Research

Manuscripts don’t burn

Last week, I was the final speaker in our department’s grad student association speaker series (which also marked the last day of classes for AY 2015-2016, hooray!), called “Rough Cut” – designed to expose current grad students to research-in-progress. I had signed up much earlier in the semester, and as the date drew closer, I…

Recent research and … Star Wars (of course)

Since moving to Montana, I’ve come to the general conclusion that academics are like wolverines (well, at least academics in my fields): we like our space. We really, really like our space. One might say we’re ridiculously, fiercely protective of that & may in fact get pretty damn grumpy when we don’t get it. I’m currently knee-deep…

“No, YOU’RE a bad Marxist” – On Debates & Things

Well, the semester is well & truly underway here. I’ve been having (anxiety-ridden) fun with my seminar – a topic I’ll come back to in a few weeks – and (completely anxiety ridden) not-so-fun with my manuscript, although I have been making forward progress. On the one hand, I’ve enjoyed getting back into my sources,…

Happy (research) birthday

Six years ago – give or take a week or two, I can’t remember when the semester started – I found one of the great intellectual loves of my life. I suppose I often think of the real birth of my research life as being tied to my actual birthday: it was at some point around the…

Coming ’round full circle

I took the first week and a half of winter break to go on one of my every-nine-months-or-so gaming binges – doing the media consumption equivalent of gorging one’s self during the holidays on delicious treats with little thought to anything or anyone else (or your waistline). I played through Tales of Xillia, having played about 3/4s…

Searching for ways to express your [fill in the blank]

The semester is (finally) winding down here: it’s been a strange one on a number of levels, one that’s sharing a startling number of parallels with the fall quarter of my second year of grad school. It certainly hasn’t approached that level of misery, but I do find myself taking odd comfort in the similar patterns.…

With thy needle and thread (and dictionary and word processor)

A few weeks ago, Maura Cunningham wrote a fun post for GradHacker called “My Dissertation Sweater.” In it, she compared her experience writing a diss to knitting her first full sweater; although I don’t knit, I read it & nodded – both for the feelings about being a grad student in those final throes, as…

Giving pleasure, not a political lesson

Well, the Star Wars comic has proved shockingly popular; I’ve been keeping up on both where it’s going & the sorts of discussions its been stimulating with great interest. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that there’s been a lot of delight (and trying to figure out where the references are coming from), versus generalized grousing about shanzhai culture in…

A Long Time Ago in a China Far, Far Away …

As much as I don’t miss large swaths of life in China, I do look longingly at kongfz.com, the world’s best secondhand book website, and remember with pleasure being able to purchase a lot of sources and other bits of historical detritus with a minimum of effort. These days, getting ahold of things that catch…

春感: Spring feelings

Lately, I’ve been finding old friends reinvigorated: never before have I understood some of my favorite poems as I do now. I’m mostly talking silly stuff – my favorite Chinese poet, Xu Can 徐灿, has a short poem (“Yi Qin e: Spring feelings, matching Su’an’s rhymes” 忆秦娥·春感次素庵韵), which, while not one of my favorite-favorites of…