Jun
2017

summer of healing: year 3

My ankles are burning.

How’s that for an opening statement?

I think that’s due to the biking I did this week, in addition to my usual workouts of pilates, yoga, and Zumba Toning. I’m not too worried. I had 16 needles in at my recent acupuncture appointment and still feel that there’s some inflammation, but overall my tendonitis (and whatever the hell else was the source of so much angst and pain between 2013-2016) has improved. Don’t ask me to run or jump, but I can take stairs, up and down, like a normal person rather than one at a time or sideways, and I don’t have to be driven right up to doors while someone else parks the car and meets me later.

I’m way more independent and the pinnacle of this independence was a solo trip to London in April for the Pet Shop Boys’ Teenage Cancer Trust gig.

While I kept these “Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain” in mind for the first few days, the more I walked around and felt no lingering aches and pains, the more I did each day. Being able to sit on the train or at the theatre in between walking to events helped too. Oh, and the cider, I guess!

[NOTE: I totally forgot pubs close at 11pm, so I never had the chance to have more than a couple pints!]

The PSB show was unbelievable, and I met some fabulous UK Petheads that I’ve been keeping in touch with on Facebook. I cannot wait to have another adventure like this soon; however, this summer I’m sticking close to home and working on the research projects I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve really enjoyed reading scholarship again, but need to get more words on the page and get in the habit of doing that everyday. I think a couple of things will be completed before the 4th of July, so that will give me some time to focus on the book-length project, even though I’m still trying to decide how to frame that. My original plan was a “then/now” since there’s a lot that can be said about New Orleanians’ tech use for civic purposes since Katrina, but I think I need to trim the “then” and concentrate on the “now” issues, e.g. crime, education, gentrification, and local politics. Ugh, even that sounds like too much!

Anyway, to return to the title of this post, my schedule for pretty much all of 2017 has been working out in the morning and then dedicating afternoons/evenings to academic pursuits. For June at least I’m able to teach a second Zumba Toning class, and here are a couple of the routines I’ve added:

This one I haven’t modified at all, except for the stomping/side twist move near the end.

In this one, I’ve found that I am still having trouble with single-leg balancing, so I’ve either kept the foot on the ground or changed up the footwork to keep my ankles happy.

This #scholarinspandex has to play it safe!

Apr
2017

research fellow

So, yeah…to update the world on my post from nearly 6 months ago, I didn’t get that sabbatical. Once again I was ranked in the top 10 but the university could only afford 7. Or 8? I can’t remember now.

However, I did turn that sabbatical application around into a Faculty Senate-sponsored Research Fellow course release. And that I got!

What does that mean? Well, combined with my course release for being Program Director, it translated into only teaching 2 classes. And both are online!  So I’m referring to this semester as my “fake sabbatical.” I will admit that I’m about a month behind on certain projects because I was struck with a really bad pneumonia for all of December [CHRISTMAS WAS CANCELLED], but since late-January I have been crazy productive.

Editors have been contacted, CFPs have been answered, IRB paperwork has been filed, and collaboration is happening!

In fact, I’ve lined up so many projects beyond the one I initially proposed that I applied for another Research Fellow course release for Fall 2017 and got that too!

Here’s some of that application so you can get a better sense of the work I’m doing and how timely it all is:

Since my hire at UW-Stout, I have established a well-regarded record of publications and conference presentations on the topic of social media. As a current research fellow, I have used the first few weeks of this Spring 2017 semester to re-prioritize this scholarship and have already communicated with three sets of editors—one for the Voices from the Floodzone manuscript I originally proposed, and the others for a book chapter and journal article[1], both of which explore online identity.

All of these projects rely on virtual ethnographic methods and prioritize public writing spaces such as blog posts, Facebook feeds, and Twitter timelines; however, as the authors of Digital Research Confidential have noted: “Because the digital environment for scholarship is constantly evolving, researchers must sometimes improvise, change their plans, and adapt” (Hargittai and Sandvig). For example, in my research fellow proposal last semester, when describing my book project as one “that will provide a new perspective on the use of web 2.0 technologies during and after times of disaster,” I offered statistics that supported the observation that “The share of Americans for whom Twitter and Facebook serve as a source of news is continuing to rise” (Barthel, Shearer, Gottfried, and Mitchell). While this was a trend that I saw as positive when it comes to information-sharing at times of crisis, the current proliferation of claims about “fake news” being spread across social media platforms has prompted me to scrutinize citizen journalists’ online activities even more closely. And if I, a seasoned Internet researcher, feel the need to question if my own bias is getting in the way as I analyze my primary sources, shouldn’t our students be taught to do the same?

