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I didn't get into the PhD program for Mac this fall. Which... I haven't really had time to process it, been so busy moving. I was going back and forth between the apartments and yesterday I finished: cleaned it up and everything!

But then it was a flurry of looking for things and various unfortunate moments of brain-not-working, including some frantic fifteen minutes looking for my passport, and looking for my eticket to Portland (the latter might have been avoided if I'd had the sense of mind to just unpack my printer) and packing and just ugh.

And this morning I woke up at 5 or something stupid and repacked my bag into a smaller one (it occurred to me if the bottles of wine I'm bringing down get loose they'll be knocking around) (plus when I come back I can use the bag as a carry-on).

So, going to Portland! See Andrea and grandaunt Grace! And then back to Hamilton to decide what to do with my life. Baahhh.
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How do you prevent yourself from seeing "unpack, restructure, refine" as "THIS IS TERRIBLE REWRITE EVERYTHING"?
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Got comments back on my proposal. Two from the CSCT committee, and one from my hopefully-supervisor to be.

Click through to see proposal and comments if you're interested )

SO far, so good. I'm going to synthesize all these comments this coming week to work on the next draft.
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So, my 1000-word proposal draft was done on Sunday evening and I just put together my working bibliography. I expect that it will get culled when I'm assigned a supervisor. But it IS a working bibliography! It's also missing some secondary sources right now because I actually have some books on decolonization that I haven't looked through yet. I will tomorrow and then add to this list, and have it printed by Thursday and all will be hunky-dory.

Cut to save your f-list from boringness )

So far I'm doing okay. Had my first class for South Asian Masculinities today which looks to be awesomest ever. Tomorrow is Queer and Trans Theory, which... apparently, Gender Studies grad classes started last week so I (and the other English students taking the class) missed the first class, but I did go see the prof who was very nice and I read Gender Trouble and I'm prepped for it! Tutorials are tomorrow too. Thursdays I have my CSCT core class, which looks neat (Sara Ahmed and Wendy Brown are coming here to lead seminars! I may not like Wendy Brown but still), and the prof is also getting us to get involved in activism of some sort for 10%.



Jan. 9th, 2011 01:56 pm
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My brother sent me and my dad Amy Chua's racist screed on how her abusive parenting skills are better and inherently Chinese, because he'd "never thought about it that way before" and I had to remind them both that it's racist, Orientalist, and abusive on several levels, plus it's a fucked up, terrible interpretation of Chinese ancestor worship. My dad emailed back laughing and said apparently my mom thinks she had a hand at all in my getting cum laude in my BA.

cut for personal angry stuff )

jhameia: ME! (Default)
So, I discovered that apparently some people really, really hate cover pages on papers, particularly essays. Because it's a waste of paper and useless, and so they hate it. And I'm like, but I love cover pages! I don't really see it as a big deal whether or not I get them with the essays I mark (I like 'em because they give me a ton of empty space to write on later).

I also discovered that a lot of my peers hate the "sandwich" essay format! Which is basically, you know, intro, three paragraphs of stuff, and then conclusion. And I'm like, but I USE IT ALL THE TIME. And my arguments don't suffer for it. Shit, if they can barely get a hold of the Sandwich style of essay-writing, I don't really have a whole lot of hope for them to be able to build a coherent argument otherwise. Do I think 5 paragraphs is the Golden Rule that must be adhered to? No. I just think it's a useful guideline on what an essay for first-years should look like. Because otherwise I have to deal with essays in which ideas are stumbling all over the place and I can't make head or tails of them.

Maybe I'm just too n00bish a grad student to understand why the sandwich is such a bad thing when I write sandwich essays all the time.
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I've been considering what to do for my MA project. I asked my supervisor-to-be and the head of the English department if it's okay for me to incorporate creative writing into my project, and they like the idea. I'm gonna copy-paste what I wrote sometime last month about this on Silver Goggles:

Step 1: Identify postcolonial approaches on / readings of fiction.

Step 2: Attempt reading of primary texts using postcolonial approaches.

Step 3: Apply postcolonial approach to a new primary text, i.e., explore through some creative writing how a postcolonial approach might look like with the steampunk aesthetic.

