deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Tressie McMillan Cottom isn't a techie; she's an academic specialising in "education, inequality, and organizations". I've been fascinated by her blogging on her research topic: for-profit education. Tressie has worked in both for-profit and non-profit, so she has a bigger grasp of the distinctions than many of us who are advocates for one side or the other.

Anyway, today -- presumably not for Ada Lovelace Day; Tressie's not, as I said, in tech -- she coincidentally posted: "One of These Things is Not Like The Other: Speaking While Black."

On the trip from the ballroom to the lounge I was stopped by three black hotel staff workers. I’m used to this. They are often older, but not always. Either way, they’ve worked in places like the Hilton for many years and they have rarely, if ever, seen someone who looks like me — like them — on the stage. They want me to know they’re proud of me. I’m a good southern girl so I mind my manners and my elders. I say yes ma’am, I’m in school. Yes, sir, my momma sure is proud of me. Thank you for praying for me.

Even my colleagues make a point of telling me that they are proud, of acknowledging my existence. A loquacious, entertaining, generous senior professor from Illinois bee-lined towards me as I found an empty seat. He didn’t even bother with introductions, as family is liable to do. He just started in with, “i sure did like seeing you up there.” I know what he means but he wants me to be clear. He goes on to tell me how long he has come to events like this and how rarely he has seen a brown face at the front of the “big room”

He asked what, by the end of the day, I was asked about half a dozen times: “how did that happen?!”


We're making excellent (if slow) inroads into getting more female representation of speakers at tech conferences. I hope we're ready to make similar inroads with the vast racial disparity (at least at every tech conference I've ever attended, in the US and in Europe).

Tressie's post is illuminating. She's a model for me, even though our fields of interested don't overlap at all.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, everybody.

And, hey, just to make this an official Ada Lovelace Day post, here's to Kimberly Bryant, founder of the amazing Black Girls Code. I don't know that much about her that I haven't read in press for BGC, but that's impressive enough:

Kimberly’s daughter, who is currently in middle school, has been interested in technology and an avid gamer since the age of 8. Several years ago, after realizing her daughter would frequently get bored with videogames, Kimberly wanted to show her how to make one and enrolled her in a summer game development program at Stanford. “It was a great experience for her,” explains Kimberly. “But there were only about 3 girls out of approximately 25 students and she was the only person of color enrolled.”

As a result of these experiences, Kimberly decided to launch Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit that encourages young minority women to pursue a career in technology by providing them with workshops and after-school programs focused on a wide range of tech-related topics. “Our goal,” Kimberly explains, “is to address the gender and diversity gap in technology and to feed girls into the STEM pipeline as early in their development years as possible.”


--"Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code"
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
After five awesome years, I'll be taking a hiatus from teaching my F & SF for children's and young adults class. I'm also going back to school for a third master's: computer science, this time. So that happened.

These are actually unrelated events, except inasmuch as I wouldn't be doing an MS program if I were still teaching. Once I realized I was taking a break from teaching, it occurred to me I'd have the time at last to take advantage of the free tuition benefit offered by my employer. That I went in about a week from "Maybe I should take some classes" to "You know what would be awesome? A degree program!" is par for the course of [personal profile] deborah. I would crack myself up if I didn't have to live with the aftermath of being me.

As I prepare for the mental shift from teaching master's students to being one, I think I might take some serious time to brush up my programming-by-voice skills. I haven't really spent any spoons on rewiring my brain for better dictation in years -- I don't use Natlink/Vocola or Utter Command or Dragonfly or even VoiceCode. When I was younger I was spending everything I had learning to function again, and then I knew all kinds of cruddy workarounds and just wrote terrible DNS scripting commands for Perl. And besides these days I can type a little.

I don't think my rotten VB workarounds and a little bit of typing will cut it for work + dreamwidth + grad school, though, so taking the time to buckle down and get better at dictating, while long overdue, is finally vital.
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My friend Jeanette needs your help. This is a letter from my friend Jeanette Beal, a blind Assistive Technology Specialist. Repost, link, let us know if you can help with publicity/media or legal aspects. If you do repost, please repost in full without cutting or summarizing.
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
I had this whole draft post written out which explained how it came to be that

came to record ourselves sitting around for several hours one wonderful afternoon talking about feminist readings of E. Lockhart's young adult novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, but Amy's introduction to the videos is so thorough and informative that I can't improve on it.

