ajnabieh: The Tenth Doctor, from Doctor Who, in academic robes, with the text "it are fact, I know because of my learnings." (it are fact)
Normally when I get media requests lately, it's either about US politics (that is, technically, my position's job...), or more likely about Syrian refugees. So I was more than a little surprised when a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen contacted me...to do a piece on the X-Files?

Yeah, so when I wrote an article about how fans engage transformatively with gender in Mulder/Scully romance fic, I didn't really expect to be getting cited as an international expert on The X-Files. Nevertheless, it was great fun to do the interview, and then to record the video and have a little photoshoot in Scully-cosplay.

If you haven't seen me talking about it elsewhere, here's the article. It also features a snazzy video of me being interviewed in my office: witness the piles of random paper on every surface! The entry tickets from Byblos and the Musée National du Liban taped to the wall over my shoulder! Most importantly, my hand-knitted Scully doll judging me over my shoulder as I talk about her characterization and the MSR arc!

And anyone want to talk about the eps? I've got thoughts about 1) transforming the paranoid politics of the 1990s into the surveillance politics of the 2010s 2) the show's continual hamhanded dealing with motherhood and complex portrayals of fatherhood 3) how goddamn good Gillian Anderson looks...
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
First, the fun bit: I have an article in the new (well, earlier-this-week) issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, called Fannish discourse communities and the construction of gender in The X-Files. (That was the original subtitle; the original title is a quote from one of the posts I analyze, and I'll leave you to guess which one.) I've been told it's both accessible and interesting, so there's that. I haven't had a chance to read the rest of the issue yet, but I'm looking forward to Lori Hitchcock Morimoto's piece on fan subjectivities, Shannon Farley's piece on translation theory and fanfic, Craig Norris's piece on fan pilgrimages, and Juli J. Parrish's work on metaphors and meaning. Thanks to the editors who put the edition together--it was a very professional and helpful process throughout, and I appreciated it.

And, random other things from my life:

  • The rentrée/start of the semester is always exhausting. The exhaustion amount goes up when you're teaching new preps. It goes up again when you're at a new institution. Which probably explains why I want to collapse at the end of every work day, and why all I get done on my evening commute is stare blankly at my phone.

  • That being said, I adore my commute: one bus, usually not that crowded (I get on and off far enough on either end that I've always gotten a seat, though sometimes people have to stand), one block from my house, two blocks from my office. The downside: it only comes every 20 minutes, so there's often quite a wait. Luckily I have the timing worked out for the morning commute; I'm sure I'll get better at timing the afternoon commute eventually...

  • Tasks I have managed to master conducting in French: ordering coffee, pastry, or lunch from the really epically delicious café on the first floor of my building; asking for a book I had brought from the off-site facility in the library; introducing myself at a staff meeting. Tasks I have not mastered conducting in French: understanding the full content of a multi-hour staff meeting, most of which I don't have historical context for and sometimes conducted heavily in acronyms. Tasks I have not yet mastered but have shown improvement in: elevator/hallway small talk. It's getting there.

  • Elements of Canadianness I have shown improvement in: paying with a chip card (or even by tapping); being chatty and oversharing with random strangers (I'm a New Yorker, THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT). Elements of Canadianness I have not yet shown much improvement in: understanding exactly where on the milk bag to cut and how then to pour without spilling (I think the organic milk bags from Costco are bigger than our jug); apologizing for things that are someone else's fault; understanding what it means when my thermostat reads 19.

  • Though I don't yet know if I'll do anything with it, I started a tumblr, [tumblr.com profile] ajnabieh; I figure it might be another ethnographic space for future work, who knows. BUT, the actual fun thing is that I also created a side-tumblr, [tumblr.com profile] size16skinnyjeans, for my occasional outfit blogging thing. And maybe Thinking Thoughts About Clothes In The Academy. Who knows. If you can think of critical/feminist-y/academic-y fashion blogs I should follow, or things that might be relevant to my research interests, lemme know. Or just, you know, follow me and watch me reblog things...

  • I think that's it for the moment. How are y'all?
ajnabieh: The Tenth Doctor, from Doctor Who, in academic robes, with the text "it are fact, I know because of my learnings." (it are fact)
My friend [personal profile] memories_child and I are starting a research project on fandom auctions, particularly fandom auctions to support disaster relief after specific natural disasters. The project is pretty cool, and hilarious for me since suddenly I’m doing all this freakin’ quant work (lololol I’m coding comment threads, what is my career), but I’m excited to both get the early quant data together, and to then be able to dig into the more interpretive side of the research.

