I am shocked and amazed to be in such incredible company and can’t thank whoever nominated me enough :).
I was also able to attend two fantastic conferences this month: Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture in London, UK and The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, FL. Both were great and the paper I presented at both seemed to be very well received (which thrills me as it’s a part of my dissertation work!) ICFA has quickly become one of my favorite events of the year, it’s so amazing to get to hang out with so many of my inspirations, both scholarly and creative. The fairy tale people are especially awesome and I’m so happy to know them all!
This month has really been a whirlwind of great news and fun and I feel so lucky right now :).
Right, I am terrible at this :P. You’re just going to have to put up with my sporadic posts I’m afraid. Maybe I’ll get better eventually? I am now in my second and last semester of PhD coursework, which is a bit scary but also exciting. I really do feel like I’ve leveled up though, each of my classes this semester is specifically tailored to further prepare me for future work so it’s all pretty delightful. I’ve got fantasy and the Gothic and teaching basically. I am actually especially enjoying my teaching internship much more than I expected and feel like I’m learning a lot about how I want to run my own classroom. I am being adventurous in the new year too, in many ways! I have set huge goals for myself, as usual, but some of them are actually going pretty well so far. I bought myself an exercise bike! What?! Amazing, I know.
A few things I’ve been meaning to post about –
* I have officially registered and am going to London again in March for the Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture conference at first credited Gothic writer Horace Walpole’s own Strawberry Hill House. This is pretty guaranteed to be fantastic. I will be presenting on the poetics of Gothic fairy tales, some preliminary findings from my dissertation research. I also really hope I get to go see this, which I mentioned before :D.
* This is crazy late but I have a bit of flash fiction in the new issue of Scareship! “Sleeping Beauty” themed this time (it’s really surprising I ever write anything else, I have so many SB related ideas floating around in my mind.)
Hello! I apologize for not really being around, PhD studies have taken over my life for the present, but I wanted to use this brief Thanksgiving break to make a quick hello post at the very least :). It looks like things may be sorting themselves out into a more manageable routine next semester, so I am hopeful that I will get a little more free time to write creatively, blog, read non-school related things, etc. in the future. Coming to Ohio has been a big adjustment but it’s been a worthwhile and exciting time as well!
A few notes -
* First – reunited and it feels so good…
:D! It’s really wonderful to be home for a bit. My birthday was on Monday and I got to celebrate with my family yesterday :).
* I meant to post more about my amazing time at the After Grimm conference but, sadly, I just haven’t had the spare time to do so. I met several lovely people, including more than a few inspirations of mine, and it was completely wonderful in all ways. One of the people I met was Janet Daniels who runs the FairyTaleTastic blog – check out her post about the conference for a few more details too! While we were there I was also lucky enough to get to see two incredible exhibitions, the Writing Britain exhibition at the British Library and the Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde exhibition at the Tate Britain, buy a fabulous Gothic coat in Camden Town, and visit a few of my friend Sara’s favorite haunts in Oxford.
* I also attended the American Folklore Society’s Annual Meeting in October in New Orleans (which is now absolutely among my favorite cities in the world!)… I was going to write about that as well but, again, did not get the chance :(. Just know that I had a great panel with several other fairy tale scholars and it was a really fun time! I went on a witches and vampires and voodoo walking tour, saw a few of the gorgeous original paintings of Kelly Louise Judd in person for the first time in a random awesome gallery we just happened to wander into, ate many beignets, attended the book launch of Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms in which my former professor at GMU, Margaret Yocom, and my friend Jeana Jorgensen each have a fantastic essay, spoke with a bunch of prospective OSU students and hopefully made a good impression, and saw a bunch of excellent papers.
* I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts this coming March – huzzah! I attended this conference for the first time last year and it’s awesome, just full of people doing exactly the kind of work that I love. I’m really happy I get to go again this year!
* I set up my classes for the Spring semester and am really excited about them! I’ll be taking a Children’s/YA Lit. class on the “Roots of Fantasy” (aka the folklore, etc. that frequently inspires fantasy literature!) which is just so perfectly up my alley I’m kind of shocked it’s real, an independent study reading course on the 19th Century British Gothic (awesome texts and great dissertation prep), and a teaching apprenticeship class where I shadow a senior professor teaching an introduction to folklore class, a prerequisite before I can teach my own introductory folklore classes. I’m completely psyched about all of these things :P.
