picture.

I WANT to write about the Brontës, but I also just want to get out of this hell already. Do I just need to suck it up and finish the CD Acts project and get myself the fuck out of grad school? It's been a month since I've worked on anything, recovering from the stupid unnecessary fiasco that was my August defense, and I think my internal anxiety about it all has been starting to ratchet up again. I feel guilty for not working.

(also they are STILL cutting down trees along the drive, and it's driving me mad.)
lotesse: (firefly_harlot)
Welp, y'all, my prospectus defense is tomorrow. I am scared shitless. I'm prepared, I have a strong project - I think, but I've been at cross-purposes with the program so often in the last year and a half that I've gone gunshy and kind of expect to have it all end in fire and death. Somehow.

Just have to get through today w/o letting the panic ride me too hard. I stayed up late last night reading oldskool Remus/Sirius; I think I will go back to doing that now.
lotesse: (btvs_wishverse)
So right now I feel like I should thank, like, the entirety of the Due South fandom. Because y'all are giving me some of the best and most healing reading experiences of my life.

I think that it took me a while to really fall into due South because I was having an interpretation error: I have an impossibly hard time understanding Benton Fraser as anything like a remotely unreliable narrator. He is, but his mindset it just so familiar, so much like my own, that his thoughts feel like my thoughts and I always believe him. Instead of reading him as a sweet but screwed up guy, I'm right there next to him, going: stand your ground, maintain the right, always get your man, love can move mountains, the truth is the most powerful thing there is.

personal stuff and also a DS-fandom-wide lovefest behind the cut )
lotesse: (merlin_morgana)
I just realized that there's going to be a commentary track on the Avengers DVD. Yay! There are few things I love harder than Joss Whedon commentary tracks and their mix of nerdiness, formalism, and politics, and I could really happily listen to him talk about comic book superheroes and their ways for 2+ hours.

I'm in a weird place right now - my exam process really burned me out, and I'm having an almost pavlovian negative response to the nineteenth century at present. Which, on the one hand, I've got months before my dissertation prospectus has to be written, and it might not be the worst thing in the world for me to cool it, backbrain some stuff, and see if I can't sort of reclaim my life from university stuff. I might even, you know, finish a fic one of these days. But on the other I feel ishy about it, because the nineteenth century is almost like a fandom, right, and this is pretty much the first time I've ever actually burned myself out of a fandom. Also I have to present research at the NAVSA conference in Madison next week, should probably start caring about at the very least Middlemarch again.

I'm doing a lot of physical maintenance atm, in the hopes that curing the body will also cure the mind. So I'm getting chiropraction, which I've needed for years, and doing a food cleanse with no wheat, caffeine, or cocoa, since those are my personal poisons. But I still feel really tired and unsparkful. Thank god electoral politics have been so entertaining this week - it's a good brain distraction, and with the sheer amount of horrible Mittens Romney's produced in the last week alone it's becoming nicely farcical.
lotesse: (earthsea_tenar)
exam passed. so tired. brb sleeping forever.
lotesse: (falling)
God I'm just so tired. I just want it all to stop. I miss feeling okay.
lotesse: (narnia_lucy)
JFC so much work. Drowning in words send help and/or gifs.

All of these things come due next week:
-exam list. With alllll kinds of internally inconsistent input from the members of my committee.
-teaching proposal for the dirt discourses class. Am debating whether Nella Larsen is too long, whether I should add a scene from Boucicault's "The Octoroon" for lulz, or if Victorian melodrama humor is one of those things that does not translate to people outside of the field.
-portfolio for teaching award. Seriously, uni, if you want to give me awards that's great and everything, but I do not appreciate them coming with extra work attached in order to even compete.
-trial assignment for a summer freelance position with Thomas Riggs: a 1,000 word bio of Anne Wharton, who I'd never heard of but seems way cool.
-grading, eternally.

I miss having time to do research. And it's like 80 degrees out so I don't even have a brain right now. I just wanna listen to Tom McRae forever.
lotesse: (lotr_samwise)
Heard a great lecture from Suzanne Keen today - I think I need to my by own copy of her book Empathy and the Novel.

my answers to the ten-questions meme from this weekend, each comprising a nice little babble: Fullmetal Alchemist, SG-1, the Aubreyad, The Dark is Rising, Prydain, Eight Cousins, Star Wars, Downton Abbey, and Westmark.

I am sitting here morbidly avoiding the tab in which I have opened today's Mark Reads - it's the Choices of Master Samwise today, and I can't take this chapter, I can't, just thinking of it makes me start tearing up, I couldn't read this chapter aloud to my little sister when we were kids because it made me cry so hard. I love it so, it's the most beautiful thing that's ever happened to me. And I have the tab open and I keep, like, accidentally switching to it and then covering it up again really quick.

