Q & A Panel Part 2 (Video)



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  • [Music]
  • So I just want to welcome
  • everybody to today's
  • Faculty Author Spotlight
  • and our live Zoom Q&A, a discussion
  • with several faculty members
  • who've recently published books
  • in the last year and a half or so.
  • It's a little bit of wiggle room there.
  • My name is Courtney Kearney,
  • I am the Scholarly Engagement Librarian
  • for the physical sciences
  • and data management at Howard Tilton.
  • I want to thank all
  • of our panelists today
  • who I'll introduce in just a moment.
  • And also those that helped
  • organize the event includes
  • Amanda Morlas and Melissa
  • Chomintra, as well as Alan
  • Velasquez at the library.
  • Collectively, we've all been working
  • on this last few months
  • to try and get to this moment
  • where we can actually talk
  • to our faculty members
  • and hear about the work
  • they've been doing, the process
  • that kind of surrounds that work
  • and kind of where they're going next.
  • So today's talk, we have
  • five faculty from across campus.
  • We have Dr. Joan Blakey
  • from School of Social Work.
  • She has a publication titled
  • Why Are You Here?
  • The Lack of Belonging
  • among African-American Students
  • in a Predominantly White School District.
  • Then we have
  • Dr. Joel Dinnerstein of English
  • with Jazz: A Quick Immersion.
  • We also have Dr.
  • Victor Holtcamp of the Theater
  • Department discussing his book entitled
  • Interchangeable Parts:
  • Acting, Industry, and Technology in U.S.
  • Theater.
  • And we also have Dr.
  • Mimi Schippers from Sociology
  • with Polyamory, Monogamy
  • and American Dreams:
  • The Stories We Tell about
  • Poly Lives and the Cultural
  • Production of Inequality.
  • And last but definitely not
  • least, we have Dr.
  • Nubian Sun from Social Work
  • with Motherhood as Immortality.
  • So we have a really great,
  • I think, array of topics today.
  • And hopefully everyone
  • who's attending will have a
  • better understanding again
  • about the authors themselves
  • and the work they produced.
  • And we'll have an opportunity
  • to ask more questions.
  • So we're doing the webinar
  • feature of Zoom today.
  • So for the participants or the attendees,
  • you'll see there's an option to use chat
  • as well as the Q&A.
  • Feel free to say things in chat,
  • but if you have a question
  • for any particular panelist or the group,
  • if you could put that in the Q&A,
  • that would be great.
  • It makes it a little easier to decipher
  • comments from questions.
  • And we'll probably do
  • questions at the end
  • after we go through
  • a few topics for discussion
  • with everybody.
  • So to get us started, again,
  • thank you all for being here today.
  • We have a few questions, like I said,
  • and we're hoping that, you know,
  • this is informal conversation.
  • So I know that's hard to do in Zoom
  • because the way Zoom does its thing.
  • But we're going to start
  • with the question of how
  • and why did you choose your book topic?
  • So what brought you to the place
  • to write that book?
  • Was it your previous research
  • or the work you're doing?
  • Is it a shift from what you normally do?
  • So, again, I'm just
  • going to put that to the panelists
  • and I'll let you guys discuss that.
  • Thank you.
  • I guess I'll go ahead.
  • So the book is about
  • how to read texts through a Poly lens
  • and by Poly I mean
  • polyamorous. Right.
  • Relationships that include
  • more than two adults.
  • And I had written a book
  • previously about polyamory,
  • but this book in particular,
  • I was motivated to write because
  • really often when I engage with texts,
  • from a Poly perspective,
  • I see that the people writing the texts
  • or producing the texts,
  • are not seeing the world
  • as if polyamory is possible.
  • And so each chapter
  • takes a different kind of text
  • and reads it with a Poly gaze,
  • what I call a Poly gaze.
  • And mostly it was
  • hopefully an intervention
  • in the way people engage with media
  • rather than articulate it
  • to other scholars or other academics.
  • This is Joan Blakey,
  • I'm so excited to be with you today.
  • I kind of feel like the book
  • or this topic chose me.
  • I think I was the associate dean
  • of academic affairs
  • in the school of Social Work
  • for a long time, and so
  • these issues of belonging and sort of,
  • you know, students experiences
  • and how they feel
  • being in a predominantly white space
  • had been something
  • that I've been thinking
  • about for a long time.
  • So this topic, although
  • the paper was really focused on
  • high school,
  • it really helped me to understand
  • a lot of the students experiences
  • and what was happening,
  • within the School of Social Work
  • and how to
  • make the environment more welcoming
  • so that students really
  • did feel a sense of belonging.
  • Well, I was going to wait till I was last
  • because I actually didn't
  • choose the topic or the book,
  • I was chosen.
  • So I am a jazz scholar
  • and there's a new
  • series called Quick Immersion for short,
  • accessible books for a general audience.
  • The publisher emailed me to write a short
  • narrative history.
  • Well, to do whatever
  • I wanted, actually, but
  • to do a short accessable work for people
  • without any technical musical knowledge.
  • And so I refused a couple of times
  • because he wanted to give me nine months
  • and 40,000 words
  • and I thought that was impossible.
  • And the reasons I chose to do it
  • would take me too long to explain
  • some of them were personal.
  • But the reason I actually chose to do
  • it was I thought that
  • since our attention spans
  • are now so short,
  • I had to learn how to write a short book.
  • Both of my monographs are like
  • 300 pages or 350.
  • And I said, well,
  • the only way I'm going to learn
  • that is if I do it.
  • So that is actually...
  • That, and the fact that I want people
  • to love jazz and even people I know who
  • are American historians
  • and American studies people do not spend
  • any time trying to enjoy
  • what is America's classical music.
