Hello! This is one of those weeks where I feel like a juggler — I have a zillion things in the air! Let me tell you about the bookish ones:
-I’m going to the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2014! I did a project last semester with two other students, and it was selected for a poster session at the conference, so I’ll also be presenting! I don’t think I ever showed you all the project — we made a website instead of writing a traditional paper. It’s called The Global is Social: Exploring Worldwide Literacy on a Socio-Local Scale. If you click on the menu items on the left you’ll see our work, including snippets of interviews on video that we recorded as part of our research. We did the research at UArts, the university I work at (I attend and will be representing Rutgers-Camden at the conference). I’m so excited! The world of Rhetoric and Composition is also tied into the world of social justice, and I’m really looking forward to attending sessions on community and literacy. Many of my comp/rhet heros will be at the conference, and I’m a little overwhelmed that Angela Davis will be speaking as well. I know I’m supposed to be a serious scholar, but all I can say is “Eeeee!”
-I’m swooning majorly over Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I took it with me to the hospital to wait out my husband’s tonsil surgery (poor man!) and I’m now in deep and can’t put it down even though I’m reading it as part of a read-a-long. I’ll probably finish it up in the next day or two, and then re-read the sections for each week. It’s that good (and rich and multilayered — a second reading is a requirement I do believe!). I’m not even sure what to say about it because it’s about EVERYTHING, EVER. So, so impressed.
-I’m obsessed by the research project I’m doing this semester in my Research in Composition and Literacy class! We are learning about archival research and have to plan an archival research project. I started digging, and woah — I found a project I definitely want to complete! My little pot of gold was found in the archives of Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. They hold 23 boxes of primary source material on the Rose Valley utopian community which existed just under a decade, at the turn of the (last) century, right outside of Philadelphia. My project’s working title is Giving Place to No Place: The Rhetoric of The Rose Valley Utopian Community (utopia means no place in Greek) and it will explore the language use in these primary source materials such as letters, the journal published by Rose Valley Press called The Artsman, legal papers, and meeting minutes. A few of my beginning research questions are: What is the rhetorical situation of Rose Valley? What rhetorical devises are used, and to what ends? How is the concept of utopia communicated in the Rose Valley papers with rhetorical conventions? How do the papers induce belief? Persuade? Create identification? Are the Rose Valley papers a site of epideictic persuasion? but I won’t really know where I’m going until I visit the archive. I’m hoping to go as soon as I get grab a day off from work after the conference!
Talk about passionate attachments! I’m an Arts & Crafts fanatic, and I did my senior project in college on Victorian Utopias in Literature (where I analyzed, amongst other books, News from Nowhere by William Morris, which is the fictional utopian community Rose Valley was based on!). This will be a continuation of decades of interest. I’ll keep you updated!
-I am about half way through my Classics Spin #5 book Howards End. Reading this book is like having a million tiny knives stuck into me, over and over. Those of you who have read it — did it affect you strongly too? Maybe it’s because I’m a Leonard Bast (I know our social climate is not that of England at the time of this book, but we are not as mobile as we wish to believe is my opinion. I do not and never will have “600 a year” — will I never be able to live the life of the mind I crave like Leonard? I try and stay away as much as I can from the world of “telegrams and anger” but that, too, seeps in. That being said, I’ve not yet finished the book — so we’ll see if I’m bleeding to death by the end or something hopeful happens.
So, yeah — juggling! Juggling knives even, on a tightrope! Just like in the illustration!
(image: how beautiful is this juggler print on a book page over at Madame Bricolage’s etsy page?)