Internet Bibliography #2

This week, I’ve mostly been enjoying the delights of Cardiff at the SFS annual conference. Much coffee, bara brith, and stimulating Frenchy chat. Also, the HEAT, which has felt like a thousand suns’ worth of irritation thrown strategically at our fair isles. The picks below have helped to distract me from melting into a puddle and/or violently calcifying into a pile of caffeine. Enjoy!


-          On women, representation and film:

o   The Dissolve team spell out the 50 most daring movie roles for women since Ripley of Alien fame. I’m vaguely annoyed that the need to have such a list exists – can’t women just have interesting movie roles as standard now, please? In any case, I like the bite-size chunks of comments that anchor each entry, and there’s not an entry that made me choke on my toast or anything. Feels a bit like the beginning sketches of a decent film/gender syllabus…

"Chola" by Koala MeatPie. Via  Flickr .

"Chola" by Koala MeatPie. Via Flickr.

-          On appropriation:

o   Obviously, I have binge watched Orange is the New Black’s season 3. If you haven’t seen it, hold all your calls and go and watch it now. NOW. This season, I’ve been particularly enamoured of Flaca and Maritza’s killer eyeliner. At some point, somebody mentioned “chola style”, and I had to look it up. “Chola” refers to a highly specific Mexican-American form of female representation, of which one part may be the kind of eyeliner Flaca and Maritza rock. So, I’ve been thinking about issues of appropriation in this context, particularly after reading Barbara Calderón-Douglass’s recent piece for Vice, The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend; Phillip Picardi’s comments on Givenchy’s autumn 2015 “chola Victorian” runway show; and a personal response to “cholafication” on the Cultural Appropriation on Tumblr site.

-          On history:

o   @AfAmHistFail anonymously chronicles the things tourists say when touring the historic plantation that she works on. Nicole Cliffe’s interview with @AfAmHistFail for The Toast is painfully eye-opening as to how far we still have to go to achieve racial equality, and the necessity of quality history teaching to show the horrors perpetrated in the past that shape everyday experiences for large swathes of the population.

"Le Mundaneum à Mons (Belgique) " by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra. Via  Flickr .

"Le Mundaneum à Mons (Belgique) " by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra. Via Flickr.

o   It turns out, Belgium invented the (paper only) internet in 1895 in their facility Mundaneum in Mons. (With this, TinTin and Lambic beer, why don’t the Belgians rule the world?) French-language Nouvel Obs has a fascinating interview with one of Mundaneum’s directors, which unpacks the history of the place and the ovewhelming obsession of its two founders. Plus some great pictures and drawings relating to the place’s history.


-          On academic matters:

o   Peter Dayan gave a great plenary lecture at this year’s SFS discussing the role of creativity in modern language studies. He cited persuasively from Stephen Benson and Clare Connors’ (eds.) 2014 volume Creative Criticism: An Anthology and Guide, showing that creative writing is a part and parcel of our working lives. I’ve wishlisted the book myself, and am looking forward to getting my hot little hands on it.

o   Relatedly, UCL has a “Creative Critical Writing” PhD pathway which directly targets the kind of self-consciously innovative academic work that is possible if we accept that we have always been “creatives” all along.

o   Rice University’s Joshua Eyler has written a breath-taking piece, “The Grief of Pain”, which interweaves a meditation on the deeper resonances of his teaching and a reflection on the sorrow of chronic illness, the joy of boundless love for another. I’m really struck by its blend of intellectual and emotional honesty, leaving me inspired and moved. Eyler is a founder member of the Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages, and edited a brilliant book on medieval disability, published in 2010.

"The Gift of Pain" by wackystuff. Via  Flickr .

"The Gift of Pain" by wackystuff. Via Flickr.

Internet Bibliography #1

I try to read the entire internet every 48 hours or so. Granted, about fifty per cent of what I mine from the digital repository gets stockpiled in Pocket or one of a kajillion tabs over three devices. What I’m saying is that I get to stuff in my own time, so I’m probably not one to follow if you want second-by-second reportage of breaking news. Hell, that’s why I decided to have an explicit “old news” tag for the blog for when I want to examine stuff that’s been floating around for weeks/months/years in online discourse. Anyway, this is the first in a regular(ish) series of posts chronicling stuff I’ve dug up and enjoyed online in the past week or so. Enjoy, dearest reader(s)!

-          On female bodies and food:

1962 Ad, Sucaryl Sweetener, with Pretty Secretary. Published in Good Housekeeping, October 1962, Vol. 155, No. 4.  From Flickr user   Classic Film  .