  • So I said, well, I'll write a book
  • that'll tell the jazz story,
  • which is about art
  • and esthetics and African-Americans
  • and survival and music. And
  • I'll do it through the
  • five cities that happened.
  • And maybe that will have enough
  • narrative threads for people to read it.
  • And of course, it starts in New Orleans,
  • which is really why
  • the guy got in touch with me.
  • That's my story.
  • Greetings, everyone,
  • and thank you all for
  • creating this space today.
  • I recently completed a piece, Motherhood
  • as Immortality, as a part of an anthology
  • that I was invited to participate in.
  • And this poem is a genuflection
  • to my mother, inspired by my mother, but
  • it's for all mothers.
  • And this piece took a while to publish
  • because I didn't know at the time,
  • I learned at the end,
  • that the editor lost her mother.
  • So this is a very timely piece.
  • And we were able to process
  • through the poem and support
  • and build community
  • around our thoughts of our mothers
  • and in celebration of our mothers.
  • Hi, I'll just echo
  • what everyone said,
  • thank you so much for setting it up,
  • and for those of you
  • that are spending
  • your lunch time with us,
  • thank you very much for being out there.
  • I got interested in my topic
  • because I was interested in
  • how we ended up in a place
  • where we can teach people to act
  • without them actually being in a play,
  • which is actually a
  • very recent innovation
  • in sort of art and esthetics of theater.
  • So the story really starts
  • at the end of the 19th century
  • and sort of works through the 20th.
  • And the main through line
  • that I was interested in
  • pursuing is the ways in which
  • the way that people talk about acting,
  • in the way that people talk about
  • learning how to act, really echoed
  • the larger scale industrial rhetoric
  • around interchangeable parts and
  • mass production that emerged
  • at roughly the same time.
  • And so I essentially
  • trace these two streams
  • as we move into the 20th century
  • and move acting from
  • being a completely apprentice
  • based on the job
  • system of how you learn
  • how to act into a place that
  • exists in a place
  • like Tulane, where they hire
  • somebody like me to teach
  • in a theater program.
  • Thanks, everyone.
  • So the next question is,
  • what was the most difficult
  • and or most rewarding
  • part of this writing/ editing process?
  • And I'll again, open the floor
  • up to anyone who'd like to speak.
  • I feel like with any project,
  • it's always finding the story.
  • What's the story that I want to tell?
  • And I think when you have so much data,
  • again, it's hard to decide
  • which parts do you,
  • you know, privilege
  • and bring to the surface.
  • And is that another book?
  • Is that part of this book?
  • And so it's always that kind of,
  • I always find that
  • regardless of what I'm writing,
  • you know, the issue.
  • But I think that that was the most
  • challenging part.
  • I think it's also the the fun part.
  • Right, because it's really,
  • you know, getting to tell the story.
  • And for me,
  • although I do most of my
  • writing is academic,
  • trying to tell it in a way
  • that lay audiences
  • can pick up my book and understand,
  • you know, what I'm talking about.
  • Yeah, I want to build on that
  • because I kind of led
  • with the difficulties at nine
  • months and 40,000 words
  • to write a history of jazz.
  • But the question
  • was the same as yours, which is that
  • I knew I was going to do it
  • when he asked me a question.
  • And I thought, all right,
  • if I'm going to do this,
  • how would I do it?
  • Which is always dangerous
  • when you start thinking about it.
  • And I said, what's the narrative
  • I can tell in a short period of time,
  • because you can't do it through musicians
  • because there's too many of them.
  • So I would do it through the five cities
  • where jazz developed
  • New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas
  • City, New York and Los Angeles.
  • And so each chapter
  • is kind of a biography of a city
  • and why the music developed there
  • and continues in the present.
  • Once I had that, I knew I was lost
  • and I would take the assignment.
  • That's pretty much what happened.
  • One of the things that
  • I think all writers face is
  • confronting one's own biases
  • and one's own
  • opinions and perspectives
  • and desire for outcomes.
  • And I found that
  • I have a chapter on journalists
  • portrayals of Mormon Polygamists.
  • And I found it really difficult to not
  • let my own stereotypes and assumptions
  • sort of guide my reading of
  • both the journalist's accounts,
  • but also the empirical research on
  • Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamists,
  • which shows that there's
  • a lot of variation
  • in how people practice polygamy.
  • But I came in with the assumptions
  • that most of the journalists had.
  • Right, that they're all male dominant,
  • they're all abusive,
  • they're all criminal endeavors.
  • And so it was interesting
  • for me and difficult
  • to sort of allow myself to entertain
  • the possibility that
  • there could be feminist Mormon polygamy,
  • which it turns out there is, and
  • Muslim polygamy.
  • So my most difficult
  • part of the writing ended up
  • being the most surprising
  • and in many ways
  • rewarding part of the writing for me.
  • I'll try I mean,
  • this is a little bit different
  • in character from what's been said,
  • I mean, there are many difficulties.
  • I mean, there are people
  • who are far more skilled
  • at doing this sort of thing.
  • And clearly, I turned out to be.
  • But one late breaking
  • curveball is that after
  • I got the feedback back
  • from the press, from the peer reviewers,
  • they asked me essentially to add
  • a new critical lens
  • to the analysis that I had done .
  • And the book was already
  • at about three hundred plus typed pages.
  • So there was a little
  • bit of back and forth
  • about how that would work.
  • But the good thing is
  • that the press gave me
  • the room to add that in,
  • but it meant I had to get up
  • to speed on actor network theory,
  • which sounds like something
  • I should know about
  • since I was talking about actors.
  • But actor is very different.
  • Many of you probably already know
  • actor network theory,
  • but it was basically entirely new to me.