I'm guessing I'll try to identify different schools of postcolonialism, and dedicated one chapter and particular readings to each, and then execute the approach I used at the end of the chapter. So it'll be an evolving story, of sorts. I haven't decided yet what the story will be, and likely, I won't know until I actually start the writing. But it'll probably follow my usual MO of exploring a particular setting and certain characters.

So, I have two choices right now:
Cut for thinky thoughts )
jhameia: ME! (Default)
there will be
a pop quiz on
this Thursday.

are advised to
keep it short

and textbooks
are highly [re-]
jhameia: ME! (Default)
- 7.30am wakeup, walked with Cynthia to the uni.
- Marked papers all the way until Cynthia's panel.
- Marked papers and tweeted and Tumblr'd until my 3.30pm lecture.
- Hung out and did my write-in at 5pm.
- Wrote until 7pm, accomplished 5200 words.
- Watched Youtube bids with the houseguest.

Am tired. Going to bed early too, I think. Yeah.

This whole getting ahead thing? Not working out.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
So today I woke up? And realized I had nothing to do, really, besides write for NaNo. I'd already accomplished about 2k last night and I thought, I could go a couple more K today. Did I mention I'd also written two response papers last night before embarking on the novel writing?

And I kept putting it off, because I had to finish reading some of the readings. In between I wrote 1K each time. And finally culminated the evening by raiding the databases looking for secondary texts I could use for my paper for my Politics class and writing up my proposal.


I'm going to bed tonight feeling effin's accomplished.

Also, my wordcount for the day is 4103.
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- Two full days of student consultations.
- Got to know classmates even better
- Presentation on Ann Cvetkovich; went heavily, but well, I think.
- Short story for Crossed Genres done and submitted, with two days shy of deadline. Not bad considering I started writing it on... Thursday? It is also a sequel of sorts to Between Islands. I doubt it'll be picked, but at least I tried!
- Started reading Anil Menon's primer on postcolonialism
- Talked to Dr. Z about 18th century Orientalism (she did her PhD on it at Brown)

Things to do this weekend:
- Work on proposal for Politics for Our Times class (am going to link the maintenance of online communities to the concepts of defection and exodus)
- Think of a "social issue" to work on for Public Intellectuals class
- Pick a goddamn topic for core course, dammit.
- Read some race theory, because I've been hanging on to Dr. C's book for long enough
- Read some Delany, because I've been hanging onto Dr. A's book long enough.
- Finish this outline for NaNoWriMo
- Go to that Halloween party and hit on that hot dude my age.
- NaNoWriMo kick-off party at the pier
- Batten down the hatches and hope I don't die in November
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Also, I'm dropping out of Beyond Democracy and Terror next semester, and my current choices are: Framing CanLit, Theories on Non-Human life, Modernism and Post-War Japan Cinema, and Reading the Book Before 1800.

I have zero interest in animal rights, not sure if I want to do stuff about books before the 1800s. The CanLit course is being taught by a prof who's pretty big on race and ethnicity studies in Canada (in fact, he was the prof I emailed a long time ago about whether Mac would be a good fit for my program).

The Democracy and Terror course is taught by this guy and I'm currently in a class with him right now. Brilliant dude, but I think I ought to try having other profs.

The course on post-war Japan is called, in full, "Modernism, Orientalism, and the Representation of Post-War Japan in Cinema". I... actually was trying to avoid this? Because sometimes I can have fucking issues with Japan. I don't know if that would factor in very much in this course. I could take it and if I don't like it switch into another class. But I hate doing something like that. Plus, if I took this class, then I have 9.30 classes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, which would be a nice neat regular schedule to have.

I have time to think about this, of course. But it'd be nice to make a decision asap.
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I emailed a friend today about what I've got currently in the works, some of which you'd already have seen before, but just reposting:

Idea #1 was to have a look at Victorian literature and do a lit review of sorts on the kind of racialized depictions of the era, and then compare it to racialized depictions today in current steampunk lit (or subculture, which is where most of the most egregious racefail is). Since it's an MRP, I thought of extending this a bit further into discussing how to best subvert these tropes in order to apply a most postcolonial perspective to steampunk today.

