I’m writing this as I sit next to my mom. She’s dying — no more treatment for her cancer is possible. All I can do is sit with her, sometimes help her drink something or take pain medication. It’s hard to even imagine my family’s world without her in it. It’s hard even now to accept that she can’t be my first phone call anymore, that she can’t talk on the phone to my sister who is unable to be here because of COVID. As recently as May 2019 when I fell in my university’s parking lot, my mom’s number was the one I called first for help finding a dentist who could see me right away. Of course she knew one. All my life, in every crisis, she has helped me find solutions, been embarrassingly proud of my smallest successes, and made light of even the worst of my failures, always taking it as given that I’d start over and try again. So much of what I know I know because of her. So much of who I am is because of her.
I’ve thought a lot over the past week. I had to have emergency abdominal surgery last week and was in the hospital alone for four days. I used the time to reflect on my job, my family, and my friends. One of the wonderful things about the way Chicana feminist scholarship has worked for me is that the scholars I work with are among my closest friends.… Read the rest
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about my teaching this fall since sometime in June. Looking at my poor site, I realize I haven’t posted anything since January and we’re almost halfway through September. I may be taking slow blogging to a new level.
Too much has happened to try and write a post about it. I’m going to just jump in and talk about this semester.
I spent a lot of this past summer recovering from a fall I took the week before graduation. The short version is I stepped on a rock in a university parking lot, sprained my ankle and planted my face (and unfortunately front teeth) in the asphalt. I’m mostly recovered, but am still doing physical therapy and will be having laser treatments (!!!) to remover an “asphalt tattoo” from my upper lip. Worker’s comp paperwork is no joke.
But I also spent the summer thinking a lot about my classes for this fall. I’m teaching an online class on US ethnic literature, a face-to-face Saturday class on US ethnic film, both of which I’ve taught before. And, the first Harry Potter class, called “The Worlds of Harry Potter” to be offered at CSUDH.
The Harry Potter class is a new thing for me, not only because I’ve never taught it before, but because I’m teaching the material to students who, for the most part, already know and love it, in fact, may know it better than I do. They’re also students who are, in all but one case, taking a class outside their major, purely as an elective that fulfills no GE requirements.… Read the rest
2018 was my first full year in a tenure-track job. I think I’ve finally gotten out of the job search mindset, though I’m going to MLA again this year to give a paper, so maybe not so much as I should.
A huge number of things happened this year, most of them positive. But the biggest thing wasn’t about me. And it generally wasn’t positive. In late November 2017 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and given two to three months to live. In January she started chemotherapy and an experimental drug trial. At Thanksgiving 2018, we “celebrated” a year since her diagnosis. The drugs are working in that they’re keeping her alive and shrinking the tumors. Going with her to her weekly chemo sessions has taught me a few things. First is that the people who work in oncology are pretty much endlessly compassionate in the care they provide. And the second is that chemotherapy sucks. Really sucks. Those Monday chemo sessions and my mom’s reaction to her treatment have been the most significant thing in my life this year and have been the lens through which I experience everything else. I’ve appreciated every hour I’ve had with her and my dad. The best thing about my job (which has a hell of a lot of best things) is that it’s in Los Angeles and affords me the flexibility to be there for her doctor appointments and infusions. This is a privilege that neither my brother or sister have and I am super grateful.… Read the rest
Just writing that subject line made my head spin a bit. After five years on the job market, fall without letters to request, job lists to study and applications to send out feels odd. Wonderful of course, but odd. I hadn’t realized it, but being on the job market had become part of my identity.
What else is strange? Not telling people I’m an adjunct lecturer, something I thought about today as I revised an article where I identified as an “adjunct instructor.” Likewise, it’s only been a few weeks since I took my Loyola Marymount faculty ID out of my wallet. My car still has a parking permit for West LA Community College on its windshield.
I think this strange feeling of not entirely believing I’m an assistant professor now is partly due to how long I adjuncted and partly due to my having been hired at a place where my status was “part time temporary” for two years. For years I’ve told myself and my family that being hired into a tenure track job would mean relocating, that my partner and I would be moving. But here we are, in the same Santa Monica apartment we lived in when I was a graduate student, thanking the gods for rent control. In addition, I worked in my program coordinator job at CSUDH until the Tuesday of my first week in the new gig. That crashing sound, I think, is me changing gears.
I’m almost moved into my office now. Just need to hang some pictures and for the bookcase to get fastened to the wall (earthquakes) so I can load my books into it. … Read the rest
I woke up shaken from the election results. Although I have cried, especially when faced with any kindness today, I mostly feel and have felt hollowed out. As I’ve spent the day in meetings at CSU Dominguez Hills surrounded by people of color, mainly African Americans and Latina/x/os, I’ve wondered if everyone was feeling what I am. More people that usual said “how are you today?” (one said “How about those Yankees?” but meant the same thing) to each other, with each of us replying “I’m okay.” I said I was okay too because what else can I say? I’m not. This reality is about as far from okay as anything I can imagine.