All I can say is that I will forever be grateful to the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature (where, full disclosure, I teach) for introducing me to these wonderful people1 and for giving us all the tools and the support to think about literature in so many interesting, productive ways.

Go watch the videos.

(Hey, Kristin just posted, too!)




  • Technically, fandom introduced me to Amy. She is only one of the many wonderful people introduced to me by fandom for whom I will forever be grateful. Fandom, incidentally, also gives people some pretty good textual analysis tools. [back]

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I feel that as full-time academic staff but part-time adjunct faculty I can 100% attest to the accuracy of advanced faculty wrangling techniques, which explains why cat herding is so much easier than faculty wrangling. (h/t [personal profile] pauamma)

Since I do lecture as adjunct faculty, does that mean I can publicly state my feelings about faculty? Or will I be seen to be speaking as a staff, and not as faculty? :D
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
If you haven't seen The Five Stages of Grading, I heartily recommend it.

As I grade my students' first lengthy assignment, I am relieved, not for the first time, at how difficult it would be to plagiarize an assignment in my class. Close to impossible for this assignment, and difficult though possible for the final paper.

It's not that I suspect any of my students would plagiarize -- far from it! -- but I am relieved not to have to struggle with that fear.

On one mailing list which I'm subscribed, there is currently an active discussion going on about how the desire to prevent plagiarizing in computer science classes leads to faculty making rules that make it difficult to have any kind of collaborative learning. And I empathize with both faculty and students in that dilemma. It's become so much easier to cheat in the age of the Internet, and in computer science I can't imagine how either faculty or students cope with negotiating cheating in the new era. As an adult programmer, it's accepted and encouraged practice to solve specific problems by copying someone else's code and modifying it to meet your needs. Hell, that's the principle of FLOSS, right there. But with students, you do need to teach them how to write algorithms and solve problems themselves. I'm not saying it's impossible to negotiate that terrain, but it's difficult.

So I'm grateful once again that the risk of plagiarism is not one I need to worry about. When I look at a student paper that's better than I expected that student's work to be, I can be unreservedly pleased. And these papers are better than I had expected, for first papers. And so I am, unreservedly, pleased.

Nice to remember that there are joys from grading.

Although one of them is the cat on my lap.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
It's international "closing tabs so therefore linkspam" day. Actually, that was a month ago -- if you noticed the links at the bottom of this post are fairly dated, that's why.

Scholarly Publishing: California Versus Nature, Institutional Repositories, Humanities scholarship  )


Librarians and archivists: no longer advanced )

Polymers for fuel cell technologies


Awesome thing at my university: "Polymers for fuel cell technologies". Four undergraduate interns are describing their summer research project on polymers for fuel cell technologies. Orthogonal to the science or the topic of the video, all four students are deaf or hard of hearing, and the science and the video is communicated via ASL. And thank you, Tufts Jumble, for presenting the video as being about the science. Because it is.
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Cambridge University is starting a Centre for the Study of Children's Literature. All I can say is I'm glad that I don't get any major news coverage for having Twilight on my syllabus.

Congratulations, new students, who will be getting to study with Maria Nikolajeva.

Also, jeers to the BBC article, for thinking an appropriate pull quote from the sentence "If what we regard as trash is popular with young people, we need to know why and whether, as researchers and teachers, we can offer them something that addresses the same needs but also deals with these themes in a critical and ethical way." is "Trash Is Popular". I admit Maria Nikolajeva is sometimes difficult to understand, but "if what we regard as trash is popular..." is not an unclear conditional.

