Dissertation ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & Dedication

Straight from my dissertation, here are the acknowledgement and dedication pages. Thank you to everyone who’s been on this journey with me and been rooting for me.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I’d like to thank UTA’s Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts for the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship that allowed me the dedicated time to finish my dissertation this summer. A particular thanks to Dr. Raymond L. Jackson for his help and encouragement.

There are so many people who’ve made my time with UTA’s English Department truly wonderful. I’ve grown so much as a teacher, scholar, and person because of the department we have and the opportunities it’s given me. I want to start by saying thank you to Dr. Peggy Kulesz not only for her incredible mentorship as Director of First Year Writing, but also for her support, generosity, and friendship. I was also lucky enough to get to work with Dr. Justin Lerberg as he stepped into the Directorship and am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from him as well. Thank you to Drs. Amy Tigner, Neill Matheson, and Kathryn Warren for their work on our behalf as graduate advisors. Thank you as well to Yael Sasley and Margie Jackymack who are the reasons things get done around here and who’ve helped me countless times with things from organizing an EGSA trip to opening classrooms. Dr. Kevin Porter has also been an integral part of my growth as a scholar; his classes during coursework pushed me to think in ways I hadn’t before and I continue to wrestle with what “meaning” means.

There are so many graduate students to thank. The original CARH 409 whirlwind, where I shared my first office with three other fantastic people: Stephanie Peebles Tavera, Rod Sachs, and Sean Farrell. My original cohort: Joul Smith, Miriam Rowntree, and Stephanie. I’ve gone through each step of the process with this group and can’t thank them enough for their time, support, encouragement, and friendship. My current officemate and twin, the ever magical Rachael Mariboho who knows. She and the always wonderful Sean Farrell have been so generous with their support and encouragement as I went through all the things. Thank you to Jason Hogue and Jeffrey Marchand for many a good conversation and much laughter. To Vince Sosko, Hope McCarthy, Laruen Phelps, Christina Montgomery, and Connor Stratman for your support and inspiration. And to Bethany Shaffer for her optimism, dance moves down the hall, and just general awesomeness.

Thank you to Miriam Rowntree for the texts, the anthems, the unwavering belief and optimism, the trips, the dreamings and talking-out-louds. We’ve come a long way from Porter’s class that first semester. We might never know what meaning means, but your friendship throughout this journey has meant more than I can say.

Thank you to my committee for all their work with me on this project. Thank you to Dr. Tim Morris for serving on my Comprehensive Exams committee. To Dr. Estee Beck for serving on the Dissertation Committee and for pushing me to include other voices and fields. To Dr. Stacy Alaimo who started me on this posthumanist path with her wonderful class on Posthumanism and Science Fiction in the Anthropocene. The texts, both theory and fiction, from that class altered my scholarly trajectory, and her suggestion of reading Lenz Taguchi when I told her about my project led me back to Barad which helped me find my voice and a way to articulate what I wanted to say about education.

Finally, but never least, none of this would have been possible without Dr. Penelope Ingram. From her advice when I sat on her couch when she was our graduate adviser and I was deciding to apply to the program, to her teaching and her fantastic classes on postcolonialism and feminism, to her taking on the EGSA, to agreeing to be my Chair and helping me navigate this process, to making the call at the end of June that changed everything and made me dig deep in a way I didn’t know I could.  She is a model of the kind of invested, passionate, and resolute (in all the right ways) scholar, teacher, mentor, feminist, and person I aspire to be. Thank you, Penny, for believing I could do this, for holding me accountable to my own potential, and for always having my back.

DEDICATION

This dissertation is dedicated to my family who, in a million ways that mattered, made this document possible. I can’t begin to thank them or to fully explain what their love and support meant and did for me on this journey.

 

For:

Mom and Dad

Kate and Codi

Eleanor and Shepard

Neville and Theadora

I wouldn’t have “got ‘er done” without y’all.

K&L

All Too / Not At All

alienclassroom

 “And yet when essays draw on the work of Barad or Haraway but do not attend to nonhuman life, environments and material agencies, the lack is notable. Feminist materialisms, especially in their posthuman forms, are worlds apart from the conventional classroom, an all too-human place cordoned off from more-than-human liveliness. The chasm between the two suggests how intrepid and inventive we must be to teach with a (posthumanist) feminist materialism”

–Stacy Alaimo / “Book Review: Teaching with Feminist Materialisms” (179)

Part I: Diffraction

I was moving the above quote, which has been tapping at my thoughts for a while, trying to find where to insert it in Chapter 4, and as I scrolled through the screen in front of me, I saw the Spacetimemattering video stutter to a close on that last frame that’s been tapping at my thoughts for a while…

I think: {Alien. Still. Powerful.}

And type my student’s words: it doesn’t have to be alive…

{Feels like its brand of alive}. {Insert the words again here:} Alien. Still. Powerful.

Powerful.   {Full.}

With something I don’t have a word for, but that light that’s always on is saying it: something like, deep breath, fill back up, they’re gone.

{You’re anthropomorphizing.}

Still. But full.

A not-at-all-human space. With that one light off to the side that never turns off and the blue computer glow and the silence of the video now stopped (the music I added gone). Designed to be, built to be, for and by humans. But, in this light, from this view, not-at-all.

