deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2014-03-20 09:01 pm

changing my career without changing my role

I've left Tufts DCA after the longest tenure I've had at a job to become a support engineer at Safari Books Online. Among other things, this means that after nearly a decade, I've left academia for private industry.

Well, for publishing. Which is like private industry, but for people laugh at profit.[note]

I want to talk briefly about my career trajectory. )
[Note] I snark; Safari does just fine, online tech books being a popular item even before you get to all the reference book contracts. Though after a decade in academia, my scales for what is considered financial success are all off. Academic institutions measures success not by quarterly profit, which can be low, but by the size of the endowments they sit jealously and often uselessly upon like learned Smaugs.[back]
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2013-10-15 11:43 pm

Intersectionality, conferences, gender, and race: Ada Lovelace Day

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 Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2012-09-19 03:50 pm

The female gaze and YA romance

I just read Kate Elliott on the female gaze in FSF ("The Omniscient Breasts: the Male Gaze through Female Eyes") (h/t [personal profile] yendi), which is primarily I think talking about adult FSF. Inevitably when I read an article like this I want to send it to every feminist who trashes contemporary paranormal and dystopian romance for teens -- as, I admit, I sometimes do myself -- and say "look what the teen love triangles have that we should be down right thrilled about!"

Yes, ubiquity in any genre gets exasperating after a while. As a reviewer, trust me when I have a pretty good sense of what percentage of books for teens currently have almost identical romance plots. But when these books get trashed by feminist reviewers, we are ignoring that an entire generation of young leaders is growing up thinking the female gaze is normal.

I don't understand why Bella finds Edward Cullen's pasty skin and under-eye circles so attractive, but the fact is she does, she dwells on them, and she ogles endlessly. Clary Fray is far from flawless as a character construction, but that girl knows who she wants, and she is perfectly happy to leer and admire while she goes for it. So often we don't know that much about what these female protagonists look like, but we know everything about the physical characteristics of the objects of their affection. That's... pretty cool.

These books are usually still heteronormative and cis-normative. They are often still relying on fairly regressive gender roles, and can have bizarrely archaic notions of sexuality. But I'm really curious what we'll see from this generation of female and sometimes male readers who have learned to read with and not against the female gaze. I suspect it might be something pretty awesome.
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
2012-05-28 12:52 pm

The Distributable Analysis of Frankie Landau-Banks

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]

deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
2012-03-23 12:16 pm

bread, circuses, and mirrors: The Hunger Games

I wanted to make a post about The Hunger Games trilogy before I saw the movie, because I didn't want this post about the trilogy in general to be colored by how much I'm having reactions to the film right now. Instead, I will break it into two parts. And if I wait until I have all of my thoughts coherent before I make this post, the second movie will be out, so maybe I should just go ahead and post it.

Why I will not stop judging the trilogy for my own misreading of book one )

A subset of my reactions to the film, mostly but not entirely in that context )

General non-spoilery positive thought: if this movie and trilogy of movies do as well as it looks like they might, perhaps it could be the end of the of no female action heroes or superheroines in film? Television realized a decade ago that there's money to be made with high-quality female action heroes; will film finally catch up? Where the studio realizes that not only do women have plenty of money that they like to spend on movies marketed to women, but also men show up for these movies and buy tickets as well?

And for a completely non-academic note: when I was talking to my boss about how awesome Lenny Kravitz's portrayal of Cinna was, she said "everyone wants a Cinnabon".
deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
2011-08-25 03:42 pm

Guilt and Pleasure: you'll have to do the morality for both of us

I like to start off my semester by talking to students about how you can love media you find deeply flawed; part of learning to think critically is being willing to put aside your affection or dislike for a text for a little while. (And then you need to be able to take your emotional reaction back, and see what happens to it when informed by critical thinking. I'm all about multilayered response.) The examples I use are usually texts which are deeply flawed vis-à-vis some axis of political oppression which touches me personally: feminism, usually. There are plenty of movies I love that have deeply ingrained misogyny. On another axis, there's Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy, a fabulous book with the despicable Jewish moneylender.

But it's easy to talk about the the books you love when you're in the group under attack; not so easy when reading the book makes you into an attacker-by-proxy. Over at the Kirkus blog, Vicky Smith writes "Guilt and Pleasure":

Do you ever love a book that you feel you shouldn’t? I'm not talking about a typical “guilty pleasure” sort of book--legions of smart, emancipated women find themselves tucking into Twilight and its spawn as if they were chocolate-covered nougats. A little shamefacedly, they confess that they find the sexual politics of so many of these books utterly retrograde but nevertheless hugely enjoyable. But that guilt is a light one, not the kind that a person really feels, well, guilty about.


