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New MLAgrads Blog Post: Asserting Yourself as a Junior Scholar

0 replies, 1 voice Last updated by  Christine Yao 4 years, 1 month ago
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    Christine Yao

    Of Podcasts, Performances, and Public Engagement: Asserting Yourself as a Junior Scholar

    I’m kind of scared of the academy/ I think my parents are proud of me/ I just wish I knew how to be comfortable here/ I never feel like I’m allowed to breathe/Rubbing shoulders with these old nerds/ Rockin’ sweater vests in they office hours/ Eating hors d’oeuvres while I soul search/ Tryna make some sense of the ivory tower (official music video)

    Sammus, “1080p” (Sammus is the stage name of Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, an Ithaca, NY based rap artist, producer, and Cornell PhD student in Science and Technology Studies)

    How do we as junior scholars try to engage the public? While there are grants for the public humanities engagement and community projects specific to our home institutions, nonetheless these avenues are often less accessible to us as graduate students, not to mention the varying levels of institutional support and privilege. Beyond these structural concerns, I believe there are psychological ones, perhaps related to imposter syndrome – what can we have to contribute to a broader audience or even to our peers when we are struggling to establish ourselves as academics?  There is also a larger conversation to be had about the pressures of the neoliberal higher education environment that pressures us to develop additional “gigs” on top of our usual workloads that can expand our CVs and open other career opportunities while also perhaps making us feel guilty or even invalidate or punish us for attempting to pursue these interests.

    I don’t have any answers, but I do have stories. In this blog post, I will outline my own journey as the co-host of the iTunes podcast PhDivas as well as the trajectories I’ve observed of fellow humanities graduate students who have expressed themselves in writing and music. What have I seen that actually works for other people? What actually works for me? How do we attend to these other forms of intellectual engagement as work and as performance?

    Full post here: https://mlagrads.mla.hcommons.org/2016/05/31/of-podcasts-performances-and-public-engagement-asserting-yourself-as-a-junior-scholar/

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