Idea #2 is to take some texts and apply the appropriate theory - I've got theory on race, postcolonialism, performativity and something else I can't remember right now. Doing this seems rather... lacking somehow.

Idea #3 is something I toyed with, which is something that's permissible in my MRP - explore how to properly combine the steampunk aesthetic with postcolonialism, and write a novella that does this. I get to do this, but I'm not sure what my chances of moving onto a PhD would be if I did this. I would really rather not have this MA be my terminal degree... Still, as a writer, this seems to me the most intuitive thing to do!

Idea #4 was something I came up with today after talking to a prof, and she rather liked Idea #1, and said that I would pick certain tropes used today, and trace their genealogies. I kind of like this idea, and thought it might be useful to use particular texts from the last five years, specifically Jay Lake, Cherie Priest/Dru Pagliassotti and Stephen Hunt (I did not know Court of the Air was just the start
of a series. I am all over it now).

I've since combined Ideas #1 and #4 into something that might be a workable PhD project - tracing the genealogies of specific racialized tropes most associated with major racial groups in how they're portrayed when framed in the White Gaze (for example, the Yellow Peril re: East Asians, how it's constructed now and how it came to this point). And by since I mean, since this morning.

I ran into Dr. A while fetching essays from my mailbox (I gave back my first set of essays!) and she invited me into her office to chat about how my MRP is going, since she's rarely on campus. I asked her if she'd like to supervise my MRP and she said sure ^_________^ She's a second reader for a PhD student I ran into and I asked her about other faculty.

I'm very keen on Idea #3, which entails reading up on / owning more postcolonial theory. It rather reminds me of the MA in CW at I believe the University of Hawaii where grad students have to write a book, and their defense involves explaining how their book is situated in their chosen genre.

I'm thinking maybe I could do something similar. It'd be fun! And it'd integrate steampunk AND postcolonialism meanderings into applications almost right away. Then I can think about my PhD.

jhameia: ME! (Default)
So, some of you probably know it took me about two years to figure out what it was I wanted to do for my MA degree.

This program is only one year. By the end of August I am expected to be done, completed.

I'm not sure what the project will actually end up looking like. For one, it's a Research Project, so it doesn't have to be a thesis. Will doing a non-thesis thing mean I have less of a chance getting into a PhD program?

My idea is this:
1) Read up on lots of theory (so far, race, postcolonialism, postmodernism, performativity)
2) Do a lit review of early proto-steampunk works (Edisonade, Victorian pulp, Gothic lit) and other writings from the Victorian era in the English-speaking work that deal with the racialized Other (I have a couple of books of missionary stories).
3) Analyse how racialized bodies are written about then.
4) Compare how racialized characters are written now, within the new boom of steampunk lit of the last, oh, 5 years or so.
5) Ideally, end with a general framework for RaceFail Avoidance in Steampunk. Alternatively, embark on a creative writing project of my own (I can do this.)

Still not quite sure how the theory is going to play into this. I'm focusing on the lit, although I've got a couple of recs on performativity theory.


With all this, I've got to decide at the very least if I'm staying in Canada after my MA. I could go home to figure out my PhD except then I'd have to go through the hassle of moving my shit all the way across the world. I could try to stay here to find a job, although I'm not sure as what (maybe a lecturer... I kinda think I would do okay with that; but I might score a lecturing job at home too).

My dad wants to go cycling in Belgium in September, since my flight will take me through Amsterdam Schipol. So I gotta figure out what's going to happen to my stuff here and how long I'll be gone for.

I just had the idea of maybe analysing South East Asian myths and folklore. Not just Malay literature, but also comparing with myths and folklore from other SEA countries too, to see how they compare, similarities and divergences. The thing is, I don't know what they would fall under? And I have zero background in that kind of ethnographic type stuff.

I would eventually like to return to Malaysia.

Anyways, that's thinky thoughts for now.


Oct. 18th, 2010 01:41 am
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Done my live-blogging of my paper reading. See? See? The Internet is good for homework.

