Category Archives: writing

presentation accepted: MCAA

A quick tidbit.

I’ve gotten a paper proposal accepted for the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs in early October, in Columbus, OH. I’m excited about this conference in particular because of its focus on media and communication throughout history, and thinking hard about how we approach our various fields through this lens (or vice versa).

My own topic is something I will elaborate on later, but for now, let me tell you it’s about the impossibility of separating physicality from social network from archive from publication in the context of a certain book in the late 1800s. To be less vague, I’m going to talk about how one man’s “rediscovery” (via many allusions by a fiction author he liked) of Ihara Saikaku (then mostly forgotten, now Mr. Edo-Period Canonical Author) in the 1880s. Those who got excited about reading Saikaku talk quite a bit about buying, handling, and borrowing/lending old copies of Saikaku’s work, and in their anthology that they published, they go so far as to credit each work with whose archive/collection it came from. The sense of physical ownership – and being able to touch the thing itself – is overwhelming compared to everything else I’ve looked at from this period. It’s fascinating and exciting and I’m looking forward to sharing this finding as well as getting feedback on my methodological approach and conclusions. (Surely weak at best, given that this is news to me and I haven’t had a lot of time to develop my thinking over the past year, buried in a mountain of magazines in the library basement.)

By the way, this probably can’t fit into the paper, but the social ripples of Saikaku popularity vibrate constantly through the Meiji literature and general literary discourse that I read throughout my research. Saikaku love versus hate, going so far as to adopt a pseudonym that translates to “I love Saikaku” while attempting to imitate his style in one’s own writing, republishing his works in random magazines, the changing ideas about whether or not his works qualify as modern works of fiction (小説, now translated as “novel” but then quite contested), and reactions to him – they not only feed into and inform and make clear literary cliques and their interactions, but also literary trends and experimentation in an era where nearly anything goes.

A forgotten author as a window into an historical moment: nothing could make me happier about choosing the path that I have.

series proposals

In lieu of actual content (which I promise I am actually working on in draft form), I have a few proposals and I’d be interested to hear some feedback on them.

As a beginning professional blogger (and by that I mean “blog about my profession,” not “it’s my job”), I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach it. How do I attract and retain readers? How much substance is enough, is expected, or is too much? Do I act as a link referral service, commentary, or something closer to my academic work?

I could do all three, but what I am coming to think is that I need serious consistency. I am thinking of it in the following ways:

  • posting frequency
  • posting content consistency
  • focus on my academic and professional work, big picture style
  • currency/timeliness

But I think a fine and perhaps necessary addition to this kind of stream of consciousness style posting is a series. A series or two?

My ideas boil down to these three:

  • weekly On the Media review and commentary
  • monthly Moratoria highlighting terms and methodology within my fields that “I find problematic” (that’s academic slang for “they piss me off and I can’t believe people actually use them in this day and age”)
  • perhaps most important, Read the Fine Print (the original title of this blog, stricken for being too forgettable), highlighting the complexities of ownership, intellectual property, contracts, power relationships in publishing, publishing customs, assumptions and their reality, and issues in authorship.
  • I spoke too soon – on par in importance, Librarian Alert, covering topics that are less well-represented in the library blogosphere and academic literature – some examples are net neutrality, thinking of plagiarism from the standpoint of student authorship rather than source evaluation, and critical information literacy theory and practice in instruction.

What do you think? Is there anything else related to book history, librarianship, journalism, communication, information science, Japanese literature, literature in general, or my fascinating (read: not) life that you’re interested in hearing about regularly? Topics I haven’t covered or seem to be unintentionally avoiding?

Thoughts?

good news!

I have been selected as a member of the Writing Assistance Team for the journal of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice!

This isn’t a big job, and it’s volunteer: basically, if a non-native English speaker submits a paper that is accepted but needs major revision for natural English, I will communicate/collaborate with the author to work through the rewrite of the unnatural parts. I’ll get recognized by name in the journal for doing this. Of course, few papers that come through will need this, but still – I am excited! This is something I’ve got the skill set for and I am looking forward to using it.

What’s also great about this journal is that it’s open access, something that I’m very committed to – open education, and open access to scholarship. I’m really happy to be contributing to a journal that makes its content available online and uses a Creative Commons license on the articles. Check out their web site for more information.

moratoria: “western” edition

Some of you who know me well (academically) will probably not be surprised by this post, but here I go anyway. I just need to vent a little.

I am typing up handwritten notes right now, getting organized. I am typing some words over and over (used by the authors of the things I took notes on, not me): “western,” “european” and their “influence”.

Okay, I am officially calling you out on this, scholars. This, as far as I am concerned, is about as INTELLECTUALLY LAZY as you can get.
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