H/t [livejournal.com profile] bigbrotherreads
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Tomorrow I'm going to be teaching Virginia Hamilton's The Magical Adventure's of Pretty Pearl (alongside Donna Jo Napoli's Breath and Robin McKinley's Beauty), and I have to admit I'm somewhat terrified, as a white instructor in front of a classroom of (apparently) all white students. It's such a complicated book, and I just don't feel like I have the qualification or training to deal with the text's complications, such as its valorization of the mammy figure, or the way it presents phonetically spelled-out dialect. This is doubly complicated for me by some of Hamilton's own writings on the language. When she talks about it, she acts as if she's inventing a dialect out of whole cloth, albeit somewhat researched:
"I tried to imagine what the speech patterns would be like for the first generation of blacks after surrender. I decided that the African influence would still be there in some of the characters who were with the group just as in Roots there was the African influence always on the people of that family. I tried to figure out what the language would be like from my research into the narrations from the time done by blacks, from the Caribbean dialects that I had heard and understood were pretty authentic as to the way people talked for generations in the Caribbean, and also from the way Africans speak contemporaneous today. It seemed to me that the use of "him," of the pronoun in a certain way, changed the language to make it seem older or newer in a very special way. I wanted to use "de," pronounced "deh" in the way we say "red," not in the old-fashioned way that blacks are supposed to speak, "and de (dee) man said," not that kind of thing, but "deh" which has a more flowing sound to it. That's why I included the footnote for the pronunciation: I was afraid that when people saw "de" they would pronounce it as "dee" like in the old slave narratives, and that was not what I was getting at, at all. I was trying to do different things, and I used the pronoun "him" many times in a very different way, which changes the language somewhat. It is dialect, but I don't think it's difficult; it is more language structure that has been changed than the dialect."
-- (Apseloff, Marilyn. "A Conversation with Virginia Hamilton." Children's Literature in Education, 14:1 (1983), 204-13.)
She does identify her research here, and as a complete ignoramus even I recognize certain vocabulary and dialect in Pretty Pearl having origins in Gullah, not made up entirely. But she self-identifies as an outsider to this folklore and language:
"The black folktales are uniquely southern. Many of you have known some of them all of your lives. As a northerner, I felt privileged to have got my hands on them. "
--(Hamilton, Virginia. "The Known, the Remembered, and the Imagined: Celebrating Afro-American Folktales" Children's Literature in Education , 18:2 (1987), 67-75.)
And then there are all the mammy issues, which in her own writing and talking about the book Hamilton identifies as strongly feminist, and I feel like my basic fandom/Internet-culture course in Intersectionality 101 hasn't prepared me for this. I feel like I need at least Intersectionality 201, and I probably need more historical context that I have.

You know how Zora Neale Hurston took a lot of crap for writing down oral traditions and making them available to white people? The more I prepare for this class, the more I feel like this is the kind of story which is a beautiful reworking of oral traditions for insiders, but in clumsy (my?) hands can just reinforce stereotypes among outsiders. I'm sure I don't have enough knowledge of musical history to be sufficiently lucid about the gorgeous call and response patterns the book evokes. I have only an academic knowledge of the John de Conquer stories, and though I was brought up on John Henry picture books like many American kids, they were decontextualized from their racial and class history, tossed in a pile with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox and Johnny Appleseed. I've been spending the evening reading selections from Alan Dundes' 1973 Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrel: Readings in the Interpretation of Afro-American Folklore, and the very fact that I've been finding so many of these incredibly dated essays (many from the 1930s) informative is excessively worrying.

I'm starting to think I'm not smart enough to teach Virginia Hamilton. Last year I tried to teach Justice and Her Brothers. It's bad enough that the book makes no sense without the rest of the Justice cycle. I find that trilogy too difficult for me under any circumstances. I hoped that teaching it my students might bring some insights to it but they were fairly hostile and I felt too dense about the whole thing to bring any deeper understanding.

And yet at the same time, the more I read children's literature critics discussing Virginia Hamilton, the more uncomfortable I am with their overall treatment of her. Not because it's not deserved -- Hamilton is an artist, an author who writes beautiful books that frequently made me feel like a complete idiot because they are so rich and complicated. But because the towering pedestal on which Hamilton's work is placed in the context of decades lacking any critical praise for any other black writer of children's and young adult novels feels, well, icky. How much of the praise for Hamilton's work acts as a Band-Aid making people think it's unnecessary to confront the absence of critically praised black American writers for children? Yet by raising this question, am I implying the Virginia Hamilton has received praise she hasn't deserved? Because that's not what I mean at all.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
(Update: I found the abstracts (PDF). They give a really good overview of the conference.)

I spent the weekend of 4 July (happy birthday, Berthe Erica Crow!) in Bristol, at the fabulous first ever Diana Wynne Jones conference, put together by Charlie Butler ([personal profile] steepholm) and Farah Mendlesohn ([livejournal.com profile] fjm).

