‘Me and My Shadow’

Brief thesis update: I got some feedback on my ‘chapter sketch’ which was encouraging and devastating in equal measures. Not really devastating but there’s always a bit of a crisis of confidence for me with the first reading of criticism before I pull it together and start to see how the critique is helpful. I spent my work time on Monday going through each comment and either making quick revisions to address a simple problem or planning how I could start to tackle the major issues. I have about two weeks to revise and flesh out before I submit a more substantial draft. Yikes.

In the meantime I thought I would post one of my favourite essays. ‘Me and My Shadow’ is by Jane Tompkins and was published in the late 1980’s (a LOT of my favourite pieces are late 80’s/early 90’s which I may get into at another time). You can find a pdf of the essay here. I first read this when I was doing my MA in Women’s Studies and it has become one of those foundational pieces of work that I return to again and again when I’m trying to articulate how I see my scholarly work as part of my life and my life as part of my scholarly work.

It’s the same person who feels and who discourses about epistemology. The problem is that you can’t talk about your private life in the course of doing your professional work. You have to pretend that epistemology, or whatever you’re writing about, has nothing to do with your life, that it’s more exalted, more important,  because it (supposedly) transcends the merely personal…The public-private dichotomy, which is to say the public-private hierarchy, is a founding condition of female oppression. I say to hell with it.

Me too, Jane, me too! Now, I have to go change a diaper, do some grocery shopping, and work on some focus group theory.

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