Saturday, September 10, 2011

What it means to "do" racework

I've been thinking a lot about the term "racework" and what it means, this week, for several reasons.

My colleague Amy Steinbugler presented a paper at the Women's Center yesterday based on her research into racework in intimate relationships. Her book, to be released from Oxford UP next year (spring-ish), is titled Beyond Loving; she looks at how black-white interracial couples (gay/lesbian & straight) do "emotional labor" within love relationships. She uses the term "racework" a lot and I'm starting to attach to that as what I'm trying to do--not "anti-racist work" but "racework". Or, racework in service to ending racism.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New year/old year

The semester has started and, with all that madness, I've had to set aside (for my own sanity as well) the madness of The Help and what it brought up for me and many others. It's been good to step back but keep reflecting, because now I have even more of an academic frame for it, while remembering/recognizing that that is only part of the point.

In other words: how can I not be thinking of this when my students bring it up in our Methods discussion of feminist standpoint epistemology? I've also been getting sporadic emails about the first essay, which is really rewarding--I wrote it literally in exasperation, frustration and solidarity, and it's lovely to know that people are engaging it continuously and find it useful/meaninful/worth sharing.

Validation and debate aside, since I'm teaching postmodernism tomorrow (yes, we are playing bumper cars with Major Western Feminist Schools of Thought until next week, when we start reading ethnographies), I am also contemplating the need to create something new rather than find a tough solidarity (as meat is tough, as muscles are lean to the breaking point). Not new. New is not really a thing. But the need to create, embody, and transmute (as elements, not essences, can change form).

More to come.

Isn't it funny how an academic calendar places us on multiple "new years"?