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Last week was the really big one-off Bibliography conference that I went to to hang with Todd and my diss chair. (I did submit proposals for a paper and for membership in a working group and got ~denied). In addition to a bunch of interesting papers, the conversations in between sessions and at the receptions centered around, on the one hand, a lot of self-congratulation (look at us! acknowledging that there is a world beyond Europe!) and anxiety; a telling moment was at a luncheon on social justice I went to where one person asked "Who here feels like they belong?" and only like three people in a room of 30something did. Also at said social justice luncheon, we spent an hour avoiding words like "race" and "queer" and so on, even though it was directly in response to Charlottesville because that's where the organization was located. (Admittedly I said them in the context of promoting my project, but there was no engagement with that. So, I tried.)

I knew I didn't feel like I belong; I'm not now nor have ever been someone from the Ivies, much of my scholarship has been devoted to popular culture, etc. (I'm so tempted to add "I'm not a self-absorbed prat" but that seems mean since it doesn't apply to a number of people, even if it does to a bunch of others.) To my surprise I asked Todd if he felt he did, and he said no as well; he's a white dude, maybe he didn't go to Ivies but he def went to the tiers after that, he's very focused on traditional print history.

I'm still trying to process, but I would argue that acknowledging gaps, erasures, and so on do not remedy them. There's still work to be done. But will it, and will it be within the established context of the powerful hierarchies involved?

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