  • So I essentially had to give myself
  • a whole seminar on actor network theory,
  • and then apply that to the research
  • that I've been doing for a long time
  • and work that together into something
  • approaching a cohesive manuscript. So
  • it was successful
  • enough to get published,
  • but it was definitely, definitely
  • a moment of challenge for me.
  • One commitment
  • that some folks may see as challenging
  • is my commitment
  • to balancing the creative.
  • My creative joy of publishing works
  • and the heavy empirical
  • drive with publication.
  • And I do that because I
  • believe that there are various
  • ways of knowing,
  • there are values in our stories.
  • And so I really enjoy the balance
  • of the two always.
  • And I also think about accessibility
  • to stories and to narratives.
  • And so that balance exists,
  • you know, for those reasons also.
  • Thanks, y'all.
  • Can y'all talk a little bit about
  • some of the things or surprises
  • that you learned in the research process?
  • So, you know, you start out with
  • a research question
  • or an idea of the process
  • that you're hoping to,
  • or thinking you're going to head
  • in that direction.
  • Did you learn anything
  • or did things change for you
  • along the way that kind of shifted maybe
  • the topic you were discussing
  • or how you discussed it?
  • Anything that surprised you
  • along those lines?
  • Yeah, I can lead off on this one.
  • Maybe.
  • So originally when I was
  • planning this project,
  • I was going to stay focused
  • just on live theater,
  • but I got some resources
  • to head out to Los Angeles
  • and do some work in
  • some of the studio archives
  • from the early part of the 20th century.
  • I've gotten a few scattered references
  • that the studios
  • have been doing some actor
  • training as well during that time.
  • So I was able to really dive
  • into that story.
  • And that ended up
  • being a much more integral
  • part of the final product
  • than I had originally envisioned.
  • And it's also, you know, it's really
  • fun as well, because,
  • you know, theater,
  • the names aren't necessarily
  • quite as well-known. But,
  • you know, you say like MGM,
  • like pretty much
  • everybody has something to think about,
  • like what MGM might be.
  • So it was a good hook
  • to get a little bit
  • more interest in the project as well.
  • Plus, a great chance
  • to do some really fun archival research
  • and tell a couple stories
  • that aren't necessarily the same ones
  • that you would normally
  • think of in that time.
  • This is Joan again, I guess
  • what surprised me was
  • I guess the simplicity of what I found.
  • It was kind of a moment of like,
  • it was right there, but
  • I guess when I went in to I was expecting
  • to find a lot more things.
  • And certainly, you know,
  • sense of belonging has many
  • different aspects to it.
  • But I never considered the possibility
  • that, one of the participants
  • described it as, you know,
  • like we feel like we're a guest
  • in this house, in a house right
  • in a place, and,
  • you know, we're invited to come in, but
  • none of the food that we like to eat
  • is available.
  • The music that is played in the house
  • doesn't represent us.
  • We're able to sit,
  • but we're not able to kind of lean back
  • and get comfortable and,
  • you know, put our feet up.
  • The way that they described
  • it was really like,
  • wow, I never really thought about, you kn
  • what do we do to make people feel
  • a part of whatever we're doing.
  • And so it was very
  • it was kind of this,
  • you know, aha, duh moment.
  • But I really was thinking
  • much more racism.
  • And, again, racism is
  • certainly a part of some of that.
  • But I was just thinking of much
  • more sort of bigger things.
  • And to find out that it was really about,
  • you know, wanting to be
  • an integral part of this space, wanting
  • to see themselves reflected in the space,
  • wanting to be valued for who they were
  • and what they brought to
  • the space was really...
  • I never thought that
  • that could have such an impact.
  • And so that was what really
  • kind of surprised me.
  • This is much less
  • profound and deep than Dr. Blakeys, but
  • because I was working on
  • a kind of distillation,
  • there were two challenges.
  • I mean, the general challenge was
  • how do I find the narrative
  • threads for each chapter? Right.
  • If it's a biography of each city. Right.
  • I know who the musicians
  • are going to be, sort of.
  • But what are how am I going to connect,
  • you know, New Orleans in the
  • first two decades
  • of the 20th century to now?
  • That one was easy.
  • I live here,
  • I know what those threads are.
  • But, so that's the general challenge
  • which developed only as I wrote the book
  • or what were going to be
  • the narrative threads.
  • And I was surprised
  • and happy to find that
  • there were generational threads
  • both musically and literally culturally
  • and through venues and through various
  • sort of African-American situations often
  • and sometimes the clubs that did that.
  • But the subset of that is in Los Angeles.
  • I had no idea, really,
  • the chapter on Los Angeles
  • is almost entirely new.
  • Like that was all me
  • immersing myself in
  • books on jazz of Los
  • Angeles, on the West Coast,
  • and then finding one of the great things
  • and the real surprise of the book to me,
  • which was the musician Horace Tapscott,
  • who's not famous, a pianist,
  • and who spent his entire life
  • in South Central L.A.
  • developing an orchestra
  • that played only community
  • venues, churches,
  • especially clubs, community centers
  • and all kinds of musicians,
  • including perhaps the most famous
  • young jazz musician Kamasi Washington,
  • developed under his mentorship.
  • He never toured.
  • He was a world class
  • musician who just was, his commitment
  • was to the African-American community.
  • And so I knew about him,
  • but did not know both
  • how effective he was
  • and how well that would fit.
  • So basically, to sum up
  • that I could make,
  • I could connect Los Angeles's
  • jazz scene, which starts
  • on the Central Avenue
  • scene in the late 1930s,
  • which was basically
  • the Harlem of Los Angeles
  • to the present through
  • several people, including,
  • most importantly, Horace Tapscott.
