I am writing a book for the University of Toronto Press. In it, I organize my work around one bodily sensation – that of fatigue. The purpose of the book is twofold. One, I want to place fatigue on, in, and through women’s ill bodies as both a bodily sensation and social construction theoretically using a postructural feminist and materialist framework with embodiment as a key concept. Two, I want to place fatigue in, on, and through women’s ill bodies empirically via explorations of various medical explanations of fatigue as a bodily sensation indicating illness, of the feminized dimensions of what makes illness legitimate, and of a selection of cultural depictions of how women live their ill bodies. I draw on a range of empirical sites to demonstrate these arguments, including magazines, novels, diaries, and my own life.
Another writing project I am firmly ensconced in is analytical autobiographical writing. I explore various everyday contexts I live in related to work, illness, and caring. I try to make sense of how autoethnography and autobiography can contribute to critical inquiry within feminism as well as to provide feminist readings of empirical events in embodied and embedded ways. I reject the notion that autobiographical writing is an expression of self-absorption, a political dead end, or merely a form of therapy. Autobiographical writing is a means to access both the ways that power produces selves as subjects and the power structures that oppress, marginalize and exclude individual bodies.
Karen Falconer Al-Hindi, Leslie Kern, Roberta Hawkins, and I have embarked on a long-term writing project using a combination of memory work and a feminist poststructural methodology of collective biography. We collectively analyze our writings in ways that provide insight into constitutive process of emotion, subjectivity, and identity. We are interested in the generation of joyful subjects in academia. Embodiment, affect, and becoming figures prominently in our thinking as we write about joy, intimacy, and becoming scholar.
What started out as a term paper for a graduate course in environmental perception turned into a career long critical engagements of the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen. Feminist
colleagues often wonder why I would be interested in songs of white working-class men when it is so obviously sexist. I see something different. I see a poet capturing processes that identify processes that shape both hegemonic and critical understandings of not only class, race, gender, and sexuality but also emotions, social movements, spirituality, globalization, and international security.
Michael J. Prince and I continue to write about disability politics from a critical vantage point. We have written about the effects of emotional and psychological distress among soldiers and veterans and the policies governing their lives post-deployment. We have developed critiques of military psychiatry, popular culture, social policy, warfare and welfare, and gender in our work. We have looked at contemporary and historical contexts of nostalgie, shell shock, battle fatigue, and operational stress injuries. Our work is informed by Foucault’s ideas around dispositifs, pastoral power and social death alongside feminist ideas about embodiment, materiality and disclosures.
Writing Intimacy into Geography
Courtney Donovan and I are pulling together a set of papers about how personal, intimate writing is used in feminist geography. We organized a set of panels and paper sessions at a conference. There was tremendous interest in pursuing a project that dealt with detailing the methodological, epistemological and ontological arguments and issues that frame how and why we take up intimate writing in our research and as our research. The book – Writing Intimacy into Feminist Geography – is organized around personal writing and muddling intimacy into research and will be published by Routledge in 2017.