Tomorrow I'll work on an actual response paper and read the rest of the readings for the week XD
jhameia: ME! (Default)

Friday's class was cancelled. What to do? RESCHEDULE IT. FOR TODAY. IN BETWEEN MY OTHER TWO CLASSES. Holy fuck.

This means I have been in seminars from 9.30 to 6.30.

I thought I would die.

I still feel that way.

I am alive, though.
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So, yeah. Class, then went to the lecture for the class I TA for, then hung out. My friend Jennifer wanted to see a Chinese movie that the Confuscius Institute was going to play but they had issues with the projector, so, ... uhm, we went downtown instead? And watched the Social Network. It was okay, I guess. But yeah, it was kinda weird having just random socializing conversations with people.

Tomorrow I'm going hiking with another friend. We're going to see if we can find a waterfall.

Yeah. I also have a book by Samuel Delany on loan from a prof! And books to read. Yeah.

I'm going to bed.


Sep. 16th, 2010 05:48 pm
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That Elizabeth Moon essay. I don't even. What. The. Fuck.

I just read Edward Said's chapter "On Defiance and Taking a Position" and I read it after a particularly trying article which was classist AND racist (I had a chat with another classmate about this article earlier today) and I gotta say, after reading the clusterfuck that was Moon's essay (and that troll in comments, who actually said that Japanese-Americans who submitted quietly to interment camps showed commendable behaviour, that that is how good citizens should behave in the face of a threatened state), I need a panacea of equal measure.




h/t from Jeff Vandermeer, MOON JUST DELETED THE COMMENTS!!!!
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Just had a very long chat with Stepha, about nothing in particular, just wanted to reconnect with her and see how she's doing.

I've been having a bluebottle problem, so today I went to get some sticky tape for flies and have it dangling by the fluorescent tube in my kitchen where they appear to enjoy congregating.

I also went to buy my books today. Turns out one of the texts I need for a class, I already have. Yay me. The damage wasn't too bsd - $137 for eight books.

I'm not drinking enough water, and I need to get a bit more regular sleep. So it's 11pm, and I'm off now, even if there's nothing going on in school until 10 tomorrow. Besides, I want to track down the Graduate Student Association. And get a Graduate Student Agenda. I've always wanted to be one of those poncy people with special edition stuff.

I'm still nervous about tutorials, and likely will spend too much time preparing stuff for my first class.

Days are getting cold too. Oh well.

Skool stuff

Aug. 9th, 2010 04:04 pm
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So! I have just regged for the courses that I'm OK'd to take:

English/CSCT 797* Politics For Our Times
Dr. Petra Rethman T, 9:30-11:30 CNH 317

English/CSCT 719* Public Intellectuals & Their Work: Intellectual Practices in Culture Studies & Politics
Dr. Henry Giroux T, 3:30-6:30, CNH 317

CSCT 700* Issues in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory I : Power/Knowledge/Critique
Dr. Susie O'Brien F, 12:30-3:30 CNH 317

ENG/CSCT 791* Rethinking Politics: Thinking Part War, Democracy, and Terror
Dr. Henry Giroux M, 3:30-6:30 CNH 317

ENG/CSCT 742* Mapping South Asian Masculinities
Dr. Chandrima Chakraborty T, 9:30-12:30 CNH 317

CSCT 701* Cultural Studies and Critical Theory II
Dr. Susan Fast Th, 9:30-12:30 CNH 317

I had actually applied to take Cultures of Modernism ahead of Mapping South Asian Masculinities. I'm not sure why I wasn't accepted for Cultures of Modernism, but I can go ask when I get into town. I'm particularly interested in that one, especially since the professor for it actually has speculative fiction listed in her profile as one of her teaching and supervisory interests, so I was hoping to get her to be my supervisor. I'll see if I can still get into that class.

To be honest, the timetable intimidates me. THREE HOUR CLASSES WTF. I mean, yeah, I get why, WisCon panels always felt like they needed to be way way longer.

School starts on Sept 13, so, I've got plenty of time to get settled and get used to walking to school or taking the bus and stuff.

I sign off in a couple of hours, and I don't know when I'll be back online on a full-time basis. Hopefully by next week I'll have internet in my new place.

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