Conferences

Join Us for “Building a Feminist Future” at HASTAC 2017

HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities is right around the corner and I am so excited to be chairing the panel, “Building a Feminist Future: On (Digital) Pedagogical Praxis” (Friday, November 3, 1:45 PM – 3:15 PM in CB1-105; Session Number: FSA01).

Organized and facilitated by Emily EstenMelissa MeadeDanica SavonickWhitney Sperrazza, and Heather Suzanne Woods this session will be interactive–not your regular conference panel–and depend heavily on audience engagement. We will work together to explore what a feminist classroom looks and feels like and discuss strategies that you can integrate into your everyday teaching practices. The goal is to crowd-source a range of methods and resources that will be made available to all educators committed to feminist and antiracist pedagogy. Needless to say, this panel speaks to the Futures Initiative and HASTAC‘s emphasis on higher education as a public good.

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Research

Following Wild Mushrooms: A Letter to Anna Tsing

Dear Anna,

I have been a fan of your work since I read Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005) at the beginning of my graduate studies, so I don’t know why it has taken me this long to pick up The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015). But since I started reading it in late August, I can’t stop thinking about your project.

It offers such a captivating invitation- to follow the lifeways of matsutake, wild mushrooms, and the lives it assembles. Who would’ve thought that a project could be built around a single type of mushroom? …But you did. I’m sure there were and still are people who would dismiss a work like this for daring to focus on something so small and, some would say, insignificant. And yet, you elegantly show us how following matsutake opens up whole worlds.

Your work has attuned me to new ways of seeing and understanding received categories and concepts–capitalism, ecology, labor, freedom, precarity, and ruin. I am still in awe of how deftly you take readers from the day-to-day struggles of mushroom foragers searching for matsutake in the forests of Oregon and the complicated stories of how and why they began picking mushrooms for a living, to consider broad-scale questions about ecological devastation and forest renewal, to how matsutake enter capitalist markets and informal gift economies in Japan.

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Research

Writing about the Dissertation

As I prepare for dissertation workshops and fellowship applications in the fall, I am reminded of this important piece of mentoring advice:

Don’t just write your dissertation, but write about it and often.

Writing about your project can be frustrating, unnerving, and even painful, but I have found that it keeps me grounded- it forces me to think about the stakes of my work and reminds me of who I am speaking to, which can be incredibly energizing. In light of this, I have decided to share some of the writing “about” my  dissertation that Duncan Faherty (Associate Professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY)  invited us to complete for the American Studies dissertation workshop I am taking this fall. As always, it took me longer than expected to complete (and is of course far from perfect), but it did get me thinking about my project and the challenge of communicating it to others who might not be familiar with my topic or areas of research.

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