  • It was like when I realized that I went,
  • all right, we're done. I'm out. Right.
  • That was the bit
  • that was the big challenge
  • that I actually didn't know
  • when I started the book
  • how I would do that one.
  • So that was the most
  • satisfying, I must say.
  • Gratifying.
  • More than satisfied.
  • I'll say that finding out
  • about a whole group of people
  • who identify as Fundamentalist
  • Polygamists with a feminist
  • sensibility was like, you know, it
  • so surprised me.
  • And then once I read more about it,
  • it wasn't as surprising
  • as I initially thought it would be.
  • But also, there's a whole history
  • of people committing to non monogamy
  • as a political endeavor tied
  • with all sorts of other kinds
  • of political affiliations.
  • And that history has been erased
  • by people writing historical biographies
  • and treating the
  • non monogamy as this weird perversion
  • this person had outside
  • of their political commitments.
  • So like the weaving of one's sexual life
  • and relationship life
  • with one's political commitments.
  • I mean, there's a whole history of that
  • that I would love a historian
  • to write someday.
  • Thanks for that y'all, it's
  • really interesting to hear
  • all the different aspects or the things
  • that like you learned along
  • the way that surprised you.
  • And I think it's common in
  • any sort of writing research
  • endeavor that happens.
  • And it's nice to be reminded
  • that it happens across the board.
  • You know, it's not discipline specific.
  • So with that and I feel like,
  • you know, some of y'all
  • started to touch on that,
  • on this a little bit.
  • But I'm really curious to hear about
  • now that you've completed this work.
  • And for some of you,
  • it may have been last year or, you know,
  • sometimes it's a couple of years
  • after the publication and all this.
  • But what are you working on now,
  • how did, you know,
  • how does it connect to your current,
  • the current publication that we're
  • kind of highlighting today?
  • Is it connected?
  • I mean, sometimes these things
  • aren't as linear as you see them, so.
  • Can you talk a little bit
  • about what you're working on
  • and where it's going
  • and how you got there?
  • This is Joan.
  • I guess this
  • process really fueled or unearthed
  • my desire to do more
  • work around diversity,
  • equity and inclusion.
  • Like I said, just to see
  • how important it was that
  • I think that oftentimes
  • we stop at diversity.
  • And so we have a lot of diverse,
  • you know, people in a space, but we don't
  • then take it a step
  • further to think about
  • inclusion and then equity.
  • You know, are they?
  • And so I think for me, it was like,
  • you know,
  • we're really good at the diversity part,
  • not so good at the inclusion and equity
  • and so really thinking about that piece,
  • not only, you know, as
  • with my administrator hat
  • on, but also thinking about, you know,
  • the social work profession.
  • It's really made me question
  • and think about the
  • Social Work profession,
  • just made me think about the fact
  • that most of what we teach
  • students is from a white lens.
  • And, you know, people of color
  • are sort of this, you know, add on
  • or it's a week in the curriculum.
  • But, you know,
  • how do we begin to turn that on its head?
  • So it's really kind of,
  • it's stoked my desire for
  • really wanting to delve in deeper
  • in this area and
  • think about, like I said,
  • equity and inclusion,
  • there's to me is nothing worse
  • than having a student
  • come to Tulane, for example,
  • and leave because they don't feel
  • a sense of belonging.
  • And so now they've got student debt
  • that they have to start paying back
  • and don't have any thing to show for it.
  • And so for me, that is really
  • my commitment is
  • how do I make these spaces better
  • and how do I make these
  • spaces more welcoming so that students
  • feel like they are part,
  • an integral part, of any space.
  • So I think that's
  • kind of where my work is heading
  • and this project definitely opened
  • the floodgates to that.
  • In many ways, my
  • next project is very much
  • connected to the work in
  • American dreams.
  • So in American dreams,
  • it's like looking at texts
  • through a Poly lens.
  • And in my next book,
  • I'm working on theorizing
  • the effect of walking through the world
  • with a Poly-affect
  • might have on one's orientation towards
  • the environment, animals,
  • potential political allies
  • across difference.
  • So polyamory is a
  • way of speaking about
  • relationships as open and always
  • there's a potential
  • for the relationship to change
  • and to move in different directions.
  • Whereas like a monogamous
  • couple diad is closed
  • and walking through the world
  • with that sensibility
  • versus walking through the world
  • with a Poly sensibility
  • and how Poly affect might
  • foment the ability
  • to form political alliances
  • across differences.
  • I don't know if that made any sense.
  • It's in progress.
  • It made sense to me, I don't know.
  • Thematically, my next to current project
  • has nothing to do with the jazz project,
  • formally a little bit.
  • By writing a book
  • that was for totally accessible
  • and writing in this kind
  • of streamlined prose and a
  • sort of compressed way. I realized I
  • wanted to write a nonacademic book.
  • This wasn't new to me,
  • and when I was young,
  • I was an aspiring novelist.
  • So I've never really enjoyed
  • writing in academic prose.
  • I mean, I figured out sort of
  • how to do it and not hate it.
  • But I've never enjoyed it.
  • And I'm an English professor,
  • I love language.
  • And so I had been thinking
  • for quite some time
  • about writing a memoir
  • of my Jewish family.
  • And I decided and I've been working on it
  • probably since the summer.
  • I decided it was the time one
  • because I didn't want to write...
  • one, because I have another project
  • that's going to take me a while
  • to do the research
  • so I can't write that for a while.
  • And I'm teaching courses,
  • sort of doing the research.
  • But the other is, I mean, quite simply,
  • so I have a unique situation.
  • I grew up in what I now
  • have to call pre- hipster Brooklyn,
  • because otherwise
  • people think I grew up in
  • whatever they think Brooklyn is now.