* Speaking of “Sleeping Beauty,” the wonderful Bryony recently made me aware of this production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet – a gothic version!! It’s like my MA thesis in ballet form, crazy. There is a slim chance I may be in the UK during its run next year so please keep your fingers crossed that I can make it happen!
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US and there will hopefully be more posts from me soon!
I am now officially a PhD student! Classes started last Wednesday and I am really enjoying everything. I’ve only had one class so far but am looking forward to having the other two this coming Tuesday and my job at the OSU Center for Folklore Studies seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. There are several fairy tale related events in the works and all the people seem great!
Columbus is a very cool city – I feel like they are very good at keeping this fact a secret from the rest of the country! I had never given much thought to Columbus before I was applying to PhD programs and when I came to visit I was really surprised at how great it is. They have amazing food, great free or nearly free artistic events, excellent shopping, and beautiful neighborhoods and parks. Plus so many people are so friendly and kind! I keep getting told that this is just the way the whole Midwest is but it’s still quite awesome :).
A couple other items of note –
* My flash fiction piece, “The Song of the Tower” has been published in the September issue of Scareship and my name’s even on the cover for the first time! You can download a PDF of the issue for free on the website. I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet but it looks great, please give this new magazine a look!
My last post led to many enlightening, fascinating comments (sadly not here, mostly on Livejournal and Facebook!) and I thought I would share some of the links people pointed out to me (and links that I found from those websites) that I thought were particularly interesting to explore when considering the concept of cultural appropriation, especially with regard to folklore and speculative literature. I still feel that there is a lot of merit in Shadow and Bone, and I certainly enjoyed it as a novel, but many good points were raised in the discussion and I wanted to share some of the things that I found or were brought to my attention. Please note that I may or may not agree with *everything* on the following sites but it’s all very good to think about –
Expanded Horizons, a magazine of speculative fiction, whose mission is to “increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented.”
On this note, I also want to mention the amazing Stone Telling, a magazine for speculative poetry that is “especially interested in seeing work that is multi-cultural and boundary-crossing, work that deals with othering and Others, work that considers race, gender, sexuality, identity, and disability issues in nontrivial and evocative ways.”
Silver Goggles by Jaymee Goh, a blog on steampunk and postcolonialism, race, diversity, and representation. Her review of The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee (recommended to me as a novel that deals with these issues well) also led me to the next item.
Last but absolutely not least, a wonderful, inspiring talk about “the danger of a single story” by the novelist Chimamanda Adichie –
I am still learning, always, but these are important issues to think about and engage with. I’d love more links to peruse if you have any favorites!
WARMAN on the side of a book? Yes, I like the looks of that! Everything has officially wrapped up and I graduated from my MA program yesterday. Very exciting but, of course, also a bit bittersweet. There is nothing like a graduation to signify a true end. I was awarded *two* department awards, one for best thesis and one for highest GPA, both of which I’m still kind of flabbergasted about! The ceremony was lovely and I was so happy to be there with beloved family and friends.
Now it’s time to get ready for the next step – on to Ohio! :).
I’ve done a bit of editing on the site: a new picture (featuring the enormous and awesome rose earrings my parents gave me for graduation), some new information, and an attempt to get these entries to cross-post on Facebook. I hope to get a lot more up soon!
! I have posted everywhere else but neglected to post my big news here – apologies! I have officially accepted The Ohio State University’s offer of joining their PhD program in English with a concentration in Folklore!
It really is the perfect program for me and I’m very excited to begin in the fall :). Thank you so much for all the support everyone, I really can’t tell you how much I have appreciated it!
Next, my paper on feminist “Sleeping Beauty” retellings was accepted for presentation at the After Grimm: Fairy Tales and the Art of Storytelling Conference in London! My first overseas conference, craziness. It looks like it’s going to be ridiculously awesome too – all about fairy tales and the keynote speakers are incredible. So exciting!