...

Oh, hell. Now I am crying. God, Samwise, Samwise, Samwise. Further inarticulate muttering and general weeping & gnashing of teeth will continue until morale improves.
lotesse: (books_sapphic)
Do any of you have any intel on the nature of Jesuit universities/colleges? I have a cousin who'll start college year after next, and she's looking for a city school in the Great Lakes area. Both Loyola and DePaul are good geographic options, but we're concerned about dropping her into a politically conservative environment - and about financially supporting a religious institution. Thoughts? Opinions? Anecdata? What actually happens when religious institutions sponsor educational ones?
lotesse: (books_sapphic)
I'm reading James Eli Adams' book A History of Victorian Literature - exams approach apace - and thinking about a conversation I had with my mama over holiday about history and social justice. Neither of my parents quite understand how they came to raise a Victorianist. I think papa was hoping for a philosopher or a mediaevalist, and mama for a poet. And mama was asking me why, if I was bent on doing this feminism thing, I'd choose such a repressive era. (Oh, historiomythic accounts of the nineteenth century!)

Adams articulates, in his introduction, something that I tried to point out to her (though with less rhetorical aptitude): "Much of the elaborate etiquette that we think of as distinctly Victorian – rituals of introduction, calling cards, the chaperoning of unmarried women, intricate decorums of dress – is at root a strategy for coping with social mobility, by affirming one’s own claims to recognition while at the same time maintaining a distance that allows one to “place” new acquaintances (Davidoff 1973). The Victorian novel developed into a form uniquely suited to represent these dynamics, capturing the textures of social interaction, aspiration, and anxiety, within which social hierarchy could seem both a stimulus and a barrier to personal achievement" (&). This seems really key to me: the moment when society pushes hardest on the brake has to also be the moment when everything is already different, and folk just haven't figured out how to deal with it yet.

Which, actually, gives me some hope for the present political scene. This much repression must mean that, somewhere down deep, we're doing something right.

Tangential, but not unconnected: I have a politics question for those of y'all who inhabit the United Kingdom. I have a feeling that the very simplistic definitions of "whig" and "tory" I've hacked together aren't capturing the entire social context. In my own milieu I can trace all the strands of culture and lifetyle that make up US Republicans and Democrats, even down to breaking each group into a number of subsets: Repubs = Boston Brahmins, The One Percent, Rural Racists, Christian Evangelicals, ect. But I can't seem to get a real grip on Whigs and Tories. I'm guessing they don't just simply map onto US political categories, amirite? How do you understand those terms/groups/identities?
lotesse: (neverland)
Am reading Peter Pan criticism. A large number of persons in the 70s and 80s are Freudian and sexist and wrong. I am tagging their articles as such, in all caps, as I save and download them.
lotesse: (fairytale_goldenbird)
1. Kicked ass on my remaining paper - I now have 14 coherent pages of text! Out of, like, 20-something. And all the words, you know, make sense and mean things.

2. Finished - not my yuletide fic proper, that I've scarcely begun, though I'm up on the source canon now & have some decent ideas - but a treat I'd set aside to write. And tidied up some of the loose bits of Prydain stuff I produced while working on Airy cages quelled; some should be in postable shape soon. Hadn't written creatively for a while, and it felt lovely to get back in that mode.

3. My advent gift for the day was a pair of gorgeous antique clip-on rhinestone earrings in the shape of two little interlocking squares. I suspect them of being my great-grandmother's, but will have to wait until tomorrow to get confirmation from mama. Grandma Margaret never pierced her ears - just like me! - but she worked as a lounge pianist in the 40s, so her bling was pretty fab. Most of the rhinestone earrings I've got were hers - since I'm the only one in the family who remains unpierced, they tend to come my way.

4. JFC SHERWOOD SMITH PUBLICLY RECCED MY YULETIDE 2009 STORY AGAIN. FLAILING! VALIDATION! HOMG HOMG HOMG!
lotesse: (books_rereading)
The thing you don't know about Catherine Gallagher when you've only read her writing is that she also does all the voices. Heathcliff voices = pretty much best Victorian lit. lecture ever.

Out on the farm for the night, with my auntie and a soap opera and a fire and a bottle of Shiraz and an odd group of integrating cats & dogs.
lotesse: (sarc_overqualified)
Ohhh, internet, I just sent scary emails! I hate having to ask for things from profs that I'm not sure of getting - it triggers every single social anxiety I've got. The process of assembling a qualifying exam committee could not be more perfectly designed to screw with my head, I swear.

Now I'm all shaky and post-adrenal. And I have to go get dressed to teach. Shit.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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