About Me (sort of)
Why am I writing this blog? Technically my job is to think. (I'm a PhD student who currently teaches courses in college composition.) My field is English Literature, but I work in motherhood studies, children's literature, educational theory/critical pedagogy, and cultural studies. All of these fields are deeply personal to me. There is little distance between my "life" and my "job." This blog is a reflection of that reality. I'm currently starting to explore the ideation of childhood in early 20th century America, particularly around independence, industry, and self-mobilization as educational concepts. (Before Erikson and ideas of development took off - I'm in the Dewey/Montesorri period.) However, my main hope in doing this work is being able to be an advocate and a thinker in the present situation. This blog is a way in which I want to start working in that direction - I want my academic work to be an asset to people. This blog is me trying to figure out how to do that.
Before I became a mother, I planned on working in the fields of Russian literature and/or environmental ethics. (I completed a Master's Degree from Yale Divinity School in 2008, where I studied literature and environmental theology.) But after I became a mother, something else started to happen in me. For the fun of it (and so I could be a better mom), I started writing papers on motherhood for academic conferences. It wasn't until I wasn't into my doctorate a couple of years that I realized I could do motherhood studies as a part of my work. I'm just starting on that venture.
I have been influenced by Sara Ruddick, Maria Montessori, Lewis Carroll, and (yes) Dostoevsky. In this blog I will attempt to use a variety of historically important thinkers to help me think critically about the lived experience of parenting in our (often troubling) culture. There may be some Foucault and Barthes, some Kierkegaard and Rousseau. There also may be some P.G. Woodhouse and Fitzgerald. We'll see.
I am concerned with making a way for peace in our world. I join with Dr. Montessori in believing that the way we raise and education children is the most important thing we can do in making peace in our world. It is for that reason that my main goal in creating this blog is to be thinking (and re-thinking) the nature of parenting in a highly competitive world where peace is often the last thing on people's minds when they think about raising children.
I believe that, at root, the difficulties parents are experiencing in this moment has a lot to do with a lot of things we hardly ever talk about in connection with parenting - our deep seated notions of individualism and self-sufficiency, our reliance on values of hard work as a measure of a "good adult," our ideas of children as a different species than adults, and so on. Those are the things I want to start to discuss here. One of the challenges of this blog will be trying to find a way to talk about parenting that isn't so parent-centered. (Please be gracious as I struggle to learn how to do that.) Your feedback is welcome, wanted, and necessary. In the words of Augustine: si fallor sum (I'm mistaken therefore I am). I will undoubtedly get things wrong here, and for that I ask for your patience and forgiveness.
I'm trying to be a better mother and a better thinker, but (honestly) I'm trying to speak and listen, re-speak and re-listen with other parents to build a parenting framework together that is NOT driven by capitalism and consumerism. I'm hoping to help change the cognitive and emotional landscape of American mainstream parenting: to help loosen the hold that the economic sector's logic often holds over our smallest actions.