Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Almost Here


page 397

I know I haven't updated in a while. Life has been pretty busy lately. But I wanted to pop in and share an excerpt of the proofs for my Bagong Buwan (New Moon) film essay, forthcoming in the fall in positions: east asia cultures critique. To be perfectly honest, I feel kind of burned out from this piece since I have been working on it off-and-on for the better part of a decade now. (Yikes!) On the other hand, it will feel really great to get this thing out into the world, even if only a handful of people will ever read it.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Grind

It's already spring. Wow. Anyway, I almost can't believe it's been three months since I last blogged, but I was on the job market and actually got interviews. This entailed a lot of waiting on tenterhooks, which translated to radio silence for me as most of the time I was in my head or trying to forget about work. Sadly, I don't have good news to report. The market was terrible for almost everyone I know, including some really amazing scholar-academics, supply far exceeding demand and all that by-now unsurprising stuff.

It was incredibly difficult, being on the market. Like many others, I'm sure, I had to struggle against the feeling of being an impostor and a failure. (That I put that last sentence in past tense is part bravado, I think!) I'm just glad that the season is basically over. But I am still trying to finish this year, keeping my head down as much as possible except for a couple of recent conferences.

Speaking of which, the first was the Critical Ethnic Studies Conference in Riverside (see Jack Halberstam's write-up of this major event), and the second was the ACLA Conference in Vancouver. This was my first time at both of these conferences. While I was on a panel with friends (who are fabulously smart) at the CES, my experience in Vancouver was more to my taste, mostly because of the format of the ACLA seminars: a set group of people meet over the course of 3 days, 2 hours/day, and share their papers with one another. This allows for more sustained conversation among folks who have similar and/or related concerns. I found the conversations very interesting, if not exactly productive; the last meeting on Sunday morning, when I presented my paper, was compromised by half of my seminar going missing, even though I believe that the papers given that day were superb (excepting my own). I heard that at least one of the absent seminar members had to catch his flight, and perhaps it was the same for the others. Indeed, that's the only thing I would change about the conference: shift the conference from Friday-Sunday to Thursday-Saturday so that people can have three full days of meeting and save Sunday for their travel day.

Anyway, I opted not to submit this year to my favorite go-to conference, the Association for Asian American Studies Conference, because I decided that going to two big conferences in a season was enough. I am sad that I will miss seeing old friends as well as the chance to visit New Orleans, but I am relieved to have the time to work not just on my diss but also on copy-edits for my forthcoming article in positions as well as on the course that I am teaching this summer.

So I have a very full plate until the Fall. When the job market frenzy starts again. Oy.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Happy New Year

Hey all, Masaganang Bagong Taon!

I got through my first MLA conference this past week. It is a huge beast, this conference. Business is spread out across multiple venues, a fact that requires lots of walking despite the expectation to wear dress shoes. Ow, my poor feet. On the other hand, I did see some very fashionable academics, which made my heart glad. I also saw several babies who had been brought to the conference -- it's L.A. in winter, which I suppose seems like a good place and time for a family vacation if you want to get out of the snow -- which made me glad as well.

It seemed impossible to meet anyone without making plans ahead of time. There didn't appear to be random mingling in the official conference hotel lobby, although I did manage to run into someone I hadn't seen in a while. I made plans to see friends and old acquaintances I hadn't seen in years. In the case of one particular individual, it had been over twelve years since our last meeting (!).

Anyway, I'm relieved the conference is done (for me). And that's all I'll say about the conference (for now).

So I have been reading some very interesting articles lately. I'll be working on my project very conscientiously in the next couple of weeks to get to the finish line in good time. I'm also proud of myself for taking extra time to work on better articulating the stakes of my project and its contribution to various fields. That will be necessary for my introductory chapter, which I'm eying to complete by the beginning of April.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Please Get The Frak Out Of My Office

"Oh my god." This scene of an undergrad asking for a letter of rec was both hilarious and scary. It made me wonder if I was ever this naïve as an undergrad? (However, I was certainly not as arrogant, nor would I have basically ignored the professor's arguments.) Although neither a professor nor an undergrad, I definitely identified with the professor. Must be all the cynicism.

H/t to ladysquires, who also has a way more interesting reading than I do.

Writing Meter

I have passed the worst of the deadline crunch (basically all of October through the first week of November), so I have been re-focused on the dissertation. Co-chair #1 confirmed that the last chapter I sent her needs a lot of work but made great suggestions on making it stronger. At least she didn't say, Scrap this and start all over! which I was afraid she might do. While revising that chapter, I have decided to continue with writing the next one.

