I suffer dreams/of a world gone mad/I like it like that/and I know it…
So I’m one step from declaring my life a temporary emergency zone.
I am going to make seven posts in rapid succession to catch myself back up here (I hope). But here’s the deal. My laptop died. I had some major family issues. My girlfriend got sick. *I* got sick (yay, love antibiotics that make me super drowsy). I missed a conference, but luckily I sent my materials and they were displayed via video (I love digital media). I’m embroiled in some sort of dramatic exchange with a professor. It’s… the end of the semester. Yay!
So anyway, enough of me explaining why I haven’t updated every day like I said I would. Let’s get to an actual update. I didn’t have any classes, in the general sense, this week, as all our professors are at CCCC (where my video was sent). My life moved in to swallow all the time, but I did have one really interesting academic conversation with Julie.
We were dining on sushi (well, she was– I’m not that brave when I’m sick, so I had some manner of enormous plate-o-beef stirfry which was delicious) when we started to talking about how people “come out” as academics (all apologies to the GLBT community for using your metaphor, but I’m borrowing it here from another scholar on our campus). We were talking about ourselves, in large degree, when we came to the “isn’t it ironic that…”
I’m part Cherokee. And I do Native American rhetorics. We have a friend who is gay, and he does GLBT. We have another friend who is African American. She does… yes… African American rhetoric.
So this leads me to more ask a question than to really assert any opinion. We claim in the field that we want open research and for people to not feel boxed in, but is there a sense that we still have to write/research as what we are?
Someone told me a few years ago that one didn’t need to be “black,” for example, to do African American scholarship. But in that class–which was American studies– all of the African American works and theory were written by African Americans. And as I start to learn Native American rhetoric, I’ve noticed that the Indigenous studies works that aren’t written by Indigenous people are automatically viewed with a degree of skepticism (I can even attest to being the skeptic in one case).
So it makes me wonder… CAN someone write accurately about what he or she isn’t on a race/gender/sexuality/spirituality level? And if not, are we sort of kidding ourselves when we think we can look at some other sort of community from the outside and write about it in a way that is fair?
I’m not sure… this is just a thought rattling around in my head. I thought I’d share it.