Snapshot Tuesday: rooster at the Royal Farms

Rooster at the Royal Farms, Fisher's Corner, Feb 9, 2013

Rooster at the Royal Farms, Fisher’s Corner, Feb 9, 2013

Royal Farms is a convenience store chain on the Eastern Shore.  The first time I saw the chickens wandering around this busy store, I thought someone would be upset that their chickens had gotten out and would be killed in this parking lot.   But apparently these chickens visit the Royal Farms all the time.

On the Sunday morning I took this picture, this beautiful rooster was holding forth, crowing next to the parking lot.  Regal.  Most people weren’t paying much attention to him – certainly not giving him the royal treatment he deserves – but I did see a few smiles.

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Biewen’s audio documentary: “Little War on the Prairie” – worth a listen.

Minnesota State Seal

I sometimes download podcasts of radio programs to listen to on the drive to and from Longwood.   This American Life: Little War on the Prairie was one I listened to this past week.  This one was a WOW!

John Biewen, who directs the audio program at The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, produced the program.   It ran on This American Life on Nov 23, 2012 – Thanksgiving weekend.  Didn’t hear it then – aren’t podcasts great!

The description from This American Life:
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen says, nobody ever talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged after a war with white settlers. John went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago, and why Minnesotans didn’t talk about it much after.

Besides making me sad, once again, at the way white Americans treated the indigenous peoples of this continent – it also made me rethink my Eastern Shore Stories project – what am I missing in the recounting of recent Eastern Shore history?   What questions have I allowed to go unasked?

And could this be a model for how to put Eastern Shore Stories together as an audio documentary?

Snapshot Tuesday : hot tub angel

photograph from winter storm

The morning after a winter storm in Richmond, Virginia, January 18, 2013.

I’ve decided to revive my tradition of Snapshot Tuesday – posting a photograph or two on Tuesdays.  This is one I took in my neighborhood the morning after a fast-moving January storm.  It was the storm with thundersnow … the weather just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

And now … the rest of my professional life …

Since I started teaching full-time at Longwood University in August, I have had to focus on course preparation, the transition to new job, new routine, new institutional culture, and completing and defending my dissertation, which I did in October over Longwood’s fall break.

No time for blogging.  Not much time for anything really, except the job.  But I was “hooded” in a December graduation ceremony – officially becoming a Doctor of Philosophy in Media, Art, and Text.

Being “hooded” sounds creepy, but I found it to be a cool ritual.  I walked into the ceremony as part of the formal procession of faculty and graduates, carrying my academic hood over my arm like a four-star waiter’s towel.  During the graduation ceremony, my name was called, I walked forward, gave the hood to Dr. Kathy Bassard, chair of VCU’s English Department, and turned around so she could drape it over my neck and arrange it behind me.

Because she’s shorter than I am, I had to kneel down slightly – which added to the ritual of the moment.  Being hooded felt like a sort of soft-cloth knighting ceremony – with roots back into the Middle Ages and the birth of universities within monasteries.

My parents, my husband and my daughter were in the audience as witnesses, as well as several professors and some MATX’ers I’ve been in seminars with.

Also in attendance was the chair of my dissertation commitee, Dr. Noreen Barnes, who let me wear her academic tam instead of the standard-issue mortarboard VCU had given me.  Not only was the tam more attractive – the fact that she let me borrow it for the ceremony was a nice symbolic gesture. As an Associate Professor in VCU’s Theatre Department, she knows the value of ritual and gesture.

So now that I’ve completed the MATX PhD program, the question becomes –  how do I stay fresh and engaged with my field so my classes in Communication Studies at Longwood stay fresh?  And, given the interdisciplinary nature of the MATX degree, what constitutes my field?  What journals do I follow and what conferences do I attend?  Is that even the path I will take as an academic?

Those questions are why – although I could have spent the day grading the design projects I took in on Wednesday or working on notes for the Communication Theory class I’m teaching – instead I spent the morning investigating professional associations and journals.

The Oral History Association ?

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication ?

One I may join simply because I love the fact that they meet every March in Orlando, Florida, and cover topics like: “Gender and Feminism in Science Fiction”,  “Staging Monstrosity” and “Terrifying Futures: Post-Apocalyptic, Post-Human Dystopias” …  The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts

Who do I want to become as a writer, media producer, and scholar?