Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Five: Panic! at the Computer

Five things that I need to get done in the next 72-ish hours:

1. Write a conference paper. A 15-minute paper, titled "Like a Volunteer: Shaping Subjectivities in the Voluntourism Encounter."

The abstract, in case you are interested:

International volunteers are often on the front lines of implementing development programs as humanitarian action increasingly becomes the purview of individuals in the private sector. Voluntourism—the practice of traveling outside of one’s community for less than three months to perform unpaid work, as an alternative to or in conjunction with traditional leisure tourism— is a boom industry that brings millions of these volunteers to developing nations. By taking the individualism of volunteering to an extreme—anyone can purchase the experience of “solving” poverty—voluntourism raises questions about the role of volunteers in developing communities: Who is a “volunteer” and who makes that determination? What social, economic, and political effects do volunteers have on communities? Who is accountable for those effects? How local community members and volunteers resolve these questions has implications for development practice at all levels. In this paper, I will draw on fieldwork conducted in Malawi to explore the multiple, conflicting ideas about place, morality, globalization, and development that local community members and Western volunteers bring to resolving these questions. I will challenge the dominant Western discourse of volunteering, which views volunteering is a “pure” humanitarian endeavor, removed from the political, economic, and social movements that have shaped contemporary development. By contrast, I will situate Malawian and Western views of international volunteering within those movements to examine the various subjectivities that participants bring to encounters between local community members and Western volunteers.

A 15-minute paper really isn't very long---only about 7 or 8 pages of text. But I'm writing it from scratch, based on field notes that I haven't looked at in 2 years, with a theoretical basis in which I'm not well-grounded.

Oh, and my advisor is the discussant for the panel. And I was supposed to have the draft to her yesterday.

2. Write a lecture for an introductory survey course on Africa. A 75-minute lecture, titled "Madonna, Monsanto, and the New Millennium: Development in the 21st Century."

One of the "perks" of being a TA for the course is the chance to do a guest lecture during the term. And I kind of like lecturing, although I can never quite shake the fear that someone is going to stand up in the middle of the lecture to yell, "Fraud! You have no idea what you are talking about!" I have one student this term whom I can absolutely picture doing just that.

And filling 75 minutes without putting 240 students to sleep is a bit daunting.

Mind you, we scheduled my guest lecture for this coming week to avoid having it overlap with the conference paper, completing forgetting that I needed to get the conference paper done early for the discussant. Bah!

3. Apply for TA positions.

I still have no idea where I'll be in six months. I've been rejected by two grants, but I'm still waiting for decisions from three others, and I just put in another application for a summer grant. In the meantime, applications are coming due for Project Assistant and Teaching Assistant positions for next year. And because I can't rely on my own department to have a TA position for me, I'm hustling to secure outside positions.

4. Revise an article that I'm trying to get ready to submit for publication. Yet another situation in which I'm semi-paralyzed by the fear of being exposed as a fraud and a moron. And as much as I'd like to put this revision off for another week, I promised my advisor that I'd have the revision ready for her by this coming week. Plus, putting it off just backs into the next set of crazy deadlines.

5. Read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, bake a cheesecake, and keep up with Fug Madness.

So technically I don't need to do these things. But I started The Elegance of the Hedgehog as my bedtime reading this past week, and I'm completely hooked. And the latest issue of Fine Cooking has an article on how to make a cheesecake, along with about a dozen yummy variations. And Fug Madness is just that---madness!

Oh, and then there's the journal mailing that I was supposed to do this week. And the survey I need to revise so I can get the pilot phase done. And the books that I need to read before the library storms my home and takes them back by force (the books have been recalled and are now overdue on the recalls and the library is sending me threatening e-mails). And the disaster that is my home.

Gah! Off to work!


At 9:12 AM , Blogger artemisia said...

Oh, goodness.

My tummy is in absolute knots on your behalf.

Your abstract says more than my entire thesis, if that makes you feel better.

And, hoo boy, do I understand about the fear of being called out as a fraud.

You are not a fraud. You know much, much more than you realize. Me? Now, I really AM a fraud. No, really.

At 9:13 AM , Blogger artemisia said...

Oh - and a very belated but nonetheless HEARTFELT CONGRATS on your other news! (Do you want it mentioned here? If not, I hope I am vague enough!)

Not pregnancy congrats, people.


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