sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
[personal profile] sentientcitizen asked:

I would love to hear your thoughts about academia and having actually been free of it for a while now and whether you ever want to go back etc etc.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)

If The Thousand and One Nights was a fandom, I would be all over that fandom. For serious, yo. Just opening my thesis to get back to work at it, I stared at the list of story names in my table of contents and began to grin. Because I love these stories, you guys! So much love! But instead of reading reams of fic about them, I had to write a thesis instead.

In which, in a series of long asides that may or may not be somewhat incomprehensible, I am overly excitable on the subject of the Nights. Because I have ~feeeeelings~ )

Oh joy.

May. 24th, 2011 05:22 pm
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
So remember that thing I was doing where I was writing a thesis? And I got a rough draft done? And then I got a concussion? Yeah, so I'm finally recovered enough now from the concussion to actually be able to work on the damn thing again. Except my thesis supervisor is going on sabbatical at the end of the month. Which means that in an ideal world I would be handing my completed thesis to him on Friday. And today was the first day I could meet with him to discuss the changes I need to make, because of the long weekend getting in the way. Which means that I have, uh, two and a half days to do EVERYTHING to my terrible first draft and turn it into a sparkling gem of academic brilliance. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. IT IS TO LAUGH.

In other words, I am banning myself from fandom until my thesis is handed in. Because I know me, and I know the lure of "I'm just going to check my flist one more time."


Once I finish supper.
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
A question for you, my dear r/flisties!

For one of my school projects, I am doing an analysis of the way that energy technologies are portrayed in scifi as indicative of the popular cultures hopes and fears about it. And I am discovering that I simply don't know enough modern scifi!

Here are the ideas I've had so far:
- red matter, in Star Trek XI (energy = DANGEROUS)
- humans as batteries, in The Matrix (energy = DANGEROUS)
- ZPMs in SGA (clean, powerful, renewable energy as a shiny possibility, but one we're not capable of yet)
- the arc reactor in Iron Man (...I don't remember anything about it. I need to rewatch the relevant bits of those movies)

So what I'd love to know is, what other recent scifi (let's say, within the last decade) says something about energy technology? Just some names of movies/tv shows/books that I ought to check out would be marvelously useful! Because for some reason, this isn't something that often gets brought up in online reviews, so internet searches are proving less than helpful to me in figuring out what sources to use...


Apr. 1st, 2011 01:52 am
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (TDS: Stewart: Swoon! omg)
Complete draft of thesis: ACCOMPLISHED
Partying it up in celebration: ACCOMPLISHED


I am back, O Internets Of My Heart! I have missed you! But first, sleep. I trust you will still be here in the morning.
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
I disengage briefly from my thesis to bring you this message:

If the internet does not contain Kamar/Budoor/Hayat OT3 fic I will be very disappoint. I WILL BE CHECKING, INTERNETS.

Okay, back to reading the Thousand and One Nights with a ~proper academic~ brain. I wasn't here!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Oh dear. So. You may or may not know that I am in my last year of my university degree. Thus I am doing an undergrad thesis. The completed rough draft is due at the end of March, and I have a LOT of work to do on it.

Thus, for the rest of March, I am banishing myself from the world of fandom. No LJ, no Dreamwidth, no AO3, no other fanfic archives or journalling sites or peripherally-related bits of the internet. I will go on DW once a day to update my Bible Project, since that is not a commitment I am going to drop, but other than that there will be radio-silence from me until April.

So. Yeah. *headdesk* I WILL MISS YOU WHILE I AM GONE!

Drabble )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Remember how yonks ago I promised I'd share with you my final essay from my course on Queer Theory, the one that I wrote about fandom? I told you I would post it after the new year? Yeah, um, a month and a half it is in all its glory. I have not edited the content at all from the when I submitted it. Um, sorry about all the footnotes; they're a lot more readable when they go at the end of the page instead of the end of the entire essay!

Also, I realized belatedly that the polite thing to do would have been to ask the authors of the fics and posts I cite whether it would be okay for me to do so. So, um, I'm very sorry to anyone who discovers this and is offended by my use of their writing. There's not much I can do after the fact except to apologize and say that at least the only audience for my essay was my relatively fandom-friendly prof?