  • And I grew up in an urban Jewish world
  • that was working class
  • that has simply disappeared
  • from public memory.
  • And it was a fairly interesting childhood.
  • But more importantly,
  • my family is very unusual in that I'm
  • about quite literally,
  • mathematically as young
  • as you can be
  • to be first generation
  • to the Ellis Island migration.
  • My parents had me very late.
  • My mom was 45 she, and my father was 48,
  • they came over right before Ellis Island.
  • And so mathematically, it'd be very hard
  • to actually be much younger than I am.
  • And so I look at that
  • as a set of lost worlds.
  • There is the lost world I grew up in.
  • There is the very unusual thing
  • of if you're born
  • and your parents are as old
  • as most people's grandparents
  • and your grandparents are still alive,
  • and they were basically
  • part of an extended immigrant community
  • that I have firsthand knowledge of,
  • which is very unusual at this point.
  • I thought, all right,
  • I want to sort of
  • see if I want to get that down.
  • And since I had been
  • thinking about it for a while,
  • I said, right now is the time because
  • I now have a language.
  • Well, I don't.
  • But I now have to figure out how to write
  • in a fictional voice again,
  • even though it's a nonfiction book
  • in a nonacademic way.
  • And let's see how that goes.
  • So I'm doing all right at it.
  • I haven't quite found the voice,
  • but I'm enjoying it.
  • And the last thing I would say
  • is I'm very lucky.
  • My mother had two pairs of kids,
  • so I have a sister
  • who's a year older than me.
  • So I basically just throw everything
  • by her and ask her
  • whether it happened
  • that way, whether it works,
  • whether other people think it'll work.
  • And I'm not sure
  • I could do this without her.
  • In fact, I'm sure I
  • couldn't do this without her.
  • So that makes it viable.
  • So that's what I've been working on
  • since I finished
  • writing this, probably in March or so.
  • And it's going all right.
  • We'll see what happens.
  • I can jump in next,
  • so the next thing I'm working on
  • is actually a history of stage and screen
  • representations of New Orleans,
  • which I thought somebody
  • had already done, but it does not.
  • It seems like this is a weird gap
  • in the remarkable
  • literature on the city that we're in.
  • It was actually prompted
  • to a certain extent by my work
  • I actually did it on the previous book,
  • although thematically
  • there's next to nothing overlapping them.
  • But when I was doing
  • the archival research
  • out in the studio archives,
  • I ran across a set of location
  • documents, and New Orleans
  • was an early on location
  • spot for Hollywood.
  • So I jotted that down
  • and then went back to looking at
  • how people were acting,
  • but was sort of intrigued
  • by why that might be and what was
  • sort of film there.
  • And this was before I even
  • was working at Tulane.
  • And then I got the job at Tulane
  • and I came here and got this book done.
  • So it seemed like the perfect time
  • to sort of dive in to this next topic.
  • I just want to say to Victor, Victor,
  • how has that not been done?
  • I can't believe there's
  • no book like that.
  • I know I managed to get like
  • an undergraduate research assistant
  • to scour the bookshelves
  • in case I'd overlooked something
  • like both of us turned up nothing.
  • So, I mean, I'm still sort of expecting
  • that like two or three,
  • my luck, two years from now
  • when I'm a fourth of the way through,
  • like it'll suddenly show up.
  • But so far no.
  • Like there's been individual studies
  • of like a particular
  • like film or something like that,
  • but nothing that sort of looks
  • at the whole history
  • of the representation of the city,
  • because the city's
  • been around for so long.
  • There's been representations
  • for a long time.
  • So we have an annual
  • Tennessee Williams Festival
  • and we don't have a book
  • on representations of New Orleans.
  • Although, again, if anyone
  • out there knows of that book, please
  • let me know, like save me from myself.
  • Well, I'll share.
  • I wanted to leave space for anyone who
  • wanted to share.
  • My next project
  • is called Saving Lives Including Our Own.
  • And it looks at examining
  • best practices of
  • black women who are reproductive justice
  • leaders in the south.
  • And this piece of research
  • is funded by the Newcome Faculty Grant
  • and it will be published
  • in the Journal of Colorism Studies.
  • And this piece comes out of my work
  • with several reproductive justice
  • leaders in the south.
  • And just hearing their stories over time
  • of hearing how they got into reproductive
  • justice, health,
  • and how work has informed
  • in how their healing
  • and challenge, and ongoing challenges,
  • have affected their work in the South.
  • So I'm really excited to
  • create a space to highlight those things
  • and to share of the
  • best practices with others.
  • Thanks, everyone, for that.
  • I'm going to open up questions to
  • the attendees as well.
  • Again, if you could put
  • questions in the Q&A.
  • And while they're doing that,
  • I was going to ask
  • if y'all could, as
  • experts in your field
  • and researchers
  • talk to those who are early career
  • and maybe graduate students,
  • PhD students.
  • You know, the writing
  • these types of publications,
  • you know, you've talked about this,
  • it's kind of come up,
  • you know, it takes years.
  • Sometimes it's something that
  • may be on the back burner or not.
  • But, like, advice to them
  • on writing these types of
  • publications, the process.
  • Any insight you can give to them
  • would be really wonderful.
  • Well, in the grand
  • tradition of academia, I'll recommend
  • a book that was recommended to me
  • by my acquiring editor
  • at University of Michigan,
  • where I published my book.
  • It's by William Germano,
  • I think, and it's called
  • Getting It Published.
  • And it is a very straightforward
  • at least it worked
  • very well for my field.
  • It's a very straightforward
  • sort of guide through
  • academic publishing,
  • sort of what the basic
  • steps in the process are sort of like.
  • It gives you a model of like
  • how do you approach an editor?
