cw warning: academic anxiety and blather
So I was really, really struck by that article about "burning down the classics" to confront white supremacy which I shared yesterday. Last night I had a dream that was probably related, where I was at a Problematic Conference and gritting my teeth around Problematic Colleagues. (Thanks, subconscious.) The kind of emotional centerpiece to the thing was the anxiety of academic belonging, and how even in the dream I was skirting events and people to go towards those that made me feel welcome and safe, knowing I was missing out on opportunities but also just too damn tired to want to even be in the room with some people.
There is a disciplinary context here, maybe even a couple. All my work is done at intersections, and for a good time I try to explain that the work I do has through-lines of the history of women and publishing. (I'm handy enough at a multitude of other things that they are always willing to buy this on paper, too.) At the same time I'm always are of exactly how much my work doesn't look much like other people's work, and how easily this can be used against me (as well as the ways other things, like my lack of a dick, have been used against me in the past). Also thinking about the Rebecca Solnit piece on credibility that I shared earlier, and the spaces and places where I am accepted as credible vs. where I am not.
And back to the piece on Dan-el Padilla Peralta, which I am so buying his book as we speak, and wondering about the value of burning disciplines down. I saw Amos Kennedy talk last year where he said something about how, for history to be truly equitable, we'd have to burn down all the libraries. And I'm a librarian, so obviously my internal hackles went up even as I thought about *why* my hackles went up. I'm an archivist too, so I know both how bloody hard it is to build collections in a representational way and how even doing so is an uphill battle most of the time. (Historically this translates to "Build more of this--but not like that!!! And also find the money please. Like now.") Annnnnd I'm a bibliographer, so the constant fight to play bibliographic detective and locate the citations and the evidence and the so on and so forth.
Which is all a roundabouts way to say: Hey, I've fought for over a decade to make academia a better place, and it was hard, and sometimes it is so dispiriting that I wonder why I even bother. But then I also think, having clawed my way to where I am, how I can try to make things easier for other people, some day, eventually, hopefully. Maybe. But in the meantime--in the meantime. Woof.