Anyways, I hope at least someone finds this interesting. I had fun doing it. (though I could not make myself reread it, even for posting it here - I can hardly ever bear to reread my essays. I only skimmed enough to put in the necessary formatting...)

In Your Media Queering Your Characters )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
HAHAHAH, I knew it was there somewhere! While working on my Queer Theory essay there's a thought that I've been chasing down that I knew had to be relevant, and I finally worked it out. To Judith Butler, drag is a demonstration of the way that gender is performative, and imitative, and that there's no such thing as an original and essential gender. Drag imitates, but it is not imitating a pre-existing gender, it imitates something for which there is no original.

AND! Slash does the same thing for sexuality! Slash is not about imitating the homosexual man's experiences; it is imitative, but of itself, of a sexuality that has no original.


Now I just need to expand on this point a little more....

I <3 Fandom

Dec. 5th, 2010 11:21 pm
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Writing my essay on fandom for my Queer Theory course feels strangely like procrastination. :D

Also, it is letting me indulge in my adoration of footnotes, because I need SO MANY FOOTNOTES to explain the many bits of jargon needed to talk about fandom.

And now I need to shut up and go back to essay writing because although READING stuff online totally counts as research, this doesn't.

Jane Eyre

Nov. 27th, 2010 06:38 pm
sophia_sol: Hamlet, as played by David Tennant, reading a book (Hamlet: Hamlet reading)
I reread Jane Eyre this last week, for the first time since I read the book in grade seven. In grade seven I adored it unreservedly; these days I am a little more reserving in my love for it, but I have discovered that I still can't help but like it. Though my feelings for it are complicated....

Spoilers for Jane Eyre )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Thing One: I just had fun doing this little thingy, in which you have to come up with the 200 most-mentioned names in the Harry Potter books. In 18 minutes. It allows you to just do last names, which turns out to be a bit of a cheat because then you can stick "weasley" in and your name-number jumps by a ridiculous number of names. But anyways. I did it, and I did it WITHOUT letting myself use any resource other than my own memory, and I was able to get to 90/200. Can any of you beat me? (my number would have been one higher, only I couldn't remember for the life of me how to spell McLaggen. Damn schwa that I thought was an a, not an e....)

Thing Two: Today I read a fascinating original story about the monsters in a dark lord's moat. You might like it too. (...look. The author made me cry over tentacle-creatures. That's doin' pretty well.)

Thing Three: So I'm writing an essay on fandom for my queer theory class. Doing the research feels remarkably like procrastination.


Nov. 4th, 2010 12:56 am
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thing One: For the first time in my life, this week, I saw the music video to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Apparently it's somewhat unusual that I have never done so before? I hadn't actually even heard the song before! Well -- pop culture music and I have never been close acquaintances...

ANYWAYS. Thriller. It was hilarious. So cheesy, so amazing, so downright weird. And strangely enthralling at the same time. I DON'T EVEN KNOW. And now I want fic, perhaps fic in which the girlfriend has a bit more agency, instead of just randomly standing around while her boyfriend and a bunch of zombies dance together, and then running away screaming and cowering.

(The one fic on AO3 that is about Thriller is super-awesome, but WANT MORE!)

Thing Two: I have finally changed my desktop background, after nearly a YEAR of it being one thing. Now I have Aziraphale and Crowley playing chess, and it makes me very happy.

Thing Three: More and more I’m realizing that my default way of interacting with a given bit of academia is to engage with it fannishly. If something intrigues me and gets me thinking, it makes me want to read and/or write fic about it, or meta, or something along those lines. Every single text I’ve read for lit this year, I have wanted fic for. Every person I learn about in some of my other courses, I want fic for. Every new bit of queer theory I learn, I want fic for. And I want crossover fic, and metafic, and crack-fic, and AU, and lots of tropes, and serious stuff too, and basically just – this is how I want to INTERACT with it. It allows me to ACTUALLY engage with the texts, whereas the assigned essays are often just regurgitating the stuff the professor said. (Blah. Dear lit professor, please give us essay topics that AREN'T taken straight out of the stuff you explicitly talk about in class? Make us use our brains? Please? Just a little?) Unfortunately, fanfic’s not the sort of engagement-with-the-text that your average university professor appreciates...