  • What can you expect from
  • the peer review process?
  • What parts should you already like,
  • you know,
  • what sort of timetable and calendar
  • could you sort of expect?
  • So I would say that her advice
  • was really great to me.
  • And so that's the one that I would share.
  • I guess I would for
  • advanced graduate students
  • and early career
  • professors who are thinking
  • about writing a book.
  • I always say don't
  • write a book, write chapters,
  • because if you sit down to write a book,
  • it's going to be overwhelming.
  • Take it chapter by chapter.
  • Even when you don't feel like
  • writing, sit down at the computer
  • and open a document and start editing.
  • Or just drop in ideas.
  • And, I mean, that's for me,
  • that was the hardest thing
  • to actually drag myself to the desk
  • and open a document
  • when I didn't feel like writing.
  • And I found that once I did that,
  • it's like, oh, yeah, I could edit this
  • or I could add to that.
  • A lot of people say every single day
  • I took days off,
  • but every single like work day, sit down
  • and write.
  • I would say that it
  • really depends on the discipline.
  • I know that for Social Work,
  • we are not encouraged to publish books
  • until we're sort of further
  • along in our career.
  • They just count less in the beginning.
  • And I know that's
  • not true of other professions,
  • but I do know that's
  • what has been told to me.
  • And I don't know
  • that I would have been ready
  • right then anyways.
  • I think it's taken a long time
  • just to develop my ideas
  • and my voice and all of that.
  • So I think that, again, I would say
  • depending on the discipline,
  • but I also think that, you know, to
  • just kind of keep in mind
  • the things that you are passionate about,
  • that you do really want to write about,
  • and so I think that, you know,
  • the advice that was given to
  • me was think about your career.
  • You know, think about this as
  • a career as opposed
  • to a dissertation or as a you know,
  • that there are some ideas that you have
  • that are more, you know, like Joel,
  • it's going to take time to write.
  • Then there's things that you can
  • sort of get out more quickly.
  • And so I think it's just
  • being able to know which is which.
  • And to know that everything doesn't
  • have to be done right
  • now, that it can, you know,
  • come out through a process,
  • I guess would be what I would say.
  • I don't have much to add,
  • I mean, you can't write
  • a book like mine,
  • you can't write until
  • later in your career.
  • So this book in particular,
  • I have no advice about.
  • But I would echo both what
  • Mimi and Joan said, which is to say.
  • I actually do think I mean, it doesn't
  • work, Mimi took days off,
  • but I actually think at the beginning
  • you have to actually set some hours
  • that are the same hours every day
  • and you should sit down and write.
  • And particularly
  • it's very hard when you're
  • a junior scholar, particularly
  • if you're a doctoral student,
  • to believe in your own
  • ideas often enough.
  • So you should, as Mimi said,
  • you should write your own ideas down
  • without quoting anybody
  • like a couple of times a day.
  • And even if you throw them out,
  • for the most part,
  • any idea you've come up with
  • is probably going to need
  • or have the support of
  • some of the things you're reading.
  • So the footnotes will come later,
  • but it can be very torturous
  • when you first think, well,
  • I have to do this sentence
  • by quoting this person
  • or say, as you know,
  • Victor Turner has pointed out, whatever.
  • And I think it's
  • liberating and empowering
  • if you think, well,
  • if you're doing this,
  • you must have ideas
  • having already dealt with this discourse.
  • So what are they? And write them down.
  • You can throw them out later,
  • but write them down in your own voice
  • and start trying to
  • figure out how to write
  • in a sort of academic way.
  • I would say there are a few things
  • I would like to offer
  • to those thinking about
  • this writing process,
  • and I would say it would be great for you
  • to serve on some editorial teams
  • or boards or review
  • some works in your field.
  • Also, getting a mentor,
  • that's always been helpful.
  • Being a part of Facebook, Instagram,
  • Twitter, like professional groups
  • or groups built around
  • your specific demographics,
  • where there's always a constant
  • fueling of people
  • wondering about topics,
  • communicating about things
  • that they find interesting
  • and pulling in a request for proposals.
  • Those have been very helpful.
  • Also, writing accountability
  • partners and circles,
  • I have a couple of friends
  • that we just get on
  • just for an hour and just write,
  • you know, and also
  • very early on, I was encouraged
  • to think about as a social worker,
  • what narrative do I want
  • to bring out into the world and help
  • shift and realize and use
  • writing to do that as a tool in that work.
  • So those are a few things I had.
  • Thanks, everyone,
  • I think those are all really great,
  • interesting tips
  • that kind of like crossed the gamut.
  • It's very broad in terms of from
  • books to the process to finding mentors.
  • I think that's all really helpful.
  • We have a couple of questions in the Q&A.
  • So I'm just going to start
  • from the first one,
  • and I'll read it out loud.
  • If it needs any clarifications,
  • we can also ask
  • the person who submitted
  • the question to follow up.
  • So this comes from Lisa Hooper.
  • She asks and she says, Victor and Joel,
  • you both indirectly
  • hinted at the sometimes outsized capacity
  • of publishers and editors
  • to shape our scholarly literature.
  • And we're already
  • well aware of the impacts
  • socio cultural biases play in academia
  • and particularly in publishing.
  • For all panelists,
  • I'm wondering if you have one piece
  • of most important advice
  • for success and self-preservation
  • you would give to new authors
  • who are most likely to be subject
  • to these publisher biases.
  • I can't really speak that much
  • to publish your biases.
  • I've been fairly lucky
  • with getting the interest of publishers.
  • I can say if we're talking
  • about self-preservation
  • for doctoral students
  • or, you know, junior scholars,
  • and it just occurs to me that
  • you should ask your professors to read
  • the first thing they ever published.
