16 February 2009

On being an *academic* environmentalist gastronome...

I am noticing a trend. Perhaps you have noticed too? I am not keeping up with my blog very well. There was a moment when I was posting multiple times a week. This is no longer the case. I had thought that I would have much more time to devote to my blog this semester, because I am not teaching. I am not teaching, but I am taking reading-intensive seminars and "preparing" for my first comprehensive exam. Of course, up until this point, "preparation" has consisted mainly of writing lists and finding room on my bookshelves for the books I have commandeered from the library. I continue to cook and go to the farmer's market and enjoy in general my eco- and local food resources, but I just do not seem to manage to sit down and write about it all that often.
This is where the "academic" enters the title of this post. You clever readers might have already noted that this title plays with the subtitle of the blog: "Reflections of an Ecovore - or - On Being an Environmentalist Gastronome." Up until now I might occasionally refer to my studies (or cats), but I mainly wanted to focus on ecofood musings. My being a graduate student has thus far played a role in that I eat as well and as environmentally in tune as I do despite living off of a modest stipend (and don't forget my student loan debt!). However, as my studies continue to impede on my blogging time, I thought I might as well share a little bit about what I do. I recently applied for a "Graduate Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality," and for this application I needed to submit a brief statement about my research. Paula graciously edited this statement and I was accepted. This was the first time I tried to sum up my research coherently and attempted to project a general idea of what a future dissertation might possibly look like. It's deliciously vague, and yet hits upon the key points of my interests. I though I'd share this with you (leaving out the final bit where I explain why the certificate and the Women's Studies program will play such a central role in my work). When I am not being an ecovore, this is what I do. Or actually -- I do both at the same time.
I am a second year doctoral student in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. My work focuses on the intersection of epistolarity, spatiality and gender in narratives. Specifically, I study the space created by a letter, embedded in a fictional text, and consider the implications of this space particularly as it pertains to gender. Most recently I considered this space as gender neutral when investigating the function of letters in Dorothea Veit Schlegel’s Romantic novel Florentin (1801). The lack of gender within the epistolary space allowed women to shed the restrictions of gendered stereotypes and expectations when picking up the pen (assuming a phallus?) and allowed them to gain authority. Men too would be able to assume a voice outside of the limitations of their gender as it was understood at the time (the pen/phallus then acting as key and not gendering tool). I continue to work on an article about missives in Arthur Schnitzler’s Fräulein Else (1924) and the effect these have on the development of the plot and more specifically the role they play in Else’s demise. I am currently in the stage of establishing a theoretical foundation in epistolarity and in gender. Tentatively, in my dissertation I hope to establish a gendered theory of the letter as it is portrayed in 20th century German and Austrian fictional narratives.
If you come here for seasonal and eco recipes along with pictures of food, these will continue to appear. I offer a picture of a rather delightful winter vegetable soup (turned purple by red cabbage) as a concession prize. You can find the recipe at Farm to Philly.

1 comment:

  1. You say Dorothea Veit Schlegel...I say Brendel Mendelssohn...and in the end, it's still not the greatest novel. Sigh. Must confess that I don't read your blog often enough. Perhaps if you post about your dissertation more often, I will become a regular. Greetings from Kreuzberg!