I came across this by chance, but I’d like to follow this up. One seeming disconnect between me and my fellow PhD students (and some faculty as well) becomes particularly boldfaced during “extracurricular” events, like the potluck we had this week to welcome new students/faculty. That is, we are all smooshed into one house, are feasting and imbibing with relative abandon, and while I am ready to forget, for just a moment, that I have 15 books stacked on my desk at home awaiting that frantic sticky-tab franzy I like to call reading, there are always a handful of revelers who corner me to discuss projects, exams, diss work, etc. I was cornered twice thusly last week.
I am not averse to “talking shop” while outside the proverbial shop. However, once a conversation begins that is seated in scholarship, something happens (like…*poof*) that makes it awkward or inappropriate for the conversation to segue into non-academia. It makes me sound/feel like a doofus. Let me illustrate:
party-goer: “I simply felt as though the presentation lacked a clarity of frame; that the author continually re-shifted her angle creating a problematic disjunct between herself and the audience.”
party-goer: “…and she had several opportunities to connect her work to obvious theory-heros, but it was almost as though she hadn’t read them…”
party-goer: “worst was her complete lack of awareness concerning femininst and critical pedagogy…”
me: [eyes glazing, shoving curry into mouth to avoid having to speak]
party-goer: “…all told, however, a well-delivered talk, one I may be able to return to, as a springboard into [blah blah blah]…”
me: [as party-goer pauses to sip wine] “Did I mention that little Billy is walking? Not even ten months old yet!”
party-goer: [with something like pity in her eyes] “oh…”
There is a lot more going on in this conversation that I’m ignoring, I know. I also have issues with hyper-criticality (and I encountered this at the potluck as well). Actually, let me be frank: I avoid agonism of any sort like stinking death, but remind me to blog on that later.
Luckily, our program here doesn’t seem to be as bad as Apt 11D’s, where people she worked with didn’t know the names of her kids. In fact, one of SU’s “selling points” was its family-friendliness. There are a handful of other grad students in my program who are parents (many dads), and our incoming class has another MOM which I am thrilled about.
There was an atrocious article in the Chronicle last year about the number of moms who are jumping academic ship in order to be SAHMs. God knows that thought crosses my mind daily.