And then Vicky talks about what it feels like, both as a reader and as a reviewer, to have enjoyed 13th Child. It's an interesting essay, I think. As a reviewer, I share the worry she addresses:

A colleague at another book review asked me that summer, "What are you going to do about Thirteenth Child?" Of course, we had already done it. Because of our ferocious pre-publication schedule, we had gone to press with a starred review before I ever became aware of the controversy. Certainly, I was a member of that presumed non-Native audience, and I lapped the whole book up without thinking twice.


I'm not sure I know anyone who deals with books -- whether reviewers, authors, teachers, or readers (and I assume folks in publishing, although they have tighter constraints on what they can say in public) -- who doesn't occasionally have deep regret over the public or private reactions they had to a work they later realized was deeply problematic, or about problems in their own fiction. And I'm not sure I know anyone who doesn't love some deeply troubling fiction. I tell my students that you can love something and find it troubling, as part of your job as a critical thinker is gaining the ability to reconcile those. But it's a lot easier for me to reconcile my feelings about great books with despicable Jewish moneylenders than it is for me to reconcile my love for, oh, A Horse and His Boy or A Little Princess. It's easier to forgive (the book? myself for loving the book?) when I'm not reading from a position of privilege.

This goes beyond Wrede to so much of our literature, both great and not-so-great. Every year children devour the Little House books despite their terribly hurtful depictions of Native Americans, for instance. Some of us give Laura Ingalls Wilder a pass of sorts, saying she was a product of her times, a forgiveness that we cannot extend to Wrede—and, depending on the reader, to ourselves, when we enjoy her series.


Read the piece, it's thought-provoking.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2011-05-18 10:00 am

smart people being smart. Oh, and awesome books about fat characters

The always brilliant [livejournal.com profile] diceytillerman has a guest post up at The Rotund: "Fat Reader Singing". It's a great post about two books that I now have to put on my to-be-read list, about young adult books with successful, happy fat characters who don't lose weight. And apparently, if Rebecca is to be believed, fat characters with disabilities. And in one case, a fat character of color with a disability. It's as if it were okay to publish books with each character doesn't stand in for a single item in the Benetton circle of diversity!

She also links to a couple of responses I'd forgotten about to Scott Westerfeld's Missing Black Woman Formation, which I'm glad I reread. Although I still maintain that the Missing Black Woman Formation is endemic in middle grade adventure fiction, especially spy-fi, where there are way too many adventures where the hero is a white boy and his sidekicks are the white girl and the boy who has something that makes it impossible for him to be the hero (he's fat, Asian, poor, redhaired and freckled and comes from a large family and is clearly Irish Catholic even if that's never identified, black, not as smart as the hero, disabled, etc.). But even so, those posts about the MBWF make me want to go back and look again at all of those middle grade adventure books to see if I am fairly categorizing them, or their characters.

Actually, right now, off the top of my head, it occurs to me that I am ignoring Anne Ursu's Cronus Chronicles, which first of all has two protagonists, who are first cousins. And secondly, they're the white girl and the multiracial boy. In a fantasy book that's not about race, that's actually kind of a big deal.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2011-05-12 11:51 am

Dangerous Angels

Amy Stern ([livejournal.com profile] bigbrotherreads) has let me be a guest blogger on her blog YA Subscription, and I started off my contributions there with a post on Francesca Lia Block's Dangerous Angels quintet. I talk about feminism, race, sexuality, and intersectionality, and I'm surprised by how much I liked the books on reread.

(I sent the post to Amy a while ago, and reading it now for the first time in ages I am embarrassed to see how many typos that are in it; I thought I proofread that thing about 17 times. But such is the blogosphere.)

Anyway, please, go over there, contribute to the conversation!

On another note, I feel like Kristin Cashore has joined the ranks of bloggers such as Ta Nahesi Coates and Slacktivist who are just too smart and useful to miss. It feels somehow dirty to say that about someone who is a friend, but I think it's true.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2010-08-23 10:11 am

what does it mean when we talk about awesome women being awesome?

Karen Healey's guest post over at the book smugglers, "on awesome female characters", calls into question the entire idea of praising people for writing awesome/kick ass female characters. Karen is S-M-R-T smart, and her ideas are smart -- and she then goes on to write an utterly fabulous list of awesome female characters. Because I love every one of the characters in there that I recognized (Tip Tucci! Syrah Cheng! Cass Meyer! Melanie Tamaki!), I'm going to have to add every other book and movie mentioned to my miles-long To Be Read list. *Shakes tiny fist at Karen*

Not to mention that I adore the vid she links to at the bottom of the article, [personal profile] fizzyblogic's "What About", which I just watched to get some inspiration to start the rest of my day.

(OK, I don't agree with everything Karen says. I was not a big fan of Princess Ben; it had some fat hate that made me sad. And before cheerleading becomes an Olympic sport, there are some fairly major issues around sports and sexism that need to be resolved. (Fair warning: that link is specifically about US sports politics and Title IX, and Karen is a New Zealander (ETA MEA MAXIMA CULPA), and the Olympics are international. But it's the link I knew off the top of my head and I'm supposed to be working.))