For this reason, I am requesting a Fall 2017 course release to help me a) finalize my manuscript, Voices from the Floodzone, and b) pursue two projects that have emerged from my continued work on that project:

  1. A book chapter for an edited collection that analyzes the more subjective aspects of “life online.”
  2. A collaboratively authored General Education course proposal on “media literacy.”

[1] Only the book chapter will be discussed in this proposal because the journal article is about fan communities’ practices and interactions via the Tumblr blog platform. I will be meeting with the editors of this special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures at the upcoming Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in March 2017 to discuss my contribution.

Feb
2014

Home

I’ve spent the past month writing a book chapter about John Biguenet’s trilogy of plays: Rising Water, Shotgun, and Mold.

I’m also still dealing with my tendinitis issues, the semester started, I started my position as Program Director, and (if you read my previous post) I successfully jumped through the tenure hoop. (That’s my way of saying I’m still writing the chapter. Given all the new meetings and course preps I have on my schedule, I often only get a chance to add new words on the weekends.)

Typically, when I write about Hurricane Katrina I focus on role of the blogs and social media to share stories of the city’s recovery and inspire activism, but for this edited collection I’m returning to my undergrad and literary analysis roots. Coincidentally Biguenet is a Loyola-New Orleans professor and, while I never had the chance to take one of his classes during my years there (BA ’96), I attended a talk of his about “depicting disaster” at an alumni college event a couple years ago, which is what inspired my answer to this CFP (which I now see has been updated).

I’ve really enjoyed selecting scenes from his works but (as is often the case) I also start to spiral down my own rabbit hole of Katrina-specific memories, and re-reading trauma theory to apply doesn’t really help, especially at this time of year when I’m always homesick for Mardi Gras.

This week in my Composition 2 class we will start reading Chris Rose’s 1 Dead in Attic (the books title comes from this column) and based on an entry ticket exercise we completed at the end of last week, it is clear these students know very little about my beloved hometown or the impact of levee breaches. Many were in middle school in 2005 and their only Katrina-specific memories are all tv news related, so I’m looking forward to sharing other texts with them, both print and tv/film.

To start our discussion tomorrow, though, I plan to show Pico Iyer’s TED talk. Our course theme is place and I think this will be the best way to ease us in:

Apr
2012

PCA/ACA 2012

Last week I was in Boston at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. My session was part of the Virtual Identities & Self Promoting track and as you can see from the program, the papers focused on Using Social Media for Empowerment & Exploration.

What’s interesting is that I almost didn’t attend this conference. I answered a CFP I saw posted on the IABA listserv thinking it was for an edited collection because there was no mention of a conference, hosting organization, city or dates. Having spent a lot of travel grant money in Oxford, England, earlier in the academic year, I didn’t think I could pay for another conference. And knowing I’m going up for promotion next year, I wanted to focus on getting more publications on my CV.

But when I learned it would be a Boston conference, I decided to go for it. I lived in Boston between 1997-1999 when earning my MA from Northeastern University and loved it there. When some travel money came through from the Provost’s Office, I knew it was a go!

I had a great time listening to sessions about the relationship between social media & BBC’s Sherlock, and, how’s this for a title?, “Alan Rickman as Phallus.” I may edit this post later to include more links to info these presenters shared, but for now I wanted to link to my abstract and first solely designed/authored Prezi:

which should be accompanied by the working paper I have up on SSRN.

If you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you’ll recognize this as a section from my dissertation and I’m quite excited to report that I’m in the process of writing up a proposal to turn the diss into a book!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Apr
2011

deadbeat blogger

shakesblog

Sigh.

This poor neglected blog.

I know I need to do a total overhaul of this site…I’m trying to figure out if it should focus on teaching and become more of a portfolio than a blog, but I’m also waiting to hear about a grant that I applied for. If I get that grant, my dissertation research will be back in the spotlight. Given that it’s on NOLA Bloggers, it would make sense to keep this a place to reflect on that and link to my NOLA blogger peeps (and tweeps).

However, given the state of our nation [don’t get me started on the state of my current cheesy state], no one has heard from the grant agency. See here for the most information I’ve been able to find, with my favorite sentiment being, “It’s aggravating, to say the least, but my summer stipend application is hardly the most important thing hanging in the balance as our Congressional leaders play politics with the future of this country.” True, but I still want them to show me the money, honey! And sooner rather than later!

While finding that relieved my anxiety, this NYTimes piece on blogs waning relieved me more. I am not alone in thinking that Facebook and Twitter are better spaces to receive feedback AKA instant gratification. As the article states, “Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family.” That is exactly what I’ve experienced over the past few years and I think it will only continue.

However, I don’t think I’ll ever abandon this space. Like I said, it just needs a new focus and I’m thinking the summer will bring that, whether it be in the form of quick book reviews, travel pictures, or new teaching and research projects.

Just you wait!