  • Because it's probably
  • not going to be great.
  • And it's probably going
  • to give you a certain amount
  • of confidence in the areas that
  • you find challenging,
  • which is how much you
  • depended on deferring
  • to other authorities
  • and other works and how little,
  • you know, you took a whole discourse
  • and said like one little new thing,
  • because that's how it works.
  • And, you know, as
  • someone said earlier,
  • I think Mimi, you get overwhelmed by
  • what's possible and it wouldn't
  • really narrow down.
  • And I'm pretty sure most professors
  • would be willing to share that with you.
  • And so that's the thing I would say.
  • But I leave it to everyone else
  • to speak to publisher biases.
  • It's just not something
  • I've had a lot of trouble with,
  • except one longer story
  • about having a prospectus thrown out.
  • But that's not about that.
  • This is Joan, I haven't had any issues
  • with publisher bias,
  • but I guess one of the
  • things that I've done is that
  • I just keep trying.
  • So if one publisher doesn't like it,
  • then you go to the next one.
  • And again, I take feedback and I
  • look at it and I think about, OK,
  • you know, is this valid?
  • You know, would this help, you know,
  • flesh out my idea a little bit more?
  • But I think that
  • there's always I guess I believe there's
  • always a home somewhere,
  • somewhere for it.
  • And so you just got to find that home.
  • And so I just, you know, would say,
  • you know, don't give up.
  • But I think, like Joel said, my ideas,
  • as I am further along
  • in my career, my ideas
  • are better or more
  • fleshed out or just more thoughtful
  • than they were certainly when
  • I first started.
  • And I feel like,
  • you know, 10 years in and I'm
  • still trying to find my voice.
  • I'm still trying
  • to make sure that, you know,
  • who I am comes out in my
  • writing and stuff.
  • So I think it's just a lifelong journey.
  • I echo Dr. Blakey in finding my home.
  • Even if you build it,
  • you create your own journal,
  • you write your own book,
  • you do your own things.
  • I always value, I graduated from
  • Clark Atlanta University.
  • And the motto there
  • is find a way or make one.
  • So I heavily believe in
  • if you know you have things that are
  • dear in your heart that you want to
  • let out in the world
  • and it doesn't seem like it's
  • fitting, make it happen,
  • you know, with your own house.
  • Also, guest edit,
  • you know, send a proposal
  • to guest edit on a journal.
  • Or with the publisher propose,
  • you know, different ideas
  • and different topics to different
  • editorial, you know, bodies
  • and make your own way.
  • So the next question
  • comes from Greyston.
  • She asks, Have you had a chance
  • to share your work with your students?
  • If so, I'm wanting to hear
  • about how you did that.
  • I'm one of those professors
  • who assigns my writing in my classes.
  • And before I wrote Beyond Monogamy,
  • which was the first book
  • I wrote about polyamory, I taught a class
  • in the summer called
  • Poly Queer Sexualities.
  • And I actually, you know,
  • I worked with my students
  • on some of the ideas,
  • and they were incredibly helpful
  • and their ideas were
  • really invaluable to me.
  • So that was...
  • that was a really valuable experience
  • for me in terms of, you know,
  • working with my students
  • or introducing my students
  • to my work.
  • And I always say
  • when I do assign my writing,
  • I tell my students that I've moved on
  • from that writing.
  • And, you know, it's open to critique and,
  • you know, please be comfortable
  • critiquing it or, you know,
  • engaging with it.
  • Forget that I'm in the room.
  • But I'm a, I don't know,
  • I'm a true believer
  • in the old academic model where,
  • you know, one of the great things about
  • the university
  • is it's a community of thinkers.
  • And my students, I'm there to mentor
  • my students in becoming
  • thinkers, independent thinkers
  • and facilitating their thinking.
  • So talking about my own thinking process,
  • thought process,
  • I think is good mentorship
  • for my students.
  • Although not quite
  • to the level I think that Mimi's
  • seminar probably was,
  • I did for the first time run a tides
  • class this semester on New Orleans
  • on stage and screen.
  • So that was a fun chance
  • to get a chance to sort of
  • like see some things both together
  • and then have the students
  • sort of branch off and see some things
  • independently and sort of report back
  • and just get a chance to spend some time
  • sort of each week
  • kind of talking through like, you know,
  • for those that weren't from New Orleans,
  • like what are the things that you thought
  • about New Orleans before you got here
  • and how does that get
  • reflected in the media
  • that you've consumed?
  • And then we're able to go out
  • actually into the city safely with masks
  • and sort of see, you know,
  • what is actually there and
  • how that might relate to it.
  • I haven't shared
  • directly, I think with my students,
  • like Mimi said I have assigned
  • some of my readings on other things.
  • But I do feel like I've tried to live it,
  • at least what I'm talking about.
  • And again, I'm fortunate to have a topic
  • that is this sort of, you know,
  • appropriate in this kind of setting.
  • So just really practicing that,
  • practicing what I wrote
  • about with students and making,
  • you know, contributing
  • to a sense of belonging
  • that that students have.
  • So I think that's important.
  • I have always, again
  • I'm the second person in my family
  • to get a Bachelor's Degree
  • first, to get a Master's
  • first, to get a Doctorate.
  • And I've always wanted my family
  • to read my work.
  • And so it's always kind of been a
  • standard of mine of
  • how do I write in a way
  • that my mom could pick up my publication
  • and read it and understand
  • what I'm talking about.
  • I think I've also
  • really wanted to share my work.
  • I don't want to write for writing sake.
  • I want to change practice.
  • I want to change the way
  • people are experience, you know, systems
  • and institutions and
  • that and so that means
  • sharing my work.