I presented my paper, "Disrupted Expectations: Young/Old Protagonist in Diana Wynne Jones Novels," first, so I didn't yet realize how poor the visibility of the room was, and I didn't stand up to give my paper. Based on what I saw in later papers, I realize this was a mistake. Still, it seemed reasonably well received. Hopefully there will be conference proceedings soon, though if not, I will be putting the paper up myself.

I am writing up some of my notes from the papers for my own future reference, although what I really wish were available were the abstracts, which give you a good idea of the richness of ideas which were discussed. My notes here are very very preliminary and aren't representative of anything in particular -- only for which papers I scribbled things in the margins which I can now understand. Descriptions of some papers I'm not writing up )

Tui Head: 'The Girl in Adventure Fiction' )

Ika Willis: 'Mum's a silly fusspot: the queering of family in Diana Wynne Jones' )


Martha Hixon: 'Power Plays: Paradigms of Power in Three Jones Novels' )


Jameela Lares: 'Discovery As Virtuous Action in the Fantasy of Diana Wynne Jones' )

Deborah Gascoyne: 'Why Don't You Be a Tiger? The Performative, Transformative and Creative Power of the Word in the Universes of Diana Wynne Jones' )


Jenny Pausacker: 'The Storyteller: Counsel in Diana Wynne Jones' )


Kyra Jucovy: 'Little Sister Is Watching You: Archer's Goon and 1984' )


Caroline Webb: 'False Pretenses and the Real Show: Identity and Performance in Conrad's Fate' )


David Rudd: 'Building Castles in the Air: (De)construction in Howl's Moving Castle' )

Finally, I can't over emphasize how wonderful the conference was socially and intellectually. The level of the conversation (sitting around talking about books we've all read what other smart people) was fabulous, and meeting people whom I previously only known on the Internet, via the DWJ mailing list, LJ, or both, was just amazing. Not to mention the people I'd never known online before either, who I really did meet for the first time.

I don't want to get into naming names because then I will miss somebody and feel appallingly stupid, but [personal profile] steepholm and [livejournal.com profile] fjm of course, although for neither of them was my first time meeting them, because they have both been previously lovely hosts to the wandering American in Britain at various times. And Hallie and Katta and *brain explodes from effort of not naming everyone awesome that I met*... Also, thanks to Gili, I now have Archer's Goon in Hebrew.

On a separate note, two of my friends -- one of whom, you might have noticed, just ran an amazing conference on Diana Wynne Jones -- won Mythopoeic Awards! Congratulations, Charlie and Kristin!
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If I didn't love my job, I would be applying to be a Library Developer for LibraryThing. You don't need to be in Maine (although ability to get their is a plus). Basically, I have all of their pluses. Alas, I also love my job. One of you should apply, seriously.

[livejournal.com profile] free_govt_info wonders if the new Bush administration regulations imply that librarians can legally refuse to give out information on subjects they feel run counter to their own personal set of beliefs.

Boston College is going to stop giving freshmen e-mail accounts. The number of pedagogical and security reasons why I think this is absolutely, utterly insane is overwhelming, but since I have no control over it, I will try not to get incensed. Luckily I think they are too smart for this at Tufts.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
There's a minor kerfuffle going on in both F&SF fandom and media fandom this week about some accusations that academia is the enemy of genre fiction and of fandom, and that SF should never be taught, and that "fans don't teach" (emphasis original). Now, this amused me no end for any number of reasons (not least the assumption that the bloggers' own experiences that literary analysis lessens reading enjoyment is universal; not to mention the assertion that scholarship is "a way to secure tenure" -- excuse me while I look at my own adjunct paycheck and then ROTFLMAO), so I read without comment, and then toddled off to teach my course in F&SF for Children.

And there I realised why, perhaps, fans shouldn't teach. Because the students almost universally disliked a book I think is one of the best books of its year, a book to which I'd have given the Printz. As instructor, I had to tamp down the part of me that was screaming "Fs all around! Why didn't you like this book! Aiyee!" and replace it with the calm, collected discussion leader trying to explore the text's use of language and character development. I think I succeeded, but oh, it hurt.

And the fan in me wants to chant: "Stupid stupidheads."

(They are great students, and smart, and we have great discussions. But I question their taste.)
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All these papers will eventually be available in the Open Repositories 2008 conference repository. I'm linking to all of the placeholders; papers should be up soon.