(But she is still wicked smart, is what I'm saying.)
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2010-03-01 10:26 pm

(1) digital discovery (2) meritocratic myth

In "Descartes Letter Found, Therefore It Is", I learned that a long-lost stolen letter of Descartes' has turned up in my alma mater's archives:

If old-fashioned larceny was responsible for the document’s loss, advanced digital technology can be credited for its rediscovery. Erik-Jan Bos, a philosophy scholar at Utrecht University in the Netherlands who is helping to edit a new edition of Descartes’s correspondence, said that during a late-night session browsing the Internet he noticed a reference to Descartes in a description of the manuscript collection at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He contacted John Anderies, the head of special collections at Haverford, who sent him a scan of the letter.
...
Scholars have known of the letter’s existence for more than 300 years, but not its contents. Apparently the only person who had really studied it was a Haverford undergraduate who spent a semester writing a paper about the letter in 1979. (Mr. Bos called the paper “a truly fine piece of work.”)


Guys, this is awesome. This is why I do what I do! Putting collection guides online is a royal pain (ASK ME HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE EAD STANDARD), but this is the kind of story that makes it all worthwhile. Archival collections are full of hidden treasures the archivists themselves don't know about. It takes a dedicated scholar to find these lost and hidden (and rarely digitized) gems, and digital collection guides, followed up by e-reference, followed up by spot digitization, solved the puzzle.

Viva la Ford!

On a more somber note, from "Why diversity matters (the meritocracy business)":

Now, whenever I screen resumes, I ask the recruiter to black out any demographic information from the resume itself: name, age, gender, country of origin. The first time I did this experiment, I felt a strange feeling of vertigo while reading the resume. “Who is this guy?” I had a hard time forming a visual image, which made it harder to try and compare each candidate to the successful people I’d worked with in the past. It was an uncomfortable feeling, which instantly revealed just how much I’d been relying on surface qualities when screening resumes before – even when I thought I was being 100% meritocratic. And, much to my surprise (and embarrassment), the kinds of people I started phone-screening changed immediately.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2010-02-04 03:26 pm

social justice and controlled vocabularies

We are actually having a conversation with commenters on the DCA blog! Hooray for commenters!

If you are the kind of nerd who thinks about how controlled vocabularies influence and are influenced by our perceptions of social justice, go over and weigh in on Veronica's excellent post, "The trouble with subject headings".

In a nutshell, Veronica asks how do we cope with tagging photographs with a controlled vocabulary, given:
  • the historical baggage of Library of Congress subject headings, given that the LOC is an organization as subject to systemic racism as any other
  • our need as people concerned with social justice to be aware of what materials in our collection represent historically underrepresented populations
  • the essentializing of straightness, whiteness, maleness, able-bodiedness, etc. inherent in tags such as "Blacks" and "Women". (Admittedly, "Men" Is a subject term as well, but we seem to only use it for historical images, while we use "Women" for photographs of students and faculty.)


Now, Veronica didn't use any of that language, because I am obsessed with academic jargon and she knows better, and I can't even talk about these issues without using words like "essentializing". You should be glad I edited out "normativize"! So go read her post, and comment.

OMG! Illustration found in gathering the links above: "Beating hemp, flogging a woman".
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2009-12-02 09:02 am

loving things that are broken

Justine Larbalestier just posted "The Problem with Gone with the Wind", which talks about something which is a real issue of mine, both with students and with discussing media with friends: admitting that something you love is flawed, and loving it anyway. I've never been a Gone with the Wind fan, but I've loved plenty of other media which were racist, sexist, or in some other way chock full of fail. As I tell my students, my favorite three movies are Casablanca, The Muppet Movie, and The Princess Bride -- none of them a bastion of feminist ideals. And as far as race goes, that leaves me with two movies lacking any people of color, and in the third, the interaction between Señor Ferrari, Rick, and Sam is not, shall we say, made of as much win as it should be.

I'm teaching Twilight tomorrow, so of course this is on my mind. There's always a couple of people who believe that if they love the book they need to make it fit all of their stated ideals. They need to make it feminist, they need to make it not racist. But trying to describe a sexist, racist text (and as much as I enjoyed the Twilight series, it is absolutely both of those) as neither sexist or racist it acutely harmful. It redefines sexism and racism. It says neither is dangerous if they are in an otherwise beautiful context, or if they are associated with something else positive. In Larbalestier's example, the racism should be ignored because acknowledging it detracts from recognizing the strong female figure of Scarlett.

It's okay to love something broken. It's okay to find the breakage in things you love. It's even okay to find the breakage in well-meaning texts that were themselves trying to fix that breakage; I find Larbalestier's own Liar to be immensely problematic along race/gender intersectionality lines, and I know she was trying.