(I'm totally writing my Queer Theory essay on something to do with fandom, though; just you wait. I'm super-excited about that. Haven't decided exactly what in particular yet, though! HOW TO CHOOSE?)
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
You know what is hilarious? The romantic movement. DUDE. Okay, before today I'd never read anything starring a romantic hero, and omg, the emo, the UNRELENTING EMO. René, by Chateaubriand: it cracks me up. I only read an excerpt, but that excerpt was priceless. Also, near the beginning of the excerpt I was like, gosh, Rene and his sister are pretty close. And then later I was like, whoa, you two, GET A ROOM -- except please don't because you're related. AND THEN IT TURNED OUT THE SISTER ACTUALLY HAD INCESTUOUS FEELINGS FOR HIM, and I just about died. THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN OUTSIDE OF FANFIC. Oh romanticism...

Actually, you know, the whole thing just really read like the sort of self-indulgent emo fanfic one stumbles across when being particularly undiscerning. And the surprising thing is that Chateaubriand wrote it when he was THIRTY-FOUR.

(also, I am getting the distinct impression that my prof's theme for this course is "Here are all the ways in which well-respected works of literature contain TOTALLY NON-NORMATIVE SEXUALITITES." I mean, we've already covered, in only two months, onanism and bestiality and sodomy and pedophilia and D/s and now incest. I wonder where there is to go from here..... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Hamlet: Hamlet: reading)
And now, for All Hallows Day, a fic about the dead.

This one is inspired by, of all things, something my Queer Theory prof said while explaining Butler's "heterosexual melancholia". (No, the fic has nothing to do with heterosexual melancholia!)

Title: To Be King
Fandom: Shakespeare (King Lear)
Characters: Edgar, and most of the other major characters
Rating: PG
Length: 876 words
Summary: The problem with the dead is that you can't shut them up.

No, Goneril says, a whisper in his ear, a voice nobody else can hear from a woman nobody else can see. )
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
I had one of those delicious moments of cross-contamination between my fandom and academic interests today, in the context of my queer theory course. Well, more accurately, thus far that course is ALWAYS interesting to me in a fannish and an academic and a personal sense, but today the fannish-academic connection was stronger than usual.

My most recent bout of obsessive fic-reading is in the Smallville fandom. This is a fandom that is deeply concerned with power and knowledge. Power in the sense of the super-powers of Clark and mutant powers of Lex, power in the sense of power over other people, power in the sense of power over the city or the world (or the galaxy...). And knowledge in the sense of the knowledge of each other that friendship between Clark and Lex has caused, knowledge in the sense of knowing (or discovering) each other's secrets, knowledge in the sense of knowing stuff (about science, about the world, about Krypton). And these two things, knowledge and power, are closely linked to each other.

So talking about Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality this evening, in which he argues that knowledge and power are so closely linked that you really can't talk about them separately, immediately made me think of Smallville. Especially since this knowledge/power OTP is, in both cases, intimately concerned with sexuality. To fandom, two guys as obsessed with each other as Clark and Lex have to be sexually interested in each other. And to Foucault, power and pleasure are connected intimately, with the two things feeding into one another; power and pleasure are two sides of the same coin that are connected with the sexualized body. And knowledge and sexuality are also intimately connected: we talk about "carnal knowledge", as a term for sex, and about "knowing someone biblically"; and confession and knowledge and sexuality are all tied up in each other.

And there's also the bit where Foucault doesn't see power as being a necessarily negative thing (of the "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely" line of thinking). Power isn't only restrictive and prohibitive, it also has creative and productive possibilities. This also ties in interestingly to Smallville, because Lex has this definite desire for power, which is often seen as negative, and yet fandom ultimately wants him to be a good guy (or at least close enough to the "good" side of the spectrum to allow for a happy ending with Clark). But if desire for power over other people doesn't have to be a bad thing, then that opens some interesting doors.

I do not know enough about Foucault. I have read the first hundred pages of his introduction to the history of sexuality. I have listened to one lecture about him. I have read the wikipedia article about him. And that is it. He is a deeply intelligent man, who wrote dense books, and it takes more than one read-through to wrap your head around the ideas.

But now I desperately want get that thorough knowledge of this stuff, so that I can write a proper analysis of Smallville fandom from a Foucaultian perspective. Either that or write one of those ridiculously meta fics incorporating Foucault's theories into the story. Except that Foucault is intimidating, and we're already moving on from him to Judith Butler, so I don't really have the time to dwell. ALAS.

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