This will be very limited liveblogging, because I'm typing in the conference and dictating betwen sessions, so I can't say much. Hopefully I'll get some good fodder for my upcoming sustainability post.

Keynote:

Repositories for Scientific Data, Peter Murray-Rust )

Session 1 – Web 2.0

Adding Discovery to Scholarly Search: Enhancing Institutional Repositories with OpenID and Connotea, Ian Mulvany, David Kane )

The margins of scholarship: repositories, Web 2.0 and scholarly practice, Richard Davis )

Rich Tags: Cross-Repository Browsing, Daniel Smith, Joe Lambert, mc schraefel )

Ow. I'm not doing this for the next session. I can blog at the breaks.
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After Henry Jenkins' male/female scholar acafan debate, he asked for feedback from the participants. I didn't contribute any, mostly because real life intervened, but I was so intrigued by the responses of those who did that I found I did need to say a little something, after all.

Here is what I sent to Henry, which will probably be added as comments to the above-linked post )
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It's odd to pull up your blogs in the morning and see your own name, you introducing yourself, at the top of the list.

Gender and Fan Culture, Round 16, Part One: Deborah Kaplan and Alan McKee, over at Henry Jenkins' place.

The generosity of Henry for making these conversations possible, the drive of Kristina Busse for rounding us all up and making this happen, and Alan McKee's all-around wonderfully funny smarts have made this entire experience a thoroughgoing pleasure. As an independent scholar, I get far too little opportunity to interact with others in media and fan studies outside of the sometimes stultifying atmosphere of conferences; this has been really a great experience for me.
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I've been far too overwhelmed to post here recently, or even to read my blogs, and for that I feel immensely guilty. I've been doing so much: getting settled in my new job at Tufts Digital Collections and Archives, working on my research on romance fiction, working (far too little) on the project I'm doing with Rebecca Rabinowitz on subversive children's literature.

I've also been talking with Alan McKee in preparation for our installation of Henry Jenkins' fangirl/fanboy detente. That has been an absolute joy. It's so wonderful whenever you find another scholar who delights in examining the same kinds of questions that you do. Both of us have found such pleasure in talking about media fandom, and I confess it has been from both a scholarly perspective and a fan perspective. This, of course, is the most wonderful part about being an acafan; the shameless delight in the subjects of our study.

I wonder how much further I would have gotten in children's literature scholarship if the academic blogging community had existed 10 years ago. Would I have made further inroads there? I've made such friends in media and fan scholarship, real genuine friends, people I love and care for -- and I suspect I will be making similar friends in romance scholarship, based on what I've seen of that community. As an independent scholar, it is so discouraging to have no infrastructure for my fields of study. And it's not like I'm not busy, it's not like I'm not doing this scholarship in my spare time after work and dinner and gardening and feeding the cats. If it weren't for the social network of wonderful people who share my interests, I don't know if I would be able to keep it up.
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(I feel like I should split my professional blog into two, so the librarians don't need to read about the scholarship and the scholars don't need to read about the librarianship. If anyone who reads this is finding the alternating posts distracting, I'd be happy to take suggestions.)

I've been contemplating a post on why I think pure literary analysis of fan fiction is a worthwhile project, because there aren't many people who are looking at fan fiction as text per se. Most scholars looking at fan fiction (and developing some very rich and fascinating scholarship, by the way, which I have no intention of denigrating) are looking at it in its context and as a part of its context. Fan fiction within fandom, within the community of readers and writers, and fan fiction as an unauthorized reworking of professionally produced media. All of the scholarship is important and interesting, but my focus is on fan fiction texts as texts.

Before I talk about why I find this important, however, I realized that I might need to start with a post on why pure literary analysis is a worthwhile project, period. I think many people come out of their schooling with the vague idea that there is a canon of worthwhile literature, and that the worthwhile literature reveals great truths under a critical lens. Maybe the canon is the Western Canon of Dead White Males, or maybe it's the postcolonial canon, or the feminist revisionist canon, or the queer canon. But no matter what list of texts is used, there is still something unique about those texts that makes further examination of them fruitful and educational, or so the thought goes.

