I started to answer this question of ‘who we are and what we do’ by calling on some of the markers that I’ve been trained to think about through an education steeped in feminist thought, but then I thought of the following quotation by Situationist Internationale member Raoul Vaneigem that asks “when will you stop identifying with what defines you?” And then I also thought of something Rinaldo Walcott (Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies) said at Queen’s first Gender Studies Colloquium this past spring. Walcott reminded us in the audience of something the writer Sylvia Wynter pointed out, which is that we managed to get ourselves stuck in the post 60s moment on the identity politics of our class, race, gender, etc. when it was only supposed to be a point that got us forward toward freedom and emancipation. So I’m gonna answer the question about who I am by saying a little about what I do.
I guess every project that I’ve tried to frame has to do with understanding people’s interior life, especially how and why they form – or don’t form – ideas and convictions about ethical and political issues. Sound vague? Well, I’m taking suggestions! I’m at the end of year one in my PhD in Cultural Studies and I’ve got more abstract ideas than I have ways to apply them in a degree-getting fashion. But these are my curiosities, and they’re in no way separate from my “real life” (I think the “real world/school” division I hear so often is a bit of a false dichotomy – stay tuned for a post on this in the near future!) The outcome of pursuing these curiosities, I hope, is to invite more critical thought, more contemplation, more introspection, and the good things that flow from those actions.
Also a part of my “real life/school” world is a fiancée who’s also doing her PhD at Queen’s in the School of Health and Kinesiology, our puppy (that’s her and me in the picture) and our home in Bath, ON, about a half-hour drive from campus. (Literally we found ourselves adopting a puppy and buying a house in a rural area as a way to procrastinate from our Master’s theses last summer – let this be a warning against procrastination, it can be expensive. But also fluffy and awesome). Also in the mix is trying to get my work out there as a visual artist and making music (anyone wanna start a band?). If work/life is a false binary, I’m at least still trying to figure out the job productivity/pursuing other passions balance. And I’m looking forward to sharing some of that with you in the coming year!