It’s been an exciting semester! In October, I was invited by colleagues at Georgetown University to give two presentations. I had a chance to interact with Sociolinguistics students taking a graduate seminar on Intertextuality, which was really thrilling because I got to think more in-depth about some of the findings I’ve written about in my book that relate to this topic. For example, the tendency for reviewers to make references to things that other reviewers have written. Or the references that reviewers make to various types of popular culture. Plus I also got to test out some of the newest data that I’ve been working on with an absolutely brilliant group of students. That’s always the most fun: setting up just a few parameters, handing over examples of texts to people who are used to looking at discourse data, saying “Go!,” and then stepping back to watch and listen as students interact and share their fascinating insights.
I also gave a talk for Georgetown’s MLC (Master’s in Language and Communication) program, where I delved into issues of research methodology. I basically contrasted the kinds of insights that I was able to gain by taking a quantitative approach with those observations that I could only make by conducting close qualitative readings of my data. In the end, I showed how both approaches could be used to provide different, yet complementary, perspectives on a corpus of online texts.
Speaking of brilliant students, I was blown away by the phenomenal turnout I received for my Homegrown Humanities presentation right here at USF the following week! A friendly crowd of current students, former students, colleagues, and even a few new faces all gathered to hear about the greatest hits from my book. (This was right on the heels of having received an “Honorable Mention” for Outstanding Graduate Mentoring at USF… I was really touched by all the support and positive messages that I’ve received from my students this semester.)
I’ve just returned from another series of invited talks – this time at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. My campus visit was organized by my former colleague and dear friend, Adam Schwartz. At OSU I had the opportunity to speak with a group of undergraduate students in a Gender Studies course about how normative gender ideologies are reproduced in several of the reviews I’ve collected. We also considered a few examples where these kinds of ideologies about gender are critiqued and contested (mostly in parody reviews, like those written in response to the “Bic for Her” pen). While at OSU, I also gave a talk to a larger group of students and faculty in Anthropology, which focused on reviewer identities more broadly. The best part about these talks for me is always the Q & A that follows, where people share their insights, stories … and all sort of other resources related to reviews. Among my favorite new discoveries (thanks OSU faculty & students!):
I am feeling incredibly grateful for a very affirming, inspiring, and productive couple of months. And looking forward to the end of the semester, so I can finally get going on some new writing projects!