7. an herbal essences moment
thinking about racialization anew and the latest book club pick
Hi there! 👋I’m Ida, and this is tiny driver, a newsletter about research, pedagogy, culture and their intersections. Thank you for being here. Reply anytime, I love hearing from you.
And just like that, another week of August has gone by. I know that for many, the academic year is starting to rev up. To all my friends who are teaching in the Fall, I wish you all the best in this now-online world and I look forward to hearing about your experiences, successes, and obstacles. And to all those beginning another year of graduate school, I wish you all the best moving forward with your work, and I hope that your plans for this year are not too screwed over by the thing that shall not be named 😷. I know that there are folks in academia out there who have to do in-person teaching, and I hope that schools will soon realize that this is putting so many lives in danger.
What I write.
This week, I've been working mostly on job market & fellowship materials. Your girl is a contingent faculty member (luckily for 2 years!). But, this still means that I must keep my job materials updated & ready for a chance at a tenure-track position. And although this is, at times, an emotionally draining experience, something happened this week that made me feel—in that old-school, early 00s (not 90s, to be clear) Herbal Essences™ kind of way—rejuvenated & nourished.
Does anyone else remember this commercial in that one ep of "What I Like About You" with Amanda Bynes? No? Just me?
For a few years now, my grad department at Brown has done an "Academic Workshop Series" in April, where each week different professors in our department host a lunchtime talk on the various components of the job search (applications, interviews, campus visits, etc.). Students on the job market would also have the additional benefit of having their materials looked over by a faculty member if they wanted. This had always been an incredibly helpful component of my professional development while I was a grad student. However, due to Miss 'Rona, this year's workshop, which was also my last year in the program, the series wasn't able to take place.
Of course, this was not ideal—I knew that my materials were going to change, given the fact that I was graduating. But, as luck would have it, our DGS ended up emailing the department asking if any of us wanted our application materials looked over by a faculty member, and I replied with a DEFINITELY.
Last week, I got a chance to speak with the faculty member who had looked over my materials, and it was just what I needed to bring the summer to a close and begin my new journey working in Evanston. You see, since the week after defending my dissertation, I haven't really had a chance to engage with it or the ideas that I've been thinking about for the past few years. Don't get me wrong, this was totally by choice—many of my mentors and friends in the stages ahead told me that I needed to take a break from the work in order to come back to it & revise fresh. And to be honest, they didn't have to tell me twice—I was BURNT OUT from finishing during a pandemic. This summer, then, was spent working on other tasks—(safely & cautiously) moving to a new city, working on syllabi, writing & revising articles, creating the zine, etc.
So, the interaction with this faculty member & my job materials was, in effect, an interaction with my ideas that I haven't had for a few months. And while there were moments when I was thinking about how to revise these specific documents, there were so many more moments of that were helping me think through the larger foundations of my project & how it speaks to the larger discipline. So much of my work on the Iranian diaspora, for example, engages with the relationship between US empire and US racialization. And a lot of what I do in my work is try to tease out the paradox that Iranians have with being designated as legally white while having lived experiences that do not reflect such a designation. How is it that groups with this proximity to whiteness are racialized—and therefore, criminalized—nonetheless? I've found through my work that the racialization of these subjects occurs at the transnational level through foreign policy. It is because of political & imperial elements that the state renders these subjects non-white.
Although I still need to tinker with the language above, I think that the conversation allowed me to work through the logics of my analysis to get to the heart of what I'm trying to say. It was probably a combination of the time away from my work and the chance to speak with someone new about what I spent years working on. For those in a similar position to myself (i.e. on the job market), talking with a faculty member who didn't know my work but is in the same field was a game changer for me. Reach out and see if you can get a similar professional development opportunity through your department, or see if there's any mentorship opportunities through the professional organizations you're a part of.
Your girl is also looking for some part-time work!
This week was also one that involved taking a closer look at my finances & goal-setting for the future. I've decided that I'd love to work freelance or part-time in order to subsidize my income and put my skills to good use both in and out of academia! If you or anyone you know (inside or outside of academia) is looking to hire for work copywriting & editing, researching, DEI consulting, designing curriculum, or programming, please feel free to reply to this email or contact me here.
What I consume.
This past weekend, most of my day was filled with finishing up Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston for my book club. Previous picks have included Motherhood by Sheila Heti, In the Distance by Hernan Diaz and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, so this was a bit of a genre departure for us, but it is SO ABSOLUTELY LOVELY and—despite it being a romance novel—QUITE WHOLESOME(??). Basically, it's a story about the son of a (fictional) US president falling in love with a prince of England, and it absolutely what I needed. Their conversations are so witty that they can't possibly be real, but that's the point of it and I love it and I am BURNING through this book! Highly recommend for those of you who do not have a furry friend to pet but want to feel like you are petting one—my heart is so warm. ☺️
Item(s) of note.
This GoogleDrive hack is INSANE AND WHY DIDN'T I KNOW ABOUT IT UNTIL YESTERDAY?!
A really wonderful critique by Terry Nguyen on Instagram social justice slideshows. Great points, particularly with respect to the convergence of the slideshows' aesthetics and consumer branding.
I mean, honestly, if I were Swedish, I would probably hemester it up too. It's so beautiful there—props to my friend Christina H. for letting me visit her when she lived in Varberg.
Although Higgins has his own bed, he likes to sneak onto the big bed sometimes when we aren’t looking. I think he looks a little like a fox in this one:
As always, thanks for reading through, and I'll see you in the next one!