At the moment, we’re limiting ourselves to 1) panfandom auctions 2) specifically focused on disaster relief for specific natural disasters, such as after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 or the Japanese earthquake/tsunami in 2011, 3) which were held on LiveJournal or Dreamwidth. I’ve found as many as I can, through following signalboosts, links, my own memory, and Fanlore, but there might be some missing. And, so, I turn to you, friendly readers. Here’s my list; do you remember or did you participate in any fandom auctions other than these? Or can you think of major auctions that don't quite fit the criteria but that we might be interested in?

[livejournal.com profile] help_haiti
[livejournal.com profile] help_chile
[livejournal.com profile] helpbrazil2011
[livejournal.com profile] help_nz
[livejournal.com profile] fandom_flood_ap
[livejournal.com profile] help_japan
[community profile] help_japan
[livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan
[livejournal.com profile] fandomaid
[livejournal.com profile] help_syria

In addition, have you ever participated in a fandom auction as a mod, a bidder, or a seller? We haven’t yet gotten to the interview phase of research yet, but if you’d be interested in talking to one of us, or if you just want to share your experiences, let me know! That would be awesome.
ajnabieh: A seagull standing on a "no seagulls" sign, with the text FIGHT THE POWER (fight the power seagull)
A. I know a lot of you are also fans/fannish, and so I'm putting this first: The Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures, the fandom-studies journal put out by the OTW, has a new edition out on fandom and activism, which looks really exciting. I had the chance to read two articles before publication, one as a peer reviewer and one as a friend-of-the-author, and I really recommend both of them: The German federal election of 2009: The challenge of participatory cultures in political campaigns and Being of Service: X-Files fans and social engagement. Both are fascinating, and provide interesting ways of thinking about fandom and activism. I'm sure the rest of the issue is as awesome. Check it out, if this stuff interests you.

B. And the news story of the moment is the...I'm looking for a polite synonym for 'clusterf***' here...that is the state of electoral and military politics in Egypt. To be brief about it, the first round of elections put forth two candidates who were unpalatable to the majority of the population (Ahmed Shafiq, who is military in background and had been a part of the Mubarak regime, and Muhammad Morsi, who represents the Muslim Brotherhood, the more centrist of the Islamist politica movements); then, in the past week, SCAF (the military collective ruling at the moment) seized a bunch of rights that had been delegated to the parliament and civilian forces, while the Constitutional Court dismissed the entire democratically elected parliament because of 'irregularities' (sorry for the italics, I just feel ~~ways~~ about this); and Saturday and Sunday (i.e., today and tomorrow), the second round of the elections are being held, amid calls to boycott or invalidate ballots, a bunch of people holding their noses and voting for Shafiq or Morsi, and grumblings about whether the election will be fair at all. I'm sitting here eating a lot of popcorn and trying not to get too anxious, and reading the news. Some articles: Mohammad El Dahshan lays out precisely how bad it is in clear terms, Juan Cole points to the nested nature of the various problems here, and Lauren Bohn describes the level of fracture going on at the ground level. If you want to see what's going on during today and tomorrow's elections, here's the Ahram live blog, and here's Egypt Independent's.

C. Oh, also, in "hey there, war crimes are kinda an issue, you know?" news, the UN is leaving Syria. This...is not good. At all. I have no further commentary, apart from numb horror.

D. And some analysis:

I've been watching politically aware, pro-democracy, pro-revolution Egyptians angst over the outcomes of the first round of presidental elections since they happened, and I've been mulling. I don't disagree with their assessment of the lousiness of the two candidates; if I were an Egyptian citizen, I wouldn't know who to vote for either. (And I sure as hell wouldn't ask Thomas Friedman, but that's another issue.) But here's the thing: this sucks the way functioning democracy sucks. People had widely disbursed political interests; they voted for them. They got a choice between two candidates who both suck, but who represent commonly held positions. You know who can sympathize with this position? French voters in 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen, the racist candidate, came in second to the center-right candidate, horrifying everybody from center-left on over (and a lot of other people, too). You know who else can? American voters, who always seem to get stuck voting for people we barely like, but who are less awful than the other guy. (I'm going to be holding my nose *so hard* in November in that voting booth. Buy me a drink and ask me about drone strikes some time.) I'm really sorry, ya al-misriyeen, but this is what democracy is like: it freakin' blows. Amid all the ways in which SCAF is trying to yank power back from the people of Egypt and civiliam power, this presidential election is a sad little reminder that democracy doesn't make everything better--it just makes the process by which we fight things that suck a little cleaner and easier.


ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

March 2016

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