Still. Matter. Full of mattering.

Elsewhere is not Terrapolis.

Part II: Calibration

(Re)Calibrate

 

Curating from my American Lit class archive (pedagogical documentation) to do a larger “diffraction” or calibration. Open to whatever we create together here; hoping to get some insight on the “success” of changes made for Spring 2018 after the last class (Reuse. Remix. Rewrite, Fall 2016). The goal is a continual calibration of praxis to posthumanism.

7/19/18 ~ Home Office ~”Real time”: 1 hr. 45 min.

 

 

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    Music: The Double Slit Test by Ketsa

Pedagogical Documentation

 

PD1

Separate pedagogical documentations for AL. Top picture from early in the semester shows my concern over the white space in the room; bottom picture from their Curation Project (major presentation) day at the end of the semester shows my realization that I wasn’t working with the desks but against them, indicating a tendency on my part to still try and plan first and fit that plan into the space second.

/

PD2

In this pedagogical documentation for AL, pictures of the students’ work for that day appear on the left of the top picture. I used the yellow legal pad paper to track student movement through space and use of texts—Composition Books (CB) and a copy of the novel Turtles All the Way Down—while they worked.

DESK

Last week, I sat down with a really quiet small group in class where one student was pulling all the weight. Normally, I try to stay out of their conversations, but this was painful to watch, and I had to do something. That something ended up being me and the Student having a great conversation while the groupmates looked on in silence (no matter what we did–and Student tried just as hard–to try and pull them into the conversation). So, big fail in that sense. But there was also a win: I got to hear Student’s guess at what metaphor Thomas King might use for stories (we were talking about how Azar Nafisi calls books orphans and Neil Gaiman tells the story of Douglas Adams claiming books are sharks, and we were wondering what the other author’s we’d read might say on the matter).

Maybe stories are seeds,” Student said King might say. And then unfurled a lovely (not unfamiliar) metaphor for stories planting themselves in certain soil (people/cultures), growing a certain way, and dropping seeds that take root elsewhere and, therefore, grow maybe a little bit differently the next time and the next. 

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this metaphor, but it was the first time someone had stumbled upon it in this particular class, had stated it in this particular way. The first time (to use the metaphor itself) it had grown into this particular flower because of this particular soil. And I got to see that particularly unique flower bloom. That isn’t just a win, but also a joy.

In the hustle of checking in with the other groups, of moving on to the next activity, I didn’t make sure Student shared their metaphor with the class. But this week, I took a walk to get coffee and had to go to a different Starbucks because the one (yes, we have two on campus) closest to my office had a line out the door. So, on the first day of real sunshine after a week of mud and rain, a longer walk than normal took me past dandelions who stood out and tall in green, green grass and triggered a memory in my head: “Maybe stories are seeds,” Student said King might say.

So, I took a dandelion with me back to the office and let it sit with me on the desk while I planned. And I took it with me to our actual classroom and let it sit on the front desk that always gets moved around–it’s never in the same place when we come in or when we leave. And I shared the story of my walk and the story of Student’s metaphor. And for our warmup we sketched the dandelion I’d taken with me, that I’d placed in my banned-books mug while I planned in CARH 402 and that now joined us–mug too–in TH 20. And the seeds all stayed on the flower, but the stories took root in new soil and unfurled through sketches and words in composition books that haven’t been the same (in both senses of the word) since the students picked them from the front of TH 20 and took them out into the world that first day.

 

File Feb 28, 10 39 31 PM

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New Plans ~ CARH 402 ~ February 26, 2018

File Feb 28, 10 29 16 PM

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New Compositions ~ TH 20 ~ February 26, 2018

File Feb 28, 10 38 30 PM

 

Finish

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My word bracelet came the other day, and I’ve vowed to not take it off until The Dissertation is defended and Dr. Shelton I am (that’s a positive verbalization sent out into the void in now-concrete–though passively-voiced–words). I think the word is fairly self-explanatory: finish. As in what everyone says: a good dissertation is a done dissertation. Mimi would say–and I would agree–it’s missing a word that begins with the same letter, ends in -ing, and adds that little extra alliteration-driven boost that truly inspires one to kick their own bottom (going with the “not saying the actual curse-word” theme). Yet even in this Safe For Work iteration, it’s already been helpful. See, for instance, the above photo capturing (post the moment itself) a recent intra-action where I sat at my desk in Carlisle, head in hand, the plans for class in less than an hour strewn all about, worries about how any of this matters in the grand scheme of things (things being, as always these days, The Dissertation) weighing me down, and I happened to look up a bit and see my word right there, less than an inch from my nose. I sat back up (after I re-staged the moment for the picture, of course) and finished those plans which did, of course, matter in the grand scheme of things. One day/task/thing at a time (which has been a theme on here lately). Finish one, eventually finish The Diss.

As a plus, wearing it on my left wrist means it sits on or near the tattoo inspired by my Grandmother and what her life taught me about living my own. She had grit woven through all her love and laughter. And grit is what I need now more than ever. To finish. And to do it while loving myself and the work I create and the class that I teach (all while being able to laugh with that self and that grand ole scheme of things).