Dear reader, I always tell people my favorite season is the start of fall semester, which is true, but the start of the spring semester takes a close second. We’re all back from break, juggling textbooks and coffees, running around campus trying to figure out where our classes are, and always arriving five minutes late and out of breath. It’s snowing, and watching the snow fall in thick fat flakes out my window makes my fresh-brewed cup of tea taste so much better. My mind is a spinning raffle drum of ideas to chase down rabbit holes; nothing is settled, and everything seems possible.
I'm almost done with Babel now, and the thing that keeps striking me over and over again—as someone who did a graduate certificate in Gender, Race, and Identity, which included postcolonial studies—is how little the academy has changed over the decades. I've been to four universities at this point, two of which are Ivy-pluses, and the academy STILL, still, supports empire in a new name, and still maligns marginalized students, and still claims that academia is above all that. Scholar-activism is so appealing to me, but doing activism on campus burnt me out. I had no support from my department, no support from faculty throughout my MFA whenever I would stir the pot to try and better things for other marginalized students. A big part of me wants to go back to do a PhD, but so much more of me is like, why? Why bother? So I feel for you having those discussions and figuring that out.
Also, as a sidebar, I hope you continue to love teaching! I loved teaching, but I got very tired of how much work I had to put into it as opposed to my actual studies and writing. (Grading, lesson plans, more grading, trying to help students when they didn't want to be helped... granted, I was teaching comp. When I taught science, it was a bit better.)
Hi Rebecca! This was such a fun read. I wanted to let you know that I'm a comparative literature student at Berkeley currently taking an East Asian sci fi class. (Actually, the short blurb about June and wanting to peel off Athena's skin like an orange kind of reminds me of some of the texts we've read in this class, like Membranes by Chi Ta-wei). Also, my professor told me that you almost came here for your PhD! Ah. A missed opportunity for sure! But I'm glad that you'll be touring in the west coast, finally!
Regarding the translation of a Chinese story about the capitalist accumulation of time, I hope you can tell us about it when it is published. Aside from the East Asian Sci-Fi class that I'm taking right now, in second semester of college, I took a class called "Premodern Chinese Novels". In this class I learned about how eastern cultures, specifically China/ancient China, conceive of time. (The short, and shallow, and very incomplete answer is: non-linearly! As you may know) I hope you can tell us where to find your paper when it comes out because I'd love to read it, and temporality fascinates me even now!
“I am Strange Loop” is also pretty great - one of my favourite books!
Hi! Thank you for your words and presence! I don't know that these chapbooks are easily accessible anymore. If of interest to anyone, they might be found through a little academic library digging. Two sources from the "Lost & Found" project through CUNY's Poetic Documents Initiative--
Adrienne Rich: Teaching at CUNY, 1968-1974, Parts 1 & 2: "In this collective effort, a team of Lost & Found editors explore Adrienne Rich’s teaching materials from her formative years during the turbulent and exhilarating student strike for Open Admissions in the late 1960s at the City University of New York. Drawing on memos, notes, course syllabi, and class exercises, this collection provides insight into Rich’s dedication, passion, and empathy as a teacher completely dedicated to her students as they take a leading role in reshaping access to public higher education."
Audre Lorde: "I teach myself in outline,” Notes, Journals, Syllabi, & an Excerpt from Deotha: "...a collection of Audre Lorde’s teaching materials from her time as an instructor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hunter College, which spanned the years of 1970-1985. The volume also includes a chapter of Lorde’s unpublished novel Deotha, and an editors’ introduction that elucidates Lorde’s teaching philosophy through an in-depth look at her classroom documents."
I’m reading Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde in one of my classes right now. Give it a try if you haven’t read it before!
Your upcoming book sounds incredible. I love GEB but to be honest, would have much rather been introduced to these concepts through a fantasy novel! Paired with a trip to hell—amazing. Can’t wait to learn more.
i highly recommend the housekeeper and the professor! i'm not a big fan of math, but this book made me realize that there's beauty in numbers.
Had GEB on my list for about a decade and haven’t yet brought myself to start it but I want to get to it this year
So nice to finally meet someone who has actually read the Prelude and fully comprehends the impact of Book Seven.
ooooohhhh Munich you say?? 👀👀👀👀
For your TBR ( or reread list): GOLDEN WITCHBREED by Mary Gentle. One of my few 5-star raves at GR: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1137772847
If you've missed it, you're in for a treat! Oldie but goodie.