It's also okay to ignore the problematic parts of the texts you love, sometimes. Yes, to be a good citizen of the world, you need to be aware of bias and systemic what-have-you when you see them, but you don't need to do it every second of every day. If ignoring Buffy's race problems makes it easier to enjoy Buffy, that's fine, as long as you don't keep your rose-colored glasses on all the time, every day. Unless you are looking at the text academically, you don't have to harsh your squee every day. Walk away from discussions that make you sad, there's no problem with that.

But what's not okay is to deny the problems when you see them. If you have a coherent argument against the problems, then by all means make it. Convince me the race representation in Gone with the Wind actually subverts 1930s racial stereotypes, convince me that Buffy's sixth season doesn't undercut all of the Strong Women messages it had spent five years building. But don't say that we shouldn't look at racism in a text because the female characters are so strong. Don't say we shouldn't look at sexism in a text because the female characters are so strong (cf. both Gone with the Wind and Buffy season six). Don't say a text is unproblematic because we know and like the author, or because the author claims to be antiracist, anti-sexist, etc. And under no circumstances say that a text is unproblematic because we love it.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2009-10-21 06:54 pm

Virginia Hamilton makes me feel stupid

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)
2009-10-01 12:31 pm

We Are Creators Too. Francesca Coppa on vidding

I've been enjoying Public Knowledge's 4-part video series "We Are Creators, Too," but I never expected Francesca Coppa discussing vidding to come across my blog roll!

Kudos to PK for treating vidding like any other form of video remix, not as some weird dysfunctional female behaviour. And kudos to PK for doing the shockingly unusual behaviour of not normativizing male video creation; 3 of the 4 interviews are with women, and video remix not treated as a male activity that some women do as well.

And of course, kudos to Francesca for for an excellent interview which touches on so many of the key points of vidding culture, history, and law.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2009-08-24 08:40 pm

fantasy and science fiction: a syllabus

I have all of these half written posts I haven't made -- one about the Simmons College Summer Institute, one about Bloomsbury mercifully caving on their dreadful cover decision for Justine Larbalestier's Liar. But summer is coming to a close (already!), And I should just go ahead and post my syllabus for Children's Literature 414, Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Let me see. That's 41 fictional works, or 38 if you lump the Prydain books. As far as I know, and with some of these being judgement calls, 3 authors of color; 7 protagonists of color (8 if you count Laura Chant as multi-racial because of her Maori great-grandmother), 28 white or white-coded, and 2 neither; 20 female and 18 male authors; 16 male protagonists, 18 female, and 3 neither or multi; and 0 canonically queer authors or protagonists. Though there's one canonically-if-subtextually queer secondary couple. Also, three fat (if you count Wilbur) and two disabled (if not-neurotypical counts as disabled).

Obviously I'm better on some aspects of diversity than others. How much of the fail here is mine as opposed to the genre's? Probably a little of both. On the bright side, we spend a lot of the semester talking about these issues, both in ourselves as readers, and in the genre itself.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2009-01-23 10:31 pm

new encyclopedia, excellent blog

yAt! My copy of the encyclopedia Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Robin Anne Reid, has arrived. I wrote the essay "Girls and the Fantastic" and the short entries for Ursula LeGuin and Raphael Carter. I'm so pleased by it, and will shelve it right next to my Oxford encyclopedia of children's literature.

In other news, I'd like to encourage you to check out the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives blog ([livejournal.com profile] tufts_dca), especially if you like photo blogs. [livejournal.com profile] lamentables, I'm looking at you! We post about once a week, and most of the posts involve an awesome picture from our archives. For example, my most recent contribution there, "Disaster!", features a fabulous photo of Jumbo the Elephant looking just a tad battered.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2007-12-03 04:40 pm

the Library of Congress doesn't like changing classifications?

In the "good news" category, a federal judge denied a motion from the Library of Congress to dismiss a transgender discrimination lawsuit.

United States District Court Judge James Robertson ruled that former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer Diane Schroer has legal grounds to file a sex discrimination claim against the library under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964.... Schroer, a 25-year Army veteran, accepted an offer by the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service for a position as a senior terrorism research analyst ... Schroer applied for the position under her former male name and appeared for her interview in male clothing. ... [F]ollowing the division’s decision to hire her, Schroer revealed that she was transitioning into a woman and would begin her job using her new name and as a woman dressed in traditional female attire. ... [L]ibrary officials decided Schroer would not be a "good fit" for the job, based on the information revealing her change of gender.


Thanks, United States District Court Judge James Robertson. And fooey on the LOC.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2007-11-26 10:04 am

further thoughts on Henry Jenkins' acafan debate

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 )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
2007-09-20 08:39 am

gender and fan culture

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.