Speaking of conferences, I just got back from ICFA #33 in Orlando, FL and it was, well, as fantastic as described :). I was able to meet many inspirational and lovely people and there were so many excellent papers presented. It makes me giddy to be around scholars who love the same kind of work that I do and take it so seriously! I was able to meet several people whose work I have admired for a long time and it was pretty thrilling, I must say. I will be a regular attendee from now on for sure! I was also able to get some great feedback on the portion of my MA thesis I presented as well and people seemed excited about it too – huzzah! Now that I’m back home I have to be pretty much entirely dedicated to thesis work for next month but I feel rejuvenated and eager to dive back in. It was a great experience and I highly recommend going if you get the chance.
I should also have some really, really big news in a couple of days but I can’t quite share yet ;). Soon!
I recently discovered author Ekaterina Sedia’s blog and I really like it. I skimmed through a group of old entries and, while she writes about all sorts of fascinating things, my favorite posts are those that deal with fashion. An especially good post is the one on “Not Sexy Dressing” that she wrote as part of a Feminist Fashion Bloggers group post. This paragraph particularly spoke to me -
“In academia, one is already looked down upon if one shows interest in fashion – and part of it, I think, is the conflation of fashion with sexualized images of women. It doesn’t have to be, of course, but sadly we live in the world of binaries: sexy or frumpy, slut or blue stocking, etc etc. So the shortcut goes from well-dressed to fashiony to sexy to vapid. The opposite is of course the stereotypical female academic who takes her work too seriously to spend even a minute thinking about clothing – and those are perceived as sex-hostile and/or mannish. Being respected and perceived as competent becomes almost impossible without personal style becoming a statement of self-denial. And we need this third thing.”
We really do need this third thing. Personal style is incredibly important and this post spoke to some of my worries about maintaining a blog under my real name where I post about fashion related things. I admit I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I want to post fashion related entries here because I worry that I will give up the perception of academic competence. I worry that people will look at my blog and call my seriousness into question, that it makes me appear vapid and superficial. At the same time, I hate that this happens and I want to go against it. I find fashion fascinating and my personal style is important to me. I admit that I like posting about what I wear, what I like, and what inspires me in this area.
As a folklore and literature academic, I do think that I have a bit more freedom in this area than, say, a graduate student in the sciences. Folklorists in particular have a reputation for being snappy dressers and I believe that what we study encourages the incorporation of unique and different fashions into our own wardrobe. Many of my favorite pieces, for example, are favorites because they have something to do with literature or folklore. I plan outfits inspired by particular books, I have bought much of my jewelry because it has some kind of cultural significance or folklore behind it, and I don’t mind admitting that I like to look like I just stepped out of a fairy tale.
I’m certainly not the only one in academia who loves fashion and I don’t think I should be ashamed of it in any way. I really like the manifesto of the great but sadly defunct website AcademiChic -
“Cultural critic Fred Davis calls fashion “a visual language, with its own distinctive grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.” Theorist Judith Butler, in Gender Trouble, points to the power of clothing to create and constantly recreate identity. And even philosopher Charles Baudelaire praised cosmetics and garments for creating beauty where nature fails. In short, fashion is a powerful tool for creating identity, subverting class or gender norms, performing self, and appreciating aesthetic beauty.”
So I’m going to continue to make posts about fashion here. It’s part of who I am and I am proud of it.
P.S. On a completely other note, I have noticed the extreme issues with the individual post pages (and a few issues on the main page as well) so I’m going to a simpler theme until those can be resolved. I’m honestly not sure what the problem with the Atlantica theme is, it seems to have started with the last update. Hopefully this simple theme will make reading posts and making comments here much easier! Any feedback greatly appreciated :).
Hi and thanks for visiting! My name is Brittany Warman and I am a PhD student in English and Folklore at The Ohio State University. My main interests are fairy tale, folktale, and myth retellings in literature, fairy tales generally, speculative literature (particularly the Gothic and Fantastic), supernatural folklore (especially conceptions of magic and fairylore/witch lore), feminist theory, experimental literature, and digital media. I also do a bit of creative writing :).