As an emerging scholar the community formed through academic conferences has been motivating. Through discussions with scholars across the fields of cultural studies, literature, trauma, and performance studies, my focus has developed more nuance. As I engaged with the presentations of my peers, I noted that my interest was piqued in the conversations about contemporary culture. I also began to understand myself as a member of the larger, academic community as I worked with professionals who offered critique and support of my ideas and writing.
Northeast Modern Language Association, April 2018
“We Was Girls Together”: Erotic Power and Sisterhood as an Avenue for Resistance in Morrison’s Sula
This was my first professional conference and though I did not understand it at the time, it was situated well within my understanding of community intimacy. For this panel I presented a paper that investigated Toni Morrison's Sula, which, through the nuances of female relationship building and sisterhood with the characters of Nel and Sula, I began to understand the importance of community for defending and defining the individual. While contemporary research kept offering queer readings of Nel and Sula, I utilized Audre Lord's definition of female eroticism to show that the nature of their relationship was built upon an intimacy derived from physical closeness and vulnerability that flourished in their girlhood. This intimate power manifests itself within the text as Nel's "me-ness," which I attempted to theorize in correlation with intimacy and community.
This conference panel featured several fellow scholars who investigated female resistance across a range of media from French filmography, Tudor literature, and the protest signs from the Women's March on Washington. Through this interdisciplinary panel, I was exposed to critical lenses for media studies and cultural studies that shifted my perspective toward an emphasis on popular culture. The most beneficial aspect was that the panel members shared their research before the conferences so that we could come prepare to discuss the implications of our work as a collective whole. The community of the panel itself offered a place for a budding intellectual to be guided toward new theoretical approaches through the suggestions and comments from fellow academics.
“This power cements itself on a 'sisterhood' more intimate and regulating force than friendship. Their sisterhood is the source of their resistance to the larger entities around them, and it is through this sisterhood that each character discovers moments of what Morrison casually dubs Nel’s 'me-ness'.”
Above: The eight participants and graduate student proctor of the "'Nevertheless, they Persisted'" panel at the 2018 NeMLA convention.
Photo courtesy of Didem Uca.
Theatre Symposium, April 2019
Being On Display and In Display: The Tactical Negotiation of Agency and Citizenship by Performing 'Prisoner'
At this forthcoming conference, I will be presenting a paper that presents a more directed discussion of my research with the play Run-On Sentence. I am excited for this conference because it is allowing me to refine my discussion of the roles of prison performing arts projects in regards to definitions of personhood and citizenship for incarcerated women actors.
Popular Culture Association/American Studies Association, April 2019
“At any given Before moment”: Post-Apocalyptic Trauma and the Collective Memory in Washburn’s Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
Photo of abstract and conference scheduling information. Photo courtesy of PCA/ACA .
This conference is offering me a space to nuance my discussion of Washburn's Mr. Burns as part of the "Disasters, Apocalypses, and Catastrophes" Area of the PCA/ACA conference. Whereas in my seminar paper I focused on the misremembering of trauma through The Simpsons and Diet Coke, I framed this conference paper around the role of The Simpsons as a fetishized cornerstone our cultural memory. I am looking forward to using this space to receive more feedback on my understanding of the relationship between popular culture and national identity.