State of the Bookworm Address!


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?)


  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Enjoy your trip! Interesting to hear about Howards End – Forster is an author I’d like to get to this year if I can!

  2. chezjulie

    Congratulations on your poster session! Wow, Angela Davis. She should be interesting.

    I’m happy to hear that you’re looking forward to your archival research project because I’m a professional archivist. In fact, I’ve taught comp/rhet graduate students! Sounds like an interesting project, too.

    What is keeping you from living the life of the mind? (Serious question). You are a student, reader, blogger…

    • jackiemania

      Not so much not able to live the life of the mind at all, but I’ve been bumping against the fact that I will most likely never be able to go to grad school full time, for example. There is a safety net (and a mental safety net) behind people (like Margaret in Howards End with her 600 a year and upper middle class upbringing) that I have never had and will not ever have. I usually don’t worry about it too much and try to do as much as I can with what I have, but Howards End puts this matter out there big time — and it’s uncomfortable! Just to go to this conference whilst also paying for my tuition and my regular bills is overwhelming. I almost didn’t go even though the project got accepted and it’s an incredible opportunity because of money.

      That’s so cool that you’re an archivist! I know a little about archival etiquette from my class readings (our main text:, but if there are things that you wish all researchers knew before entering an archive, do tell!

  3. KerryCan

    My academic field is rhetoric and public address so your research project fascinates me! I’ll look forward to hearing about progress. And I guess I’m definitely going to need to pick up Middlesex–I keep hearing these rave reviews!

    • jackiemania

      Kerry – based on your rhetoric background and your wonderful blog, I’m wondering if you’ve read:

      An “Essamplaire Essai” on the Rhetoricity of Needlework Sampler-Making: A Contribution to
      Theorizing and Historicizing Rhetorical Praxis Author(s): Maureen Daly Goggin Source: Rhetoric Review, Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 309-338

      SUPER fascinating and inspiring — I’m a maker too and get so excited when my interests bang into each other like this.

      I’ll be sure to post about my research in future blogs. Any hints from your experience appreciated 🙂

      • KerryCan

        I haven’t read the article but I’ll go looking for it (but, really, don’t we academics come up with the craziest names for our articles?!) One of my strong interests has always been protest music so I loved my field of rhetorical criticism–I could spend all my time studying the rhetoric of protest!

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