I am adding a fun little image meter from Writertopia accounting for my progress on that new chapter. I've placed it at the bottom of the blog. I don't know how often I will be able to update it -- probably as often as I update this blog. But, yeah, I do feel rather like that angry little brown nut-looking dude (or does he look like something worse?), literally hammering away at his computer threatening his computer with a gun (dang, my eyes are terrible!). You can see that the meter was meant for those writing novels (most helpful for things like NaNoWriMo's goal of 50,000 words in one month), but I liked the cartoon anyway. It's a little harder to set a specific goal for a dissertation chapter, so I set it to a modest 10,000. I don't even know how to include revisions since that is where most of my writing goes. Well, we'll see what happens by the end of this month.

H/t to StyleyGeek for the progress meter link and the idea to use for the diss.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No More Getaway

A little bit sad about this: I blocked access to my other blog, Getaway. Now that I am on the job market and everything, I'm thinking some of the stuff on that blog might be too personal to share in case search committees decide to look me up online. It's really too bad that Blogger doesn't allow you to make individual posts private or password-protected the way Wordpress and Xanga do. In any case, to my dear few readers here, email me if you'd like access to Getaway again.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hahvahd Post

I just saw a job posting that gave me the shivers: it's for a tenure-track assistant professorship at Harvard for an Asian American literature specialist. It's quite obvious that they are looking for a very advanced assistant professor; not only do they mention the word "advanced," but if you have even glanced through all the other job postings for assistant professors, you will notice some key differences in their application requirements: they expect the whole dissertation from their finalists by December OR a book-length publication (!), as well as up to 5 (yes, five) letters of rec. I have a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting this job, but I got the shivers because I do know quite a few Asian American literature specialists at the advanced assistant professor level who would definitely be kick-ass applicants for this job. I bet it is making the academic rounds among those friends as I write this. I am very curious and excited to find out who eventually gets the offer. From the JIL:

Harvard U      
English, 12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Assistant Professor of Contemporary and Asian American Literature  [13492]
The English Department at Harvard University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in Contemporary American literature with a special interest in Asian American Literature.

The appointment, effective July 1, 2011, will be made at either the entry or at an advanced level, dependent upon experience and qualifications.

The successful applicant will have a strong doctoral record and should show promise of excellence in scholarship, along with a strong commitment to teaching in a variety of areas.

Finalists will be expected to submit in December the entire dissertation or as much of it as is completed (or, alternatively, a book-length publication). The successful candidate will teach four courses per year at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Send cover letter, CV, 1-2 page abstract of dissertation, 3-5 letters of recommendation, and article-length writing sample (25-30 pages, excluding footnotes), all postmarked no later than October 29, 2010, to "Contemporary and Asian American Literature Search Committee," c/o James Simpson, Chair, Department of English, Harvard University, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA 02138. Late applications will not be considered. Complete applications will be acknowledged by postcard once all materials have been received. Harvard is an Affirmative Action/Equal opportunity Employer. Applications from women and minorities are strongly encouraged.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Like Pulling Teeth: Chapter Draft Done

Wordle cloud of Chapter 2

My god, I feel bludgeoned. What was that? I've never gone through a deadline like that before. I've complained here before about how it sucks to have a little kid while writing. Well, it still holds true. In fact, I think it was even worse this time. He might be sick, and he hasn't slept enough the past few days, and I don't think I've ever heard so much constant whiny crying in my life (except when I'm the one doing it, I suppose).

But okay, I admit, I can't blame the general dreadfulness of this recent writing experience all on my kid. It was just not much fun, even when I had the house all to myself in order to write. I'm ashamed of the overuse of a few words as indicated on the Wordle cloud above, a sure sign that I was not in the groove during the writing. I thought that everything I learned was interesting, but I couldn't make my brain go to that place. You know. That sweet, sweet place where all the words just come and you're not constantly using the terrible Word-program thesaurus. Maybe I just had too many distractions in my life. Maybe all of the digital stimulation is turning my brain into mush.

At least I have a draft now, a substantial one, to boot. At the moment, I'm not looking forward to making the additions (i.e., original work) that it needs; nevertheless, I have a draft. And I do believe I can have another one done in much less time than this one took me (um, yeah, almost a year. I suck at grad school).