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As I type this, it’s sleeting outside on the streets of Boston: a strange beginning to February. But Hanna assures me it’s supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny tomorrow, so if the groundhog comes out in the Boston Common (where does s/he come out, anyway? I can never recall) then we’ll be all right for a mild winter (or is it a long winter?). Clearly I need to brush up on my rodent folklore.

As groundhogs are popping up, I am headed down into the rabbit hole of another semester of graduate school. Classes started in earnest this week, and I’m happy to report that I am “totally stoked!” as my friend Marilee used to say. (Do you still say that Marilee? I don’t recall hearing it lately). This semester is going to be chock-full of intense work, but all of it is exciting work.

I have a great deal of leeway in designing my projects in both my Gender, Race & Imperialism class and in Oral History, and cataloging satisfies the organizational part of my brain. Again, Marilee says, “That’s funny, I didn’t remember that you were organizational.” I explained to her that I am very selective about my organization: My bookshelves are currently arranged by the Library of Congress classification system, but my bed is never made!

My Spring Semester courses are as follows:

  • GCS 410: Gender, Race & Imperialism. This is a class being taught by my history adviser, Laura Prieto, who had me in History Methods last fall. It’s a graduate-student-only course, open to students in the History and Gender Studies programs. As the title suggests, we are going to be interrogating the history of European & American imperialism through the lens of race and gender. I am hoping to do my research project on some aspect of reproductive politics and imperialism, hopefully looking at the way feminist women from the metropole (the imperial center) and the native women from the colony negotiated a particular practice or policy having to do with reproductive health and sexuality. Details to follow in a week or two.
  • LIS 433: Oral History. The first day of this class seriously made me want to weep with joy, I was so excited. If you think I’m exaggerating, you can ask my friend Aiden, who is taking it with me. The professor has a serious Oregon Extension vibe, and is a farrier and folklorist as well as professor in library science. He explained to us he believes it’s important to have a profession and a vocation because it “frees you to speak your mind.” Damn straight. I get to select an oral history project to work on over the course of the semester, and I am currently waffling between Boston area home educators and doulas. I’ll keep you posted.
  • LIS 415: Organization of Information. Otherwise known as “cataloging.” This is one of the core requirements of the GSLIS program, and I will be learning all the different classification systems, such as the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress system, and how to create good “metadata,” which is–as was explained to me in class today when I asked–data about data, which is what it sounds like, right? It’s all the bits of information that help us identify and locate the information or things we need (so catalog records, descriptive terms, computer programming, etc.).

This semester, my plan is to put up a little something every Friday on what I’ve been doing academically during the week . . . we’ll see how that plays out over the next fifteen weeks!

Image lifted from the Bas Bleu catalog website.

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