February 5, 2008

Identity Crisis?

Filed under: women's history — polywog @ 11:13 p02

I am currently having an identity crisis. What should I write my thesis on? What topic is so compelling, so important that i should spend the next year and a half dedicated to it? Does this project need to embody all my values, my politics, my desires? Or should it be problematic in ways? I’ve been leaning away from organization histories and i’m not super interested in biographies. I’ve also been leaning away from attachments to certain ideologies, namely anarchism. I know i am interested in the history of sexuality. I know i am interested in how sexuality has been a site of resistance in different ways throughout history. Always I am interested in anarchism on an interpersonal level. I am interested in radical education and liberatory thought. I’m interested in community. I think i’m more interested in the production of art and poetry than prose propaganda. But that could change tomorrow. Nothing seems right so far….

Here are some possibilities:

The rural lesbian feminist communities in Oregon. Like my forest defense paper, it would involve community, sexuality as resistance, nature, and Oregon.

Sexuality, race, and resistance in the South. perhaps reconstruction era.

The Highlander Folk School est. 1932 in Tennessee. Civil rights, radical education

Black Mountain College: radical, creative education project in North Carolina, est. 1933

Dr. Marie Equi. Lesbian anarchist from Oregon. turn of 20th century

Gays and Lesbians in the Harlem Renaissance. Particularly Mabel Hampton, who founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives

Gaurav just gave me lots of ideas, particularly white women’s historic complicity in violence against women of color.

I’ve thought about comparing bohemian Greenwich village to bohemian portland oregon.

I’ve thought about writing about CES Wood’s contribution to radical thought. He’s a complicated figure: complicit and perpetuating some yucky stuff while simultaneously living a fiercely beautiful, radical life. No one has really drawn out his philosophies on anarchism, feminism, anti-racism, and radical relationships yet. and i really like him.

A few other names come to mind: Genevieve Taggard, a bohemian free love poet who taught at sarah lawrence
Sara Bard Field, parter to CES Wood

Tee Corinne, a second wave lesbian artist involved in the rural women’s communities

I’m really curious about incite, women of color against violence. Would it be possible to trace the development of their critiques over time? That would be an awesome project….. potentially using oral history and their writings. Maybe they are too recent for ‘history.’

I’m posting these rambling loose ends on my blog hoping that something will catch, somewhere, some idea will spark, or someone will send some perfect idea my way. On some level, this is wretchedly painful. On another, it is exciting.



  1. Wow Natty..I wish I could offer some help.

    I have to admit that for me I need to write about things that I am personally invested in which is why I write about FNB, Forest Defense, Anarchism, etc. That being said, all those topics sound interesting and you have already written an undergrad thesis on FD. You might want to move away from that and try something new? There is nothing at all wrong with expanding your knowledge base. That being said, I feel that it would be more work and for your thesis you might want to get done quicker and writing about what you know could help that. Just remember that you have to pick a topic that interests you enough to spend a year, or two, on it. You have to make sure that its not some thing you think is neat today but something that you can spend all the time working on. Just some idea. I have no real advice that I can give you. I am in the same boat. Every months something else makes me excited…I feel its the biggest problem. I want to write and learn about EVERYTHING.

    Also, would you mind me reading your FD thesis? I would love to read it. I will probably discuss StrawDevil and Fall Creek in my dissertation and I know you have some great insight on them!

    Comment by Sean — February 5, 2008 @ 11:13 p02 | Reply

  2. Also,

    I am not the book review editor for Green Theory and Praxis (www.greentheoryandpraxis.org). If you ever want to turn anything you are doing on, that relates to forest defense or environmental issues, you should look at sending it to them. Also, let me know if you ever want to do a book review. Its a great way to get some stuff on your vita while not doing a painful amount of work (3 pages or so of writing). Plus you get some free books!

    Comment by Sean — February 5, 2008 @ 11:13 p02 | Reply

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