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.

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