1962 Ad, Sucaryl Sweetener, with Pretty Secretary. Published in Good Housekeeping, October 1962, Vol. 155, No. 4. From Flickr user Classic Film.

o   Marcia Aldrich’s article “Weight” for The Butter – a reflection on her own experiences of body policing (externally mandated or otherwise), and the ways in which female weight affects everything. Quote: “Why does the subject of weight compel me? Because it connects me to others. Because it is a dynamic issue, not static, not something you solve once and for all and are done. It’s a process, it’s a lifetime objective. It intersects with other interesting and sometimes contradictory issues, and that’s interesting to me. It isn’t simple, no matter how simplified self-help approaches and diets try to make women and weight seem.”

o   Women Laughing Alone with Salad Tumblr - photographs spotlighting the aching absurdity of dieting / body control for women. Bless him, my feminist husband sent me the link to this: top work.

o   Model and comedian Sarah Hartstone has been photographed with salad, laughing and alone obviously. Her 2014 piece for The Guardian responds to the Tumblr, concisely breaking down why typical stock photographs of women, usually limited to four categories – the dieter, the multi-tasker, the mother, the sex-object – are so problematic.


-          On female self-presentation, feminism, and the patriarchy:

o   The inimitable Amy Schumer’s depressingly spot-on (and weirdly danceable)“Girl You Don’t Need Makeup” music video.

o   Alexandra Dal’s “Lady Problems” illustration, linked to from this AskMefi thread,  pictured left.

o   Megan Rosalarian Gedris’ pithy comic “Feminism is having a wardrobe malfunction”. Say it loud and proud with Gedris: Hey girl, have the whole pie.

o   Haley Motek for The Hairpin, asking “What are we doing about our facial hair?” As a woman with pale skin and mahogany hair, I welcome almost any reference to women’s body hair that drops the delicate veil and gets to the point: ladies be having the hair too!

o   Discussion of attitudes towards women shaving (or not) in a 2012 Metafilter thread, anchored around Mayim Bialik’s comments on her own decision not to shave her legs.

o   Sorta thematically linked: Soraya Roberts’ dissection of Alanis Morissette’s early incarnation as a pop princess (WTF!?), before consciously reshaping her identity and releasing (the perfection that is) Jagged Little Pill.

o   The Hairpin’s Sara Black McCulloch interviews Arabelle Sicardi, Buzzfeed beauty editor, on self-care and beauty as a means for women to create their own narratives, and overcome the restrictive banalities of everyday life. Quote “I [Sicardi] do these things because I have to survive, but survival isn’t progression—it’s the standard you need to keep. It’s like treading water, so if I don’t do self-care, then I’m just going to be stuck in my own head and detached from my own body.”


-          On history and meaning(s):

1968 Ad, Playtex Tampons, "The First-Day Tampon". Published in Redbook magazine, November 1968, Vol. 132, No. 1. From Flickr user  Classic Film .

1968 Ad, Playtex Tampons, "The First-Day Tampon". Published in Redbook magazine, November 1968, Vol. 132, No. 1. From Flickr user Classic Film.

o   Ashley Fetters’ history of the tampon for The Atlantic: “The commercial tampon as we know it has been shaped and re-shaped by a myriad of invisible forces—like genuine concern for women’s wellness, certainly, but also sexism, panic, feminism, capitalism, and secrecy.”

o   The coffin of Swedish bishop, Peter Winstrup (d. 1679), contains not only his exquisitely (and uncannily) preserved mummified body, but also the remains of a five-month-old foetus. So much going on here, including: 1) the mystery of how the foetus came to be placed there; 2) the agony of the imagined mother’s situation; 3) the very material reality of the Bishop, who is recognisable as a mummy in comparison to contemporary portraits; 4) the co-location of the foetus and the Bishop as a concretisation of the hierarchy tying laity to clergy. I concur with Mefite frumiousb: “I find this an incredibly sad story, because I see a mother who somehow wanted to help her child get to Heaven, and trusted the bishop to intercede on its behalf.”

o   Karinne’s “Clothing the Low Countries” showcases research into dress in the Low Countries in the period 1480-1530.  The glossary in particular is fab.


-          On the business of academia:

Call numbers on books (Library of Congress Classification). From Flickr user   CCAC North Library  .

Call numbers on books (Library of Congress Classification). From Flickr user CCAC North Library.

o   L. L. Wynn’s overwhelmingly useful guide to academic publishing from 2009, including encouraging words of wisdom, a breakdown of the whole process, free resources, and sample (successful) prospectuses and cover letters. Posted on Culture Matters, a forum for current and former students and staff in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Australia with lots of good content.