Tonight is my evening class, an interdisciplinary study course on American society. This semester it’s a class on food and culture. Although the semester is in full swing (maybe even winding down) this class only started three weeks ago. It’s a hybrid course, meeting online and in person for eight weeks. My students are only just beginning to know each other. Last week we celebrated Día de Los Muertos together at Self HelP Graphics. It was a wonderful event I loved sharing with them. This week we are scheduled to talk about The Hunger Games, share food and learn a bit about WordPress.
But this morning I sent an email to my class letting them know we are meeting, that I understood if they couldn’t come but that if they did, we would have space to talk about what’s happened and to try and understand what it means.… Read the rest
I’ve spent the past week at the University of Mary Washington as a fellow at the Digital Pedagogy Lab Summer Institute. There were wonderful keynote speakers — the amazing Tressie McMillan Cottom and Cathy Davidson and great “tracks” to choose from. I spent about a month trying to decide which track would be right and decided to choose Intro, not so much because I consider myself new to digital pedagogy but because I wanted a chance to have a sense of the foundations of why we do what we do in our physical and virtual classrooms.
Although the institute is about digital pedagogy, one of the most valuable things I’ve taken from it has been asking ourselves not simply what technology we use with our students but what the implications are of that technology. One of the powerful exercises we did was to break into groups and look behind the apps. Looking at their founders, their boards, where their capital came and is coming from and, most telling, their Terms of Service left me unsettled about the technology, including learning management software and companies like TurnItIn, that my students are using for their classes. Too many of these companies see their users as products to produce content for their platform and sources to harvest data from.
After several days of talking about pedagogy, mostly through discussions of writings by Paulo Freire, bell hooks and Seymour Papert, Sean Michael Morris led us in a series of timed writing exercises to get at what we thought about ourselves as teachers and our own pedagogy.… Read the rest
As I finish up my summer gigs: online course for interdisciplinary studies at CSUDH, a two week program on Chicana/o art for elementary school teachers at LMU and third year of work as a editor and writing coach for USC’s Global Ed.D., program, I had some news. I got the job of Coordinator of Humanities at California State University, Dominguez Hills with a two year appointment.
What does this mean? In terms of work it means I’ll be coordinating (sort of but not quite functioning a chair) for the undergraduate humanities courses, the on-campus MA program and the (coming soon) the HUX program, an all online humanities MA. I get two course releases for this work and another course release for my work as Academic Senate Parliamentarian. These, combined with the two classes I’m already teaching each semester means I’m full time at CSUDH (while not being classed as “full time” but that’s the way the system works).
Which means something else. For the past four years I’ve taught at three different places. It wasn’t bad. My iPhone, Dropbox and Evernote saved me, as did having different bags for each campus. But being able to be one place, in my own office, with a Mac desktop no one else uses sounds great. Being at a majority minority campus, a Hispanic serving institution and a state university where I’m represented by a union, better and better.
I felt closer to my students than I imagined could happen in a five week course. The combination of them being online and their blogging about subjects that were important to them gave me a greater window on their lives than I had in a conventional classroom.
Time creep. Teaching online left me surprised by how much time teaching seemed to be taking. On the one hand, there was no assigned classroom time. But on the other, online teaching happened all the time. My students were working different schedules, working on the class at all hours. This was the first time I’d taught the course (either on or offline) and my students had questions about readings and assignments I hadn’t anticipated and which needed to be answered. I hadn’t realized how much conventional class times and office hours define and confine class work.
I do like Canvas better than Blackboard. (Shh, don’t tell.)
I liked having a group with my students on Facebook.
This was written as a position paper for MLA16’s roundtable Disrupting DH.
Note: The title of this piece is shamelessly borrowed from Barbara Noda’s “Lowriding Through the Women’s Movement,” a piece which creatively addresses the power a group made up of women of color could have on individuals during the women’s movement. It was published in the classic, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.
There has been wonderful work recently on #TransformDH by the TransformDH collective discussing how racial / gender / sexual / disabled bodies in the academy are and always have been doing digital humanities work. Nevertheless, because hegemony constantly replicates the dominant discourse, there needs to be a consistent and constant engagement with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and able-bodiedness as its counter. To discuss this hegemony, I’m going to fall back on Chicana feminist praxis, which means locating myself and speaking from that position, with the hope that from that self-situated ethnography some insight into my concerns may come. This piece uses autoethnography to specifically discuss issues and effects of racial absence in the digital humanities community and what the costs of that may be. It begins to discuss how the discourse surrounding racial bodies and there absence in DH spaces replicates the discourse surrounding the invisibility / absence of women of color from second wave feminism.
Those who think Twitter is a waste of time, as opposed to it being a time-waster, are failing to see its potential.… Read the rest
November is Digital Writing Month, which you can read all about at the website. Lots of great people are doing lots of amazing and innovative things. However, this people (me!) is going to work on updating this blog with a few goals.
Run all the updates needed on WordPress for the sites’ themes DONE!
(possibly) Move my site over to my new domain, annemarieperez.com at ReclaimHosting.
Update site information.
Redecorate here — the place is looking kinda dated
Blog some content
I’d say “watch this space,” but honestly you’d need to be pretty bored.… Read the rest