  • And so that's why I signed up to do,
  • you know, the speaker series,
  • which I'm grateful to have this platform.
  • But I speak in the community.
  • I talk about my research
  • in as many different venues as possible,
  • because, again,
  • I just want it to get out there.
  • I want to make a difference
  • in the lives of the people that I
  • research and work with.
  • And so I think that
  • that's how I share it,
  • but not specifically
  • directly with students.
  • I have not said this is my work,
  • but like I said,
  • really trying to live that.
  • We have one last question in the chat,
  • and I think it's perfect timing
  • as we approach 1:00.
  • So this one is actually from Eric. Weedig
  • to Professor Holtcamp.
  • What Hollywood films
  • best represent New Orleans?
  • I particularly like
  • Elia Kazan's film Panic in the Streets.
  • I think I just butchered
  • maybe their first name. Apologies.
  • No worries. No worries.
  • So, you know, again,
  • in the grand tradition of academia,
  • I'll just say that's an interesting
  • and complicated question,
  • because it sort of depends on what
  • New Orleans you're trying to represent.
  • So I can give you
  • a couple of different things
  • that I'm interested in looking at,
  • but I'm not like
  • I haven't totally dived in.
  • So I'm sure there's some other things
  • that are sort of out there.
  • So Panic In The Streets is great, right?
  • It's the city that has disease.
  • So when you think about
  • like what are the things
  • that people traditionally associate
  • with New Orleans over time,
  • like disease is one of those things.
  • So Panic In The Streets
  • sort of links us to that.
  • There's a couple of different film
  • versions of the story of Jean Lafitte.
  • So prior to the Civil War,
  • New Orleans was a tourist destination
  • because of its role in the War of 1812.
  • And the legend of Jean Lafitte,
  • was sort of ripe for Hollywood
  • because its pirates and swashbuckling,
  • all that kind of good stuff.
  • And so that for some people
  • was really exciting as well.
  • We wrapped up my
  • tides class with Princess
  • and the Frog and talked about,
  • so why is this story
  • the first African-American
  • princess from Disney?
  • Like, why is that set in New Orleans
  • and not Atlanta or Dallas or Pittsburgh?
  • Like, why is it not
  • just in the United States,
  • but why is it in New Orleans?
  • And what does that sort of represent to,
  • you know, admittedly an audience
  • that is younger than perhaps
  • some of the other ones?
  • And then we were able to sort of
  • compare that with works
  • that we'd looked at earlier.
  • There's some great documentaries
  • that sort of look at New Orleans as well.
  • We did Bury The Hatchet.
  • And for a lot of students, you know,
  • that was their first introduction
  • to the Mardi Gras Indians tradition.
  • So that was a new way of them
  • sort of like seeing the city.
  • So it's a great question
  • and one that I hope to answer
  • at further length
  • at some point down the road.
  • So thank you for that.
  • I'm also open to any suggestions
  • other people have for other films, I'm
  • compiling my list,
  • I'm up to like 22 pages of things, so
  • send it my way if you got them.
  • Well, I have one recommendation for you
  • and I'm sure you know
  • about it, but it's also
  • there are only two things
  • that I know that seem to
  • film New Orleans
  • the way it feels to live here,
  • because so much of it is tourists.
  • I mean, contemporarily
  • it's touristy based, you know,
  • it's all NCIS, New Orleans in some way.
  • And one of them is obvious.
  • One of them is Tremé,
  • which, especially the first season.
  • But the other one is a small indie flick
  • called A Love Song For Bobby Long.
  • And it came out in the late 90s.
  • And although it doesn't do
  • the cultural stuff at all, Marigny,
  • second line, it doesn't do race
  • well at all.
  • It is filmed really well because
  • there's somebody whoever was the DP,
  • probably the director.
  • New Orleans is a very
  • flat city, as we all know.
  • And so living here is very horizontal.
  • There's not a lot of vertical.
  • And so they filmed it at about 10 feet
  • and never above it.
  • So it actually feels like you live here.
  • And also it has John Travolta
  • and Scarlett Johansson.
  • It's like Scarlett Johansson
  • is like third film
  • or fourth film, she's very young.
  • And it is a surprisingly good film.
  • And in a way, it's
  • neighborhood-y, it's cultural,
  • everybody drinks too much, people fish.
  • It is a very rare kind of minor
  • indie film about New Orleans
  • that actually resonates
  • with living here if you live here.
  • And so therefore makes for an odd
  • representation of New Orleans
  • because it's not trying to be one.
  • That's great, thank you.
  • You're welcome.
  • OK, well, we're right at one o'clock,
  • I want to thank everyone
  • so much for coming
  • today, for submitting your videos to us
  • and allowing us to share
  • your work with everybody
  • for being here today
  • to talk about the works you've done
  • and the process and giving us insight
  • into all of that
  • and where you're going with this.
  • It's been really
  • fascinating and wonderful
  • to both see you and
  • hear your voices here. So thank you.
  • It's really great to be able to connect
  • as well in a time
  • when we can't see each other in one room.
  • So we really appreciate you coming
  • and taking the time.
  • And I want to thank the attendees
  • as well for being here
  • and taking the time to listen and hear
  • all the wonderful things
  • y'all had to say and contribute.
  • So thank you to everybody
  • and to the team who's been
  • behind the scenes working on this.
  • And we hope that next year
  • we will see you again,
  • either here or in the audience.
  • So keep an eye out for our call
  • for submissions.
  • And again, thanks again.
  • And I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe
  • day and week and holiday next week.
  • So, yes. Thank you.
  • Thank you.
  • Thank you Amanda
  • and Courtney for organizing.
  • Thanks, everybody.
  • Bye y'all.
  • [Music]