Girls’ Studies: Introduction

I’m taking a class titled Girls’ Studies this semester as part of my cognate area for my Ph.D. program.  One of the components of this class is posting each week to a blog, and while I could create a new and private blog for this purpose, I’ve decided to post it here on my public blog.  I know many of my regular readers would find the ideas from this class interesting, but please keep in mind that these posts (one a week) will be primarily to make sure that I’m engaging with course materials; they might not follow the same format as my regular book review posts.  For the first class assignment blog post, I need to introduce myself.

I’m Emily, a second-year Ph.D. student and research fellow in the theory and practice of professional communication program in the English department.  My research is focused on professional identities, particularly women’s contributions, both current and historical, to the field of professional communication.  Some of my past research projects include looking at IBM’s memos of marriage and maternity policies from the 1930s to the 1960s, interviewing website owners about their use of Google Analytics, exploring the history of the dishwasher and its female inventor, and establishing mom bloggers as professional communicators.  My work on mom bloggers has recently been accepted for publication in one of the major journals in my field.  I am interested in archival research and spent last semester with the diaries and letters of Virginia Hanson in my university’s archives. She was the county librarian for some thirty years and received letters from many prominent women of her day, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Clare Boothe Luce, and Margaret Sanger.  I looked at how these women may have served as role models of what it meant to be a professional woman in the 1940s.

I’m interested in this course because of my feminist research agenda.  I am especially interested in the feminist goal of recognizing marginalized or silenced women.  I plan to write my dissertation on the domestic science/home economics movement (roughly 1850 to 1950), which preliminarily I see as both a disciplining of women to stay at home and an instantiation of women documenting and communicating their professional values to one another.  Some of the domestic science literature includes books for girls and advice on how to parent girls.  I see some potential there for my class project this semester.

I have been married for thirteen years and have two daughters, ages nine and three.  When I’m not studying, I like to cook, play the piano, and read, which is a lot like studying!  I also like to travel.  As I write this, I realize that I’m boring and spend most of my free time (outside of motherhood) reading, studying, researching, and writing.  If you’d like to know my favorite book, please click here for a list.  I can’t pick just one!

Here’s a picture of me and my family in Missouri, on my dad’s property in December.  We went there for Christmas.

grandpas 018

46 thoughts on “Girls’ Studies: Introduction

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  1. Hi Emily

    Are you interested in international fiction authors such as Stieg Larrson ? There are some great ones out there.. It would be Great if you could follow my Blog. !


  2. Hi Emily — thanks for putting us in the loop regarding your your academic pursuits. Sounds really interesting. (Love that you did research you on IBM’s internal memos on marriage and maternity policies over the years — that must have been fun.)

    Most people think of “Literature” as only being about the big L type of literature — classic books, novels, poetry. But literature is also happening all around us — from the letters we write, the journals we keep, inter-office memos, and now in the digital age, in our email communications, tweets, blogs, etc.

    I had a professor, Paul Fussell, back at Rutgers (I was in the Ph.D. program there in English) who opened my eyes about how wide a net we could cast in search of interesting literary subjects. He showed that anything written–the Boy Scout Handbook, WWI soldiers’ letters home, official government pamphlets, propaganda posters–could be considered literature and might be a fruitful subject for serious academic analysis.

    Sounds like you are into some very interesting stuff. Best of luck with your studies.

    1. This is so cool! Your experiences and your research interests sound a lot like mine. My program is in professional communication, so I can be a little more “out there” with my artifacts, like memos and pamphlets and such, but I’m so interested in archival research and recovering those fantastic documents of the past. It sounds like you had some great artifacts for your research. Thank you for the comment!

  3. Very excited to read your Girls’ Studies posts. If I had unlimited time and resources in college, I would have been a Gender Studies minor. Good luck! Undergrad is tough enough; getting a PhD and having a family is one big accomplishment. Go Emily!

  4. Wow your research sounds very interesting especially regarding women in the workplace. I’d love to read some of your findings on IBM’s policy memos along with any research you have regarding why old methodologies may still be lingering around in corporate America (i.e boys club) and whether or not your finding how that may affect career growth for women in the near future. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Heather! I may have to write a post about my IBM research. Right now, I’m waiting to see if it will be accepted into a journal. If that happens, I just might write more about it for my blog!

  5. I look forward to following your ‘”personal” posts. Great subject of research. I have enjoyed your book reviews and I think it is fortunate that you have daughters… they certainly, like all of us, but perhaps more so, will appreciate e benefit from the results of your research. Nice looking family..

    1. Well, I can only hope that my research focus somehow helps my daughters. I could probably learn to spend more time with them and less in my head with thoughts on what to research next! I am glad these future posts sound interesting to you.

  6. Emily, thanks for the broader window into what you are doing and your family. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs and your opinions are valued. All the best, BTG

  7. Hi Emily J!

    For these posts feel free to post rules and boundaries: do you want us to not to post; do you need us TO post etc

      1. Malala ended up in my current home city of Birmingham, England, where the hospital she stayed at (Queen Elizabeth) is one of the centres for injured soldiers, and is about 1.5 miles up the road from where I live.

        She also opened the new Library Of Birmingham as a centre of Learning – it’s a fab space to be in.

        Any on site info you need, let me know

        1. That is awesome. Have you ever seen her speak or met her? Does she make appearances? I am really looking forward to reading her book. I started it in December, but when I realized it was on this class’s syllabus, I decided to wait.

          1. Nah! I’ve been at work when she’s made public appearances. At the end of the day she is also a 15 year old highly articulate girl who is still technically in school. I suspect there will be quite a group of people around her for her own safety when she’s out and about

  8. I did a bachelor mix of literature, women’s studies and communications, so I’m really interested to read your post comments. I remember reading Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and being blown away how the communications arena had so drastically altered our perception of female beauty and influence.

  9. Your girls are gorgeous!! Right now I’m working on my liberal arts degree to be an author and a motivational speaker but I love language so I’m concentrating on the linguistic aspect of it, my question I guess is what is your job title?

    1. Thanks! I am a “professional” student and a research fellow, so I guess that’s my job title. I hope to be a university professor in a few years.

  10. Beautiful family picture!

    And I’m looking forward to your posts as well. I was always interested in women’s studies and had no idea that there is such a thing as girls’ studies. Your dissertation topic is also very interesting to me. We hear so much about the feminist movement and all that’s happened since the 60s but I’d never heard anything about the domestic science movement (I didn’t even know there was such a thing or that there is a name for it!).

    1. I never thought about Girls’ Studies either until I saw this course title. I also took The Culture and Politics of Motherhood from the same instructor. These two courses have awesome topics and show the interesting work that women and gender studies does in recognizing forgotten or marginalized groups. And I am so excited to have “discovered’ the domestic science movement! As I have done some research on it, I’ve found a few other scholars looking at it as well.

  11. Hi Emily, I’m a new reader but was really interested to see that you’re studying a course called girl studies as it’s not an area I’ve come across before. I was chatting to a (male) sociologist last year who was complaining that gender studies is overwhelmed by women’s studies to the extent that men and masculinities receive short shrift at undergraduate level… which put the cat among the pigeons with some of the people we were talking with! I’ll be interested to learn more about the kind of material and content you’re looking into on your course.

      1. Hi Emily, I’m not a sociologist, but I work in academic publishing so I get to chat to a few occasionally. I’ll check out your babes in guyland post, sounds interesting,

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