There are plenty of schools of literary theory that aren't about exploring texts in a vacuum. In those schools, non-canonical texts can reveal plenty about the cultures in which they are created and consumed. But I do explore texts in a vacuum. It's what I love doing. I'm fascinated by other scholarship about texts in context, but it is not my thing. (After a conversation with Kristina Busse, I realized this statement can be misconstrued. I do examine cultural constructs when I do literary analysis. I will look at the workings of food or gender or sexuality or labor as I read. If I were going to identify the schools of literary theory which provides my analytical lenses, I'd end up calling myself a reader response deconstructionist who is strongly influenced by gender theory, queer theory, and Marxist theory. You know, a dilettante of a postmodernist. But I look at those cultural constructs within the text, look at how they work to create meaning internally, and I don't tend to look at the production or consumption of the texts. Of course I understand that my analysis of the cultural constructs within the text comes from my external social and cultural context; I'm not a New Critic, and I don't believe in a Platonic interpretation that exists outside of socially constructed reality. But given my limitations as a theorist who lives in the world, I remain text-focused.)

So why do I do what I do? I could come up with some great critical and scholarly justifications for looking at non-canonical texts in this way. I could talk about how learning to be a close reader makes us better citizens of the world, better able to interpret the bombardment of information that exists in our world. But I'm not going to make those justifications. There's only one real reason my scholarship is what it is.

I love close reading. Love love love. Love like a much loved thing.

I love finding new tricks in a text, new ways to influence towards a specific interpretation. I love finding self-deconstructing moments in which the text works against its own project. I love the poetry of the subtle ways in which words create layers and layers of meaning, and I love peeling back those layers to see the artistry. I love that artistry both when it was probably created by authorial intent (I recently noticed the extremely subtle Odyssey parallel running through Julia Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton), and I love it when it was almost certainly not created by authorial intent (the feminist and anarchist interpretations of Paradise Lost which are so powerful) -- and this is one of the core reasons why I find author intent irrelevant, because the text provides such a multitude of beautiful and rich interpretations regardless of the author's conscious or unconscious goals. (I remember in undergrad I almost couldn't write my paper on Woman Warrior because the textual artistry in that book overwhelmed me, and I felt like I was lessening to it by explaining it to people.)

I could say that I love what it teaches me about the text, about myself, about language, and that's all true. I do love the educational aspect, I do love what I learn about the world. But that's not why I do it. I do it because it's fun. I do it for joy. This is what I wrote in "Read All Over: Postmodern Resolution in Macaulay's Black and White." (Children's Literature Association Quarterly 28 (2003)) -- how a self deconstructing picture book can provide the reader with pleasure in the exercise.

I think it's time to come out of the closet about this. I don't do this to make the world a better place, even though that's something I'd like to do. I don't do this to support a queer, feminist, Marxist, or postcolonialist project, even though that, also, is something I would like to do. I do this for joy. I read closely for joy, and a study the close readings of others because that, too, brings me joy.

And I think that's enough of a reason, don't you?
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Now I follow up that librarianship entry with one on scholarship, just to keep the readers of my infrequent posts hopping.

You may remember that recently I blogged about the gender issues which were raised after Media in Transition. I've been invited to participate in Henry Jenkins' fanboy/fangirl détente. I'm very pleased by the opportunity to contribute to the conversation. In the original version of this post I was also going to say how honored I am that as an independent scholar at been asked to contribute, but the thought-provoking first installment of the conversation in Henry's blog, this one between Karen Hellekson and Jason Mittell, has raised some interesting questions about the gender divide in the academic hierarchy. As Jason said,

I would hope that within media studies, the gender divides would be less structuring than in older & grayer fields, but there's no doubt that divisions between tenure-track and adjunct, affiliated and independent scholars are gendered across the board. Even perusing the lists of Henry's invitees for this forum suggests that more women are in less traditional academic roles.


Anyway, I' be writing in September with Alan McKee from the Queensland University of Technology. Right now I'm delving into his work to learn more about it. I have to admit that one of the very nice side benefit of this whole conversation is that it's giving me the impetus to read the work of some scholars that I have sadly neglected. Of course, to a certain extent, that's not a side benefit, that's the point of the entire exercise: encouraging communication across whatever gender boundary may or may not exist.

(Although Karen and Jason have started the first round of official conversation, I suspect that side conversations will be springing up all over the place as this project heats up. Kristina Busse and Will Brooker have already started a preliminary conversation online).
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