Catching Up, Conferences and All

I’m obviously having trouble keeping up with blogging this semester.

I’m teaching two courses, which means a lot of grading and responding to student emails and work. Plus, even though I always tell myself I’m not going to, I take up their drafts and give them feedback–so I’m really grading every paper twice. Times 44. Times four projects a semester. I’m also taking a Women’s and Gender Studies course that is more work than I anticipated.

My significant other recently underwent a change in jobs and a move from Colorado to California (which you can read about at his wonderful introspective blog, Sazon y Sofrito).

Then there’s the fact that I’m trying to keep up with studying for my comprehensive exams, which are looming in January. (To that end, I have a bunch of notes I’ll be posting soon, I hope, plus continued pages under Rock the Exam.)

This week was a busy week because I went to the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) conference which was nearby in Cincinnati this year. I presented bright and early on Friday morning, giving a shortened version of my paper on depictions of the victims of the feminicide in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Since it was so early, there were only two people in the audience, which was kind of a bummer. In a way it worked out, though, because I was asked a variant of what, to me, is the most intimidating question I could get (What is your authority/investment in this issue?) and when I punted in answering it, the stakes were very low. When I was asked why I, as a Midwesterner who has not spent time on the border, am interested in the issue, I gave a true, but weak, narrative about learning about the feminicide in a graduate seminar. Later, I gave the question more thought and came up with a much better answer–that I saw something troubling in the literary representations of Juarez because of my interests in girls and human rights, and my commitment to being an ally and advocate for more empowering spaces for girls to have agency and a voice. Because I’m committed to calling out and undermining cultural productions that present girls as weak, naive victims, the novels about Juarez made for an extreme example with real life stakes. Hindsight.

Anyway, at the conference I also went to a roundtable discussion of Girls Studies in America and abroad. It. Was. So. Good. It gave me a lot to think about for writing my dissertation prospectus, creating the course on girlhood narratives that I’m doing for my WGS final project, and just generally how I position myself as a scholar. I asked about how the panelists position themselves in a way to make themselves legible in the academy or on the job market and got some great, optimistic feedback. Hurray!

Once I can dig myself out of the backlog, I’m hoping to get back to posting more regularly. I miss you! (Or do I miss the sound of my own voice?…I miss you!)

Anyway, back to grading I go.

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