Ethnic-? Gender-? American-? Studies? (Literature? Art?)

It is evening again, and evening time means writing time.  🙂

I did succeed in doing some reading, last night.  I actually found someone working in what (sounds like) my dream job:  working at a Special Library serving an Art Museum.  This would have me reading and doing research about Art, which is one of my major interests; whereas work in a Public Library would have me being a generalist, and work in an Academic Library will probably have me teaching LIS.

The main drawback to being an Art Librarian is that a Bachelor’s in Art History is foundational, and I have English as my foundation, not Art.  (I didn’t think I’d be able to make any money at Art, so I opted for English, instead.)

This, though, got me thinking.  If we apply similar paradigms to language studies — like, say, English — as we do to Art, what would that be?  “English History”?  😛  Okay, that just sounds…off; especially given my cultural location as a non-White American.  But I have been thinking about the possibility, if I were going to take two Master’s programs:  one in LIS, and one in Art History, to potentially become an Art Librarian and teach Art History while helping other specialists with their research; what then would be holding me back from just going straight for a Master’s in Art History to teach at the University level?

It’s a different job, though, and probably a tougher one to land.  I’ve heard that competition is intense for a limited number of jobs.

This thing, though, about English…I have an English/Writing degree.  If I pursued an Academic Library position, I would probably then be qualified to teach English at a University level.  This, depending on the freedom I would get to determine my curriculum, could actually be fairly, well, interesting.  At the very least, it would give me an excuse to read fiction again — without, necessarily, being pushed into writing fiction myself.

(Why the distinction?  I was telling D on the way home today that everything I don’t want people to know about me, comes out in my Creative Writing.)

There, though:  if I would like to teach English (and I have a rather interesting idea in mind of having students research the life, times, and writings about authors and their works which we read in class), it might be more efficient just to go for a higher English degree.  The drawback is that, I have heard, the English curricula are mostly designed to produce more English Ph.D.s, therefore reproducing the next generation of English professors; not to actually practically help people communicate.

There is an interesting book I bought a number of years ago, when University was fresher in my mind.  It is called Articulations of Difference:  Gender Studies and Writing in French, Fisher, Dominique D. and Schehr, Lawrence R., ed.  From a peek in the back of the book and a quick lookup on Amazon, this book is basically an anthology of essays falling into the category of Literary Criticism of French (fiction?) writing.  Not only that, but the works referenced within the essays themselves, include gender differences at least; if the works are not themselves focused on gender differences.  (Almost of necessity for the time period — my reprint was published in 1997 — this includes works which reference or are focused around homosexuality…or possibly named more appropriately, they focus on gender and sexual minorities.  The GSM label wasn’t in widespread use at the time, apparently — but it’s not like it is now, though, either.)

I’m thinking that this was my first foray into literary criticism.  I bought it because I had been wanting to get back into reading fiction, but didn’t know where to start.  I knew I was interested in Gender Studies, but didn’t know where to begin, so I picked up a book which would introduce me to a good number of different titles.  Of course, most of these titles were written in French, originally, and may not have been translated to English.  🙂  But it is an interesting peek in on a different culture’s members’ relationships to gender and sexual differences.  And, it will give one some motivation to read the works referenced (especially if you can read French!).

This presents a key problem, though:  although this book is written in English and published by Stanford, it would more specifically likely fall under French Language and Literature as a discipline, not English.


And that, then, kind of highlights that…maybe what I’m getting excited about would more clearly be found if I researched and taught Ethnic Studies, or American Studies; not English?  I do think that part of the reason I really liked this book is because the experience of reading it felt like a breath of fresh air in a society which often seemed insular, to the point of ceasing to make sense.  (I hear from non-U.S. sources that this is a widespread problem in the U.S., though, now that I think of it.)

Hmm.  That is kind of interesting, that “English” as a discipline doesn’t cover “anything written in the English language.”  That’s what I thought I was getting into as an undergrad, but that’s not what I got…and I was disappointed.  The “English” portion of my degree covered the Classics…and not much else.

But then!  If I worked in a Library, books like Articulations of Difference would fall under my purview, and I would stand to gain in my ability as staff, by reading them.

Huh.  Stuff to think on.  If I am to be a generalist, maybe it actually would be better to work in a Library.

Maybe I could deal with Literature, Art, and History, and how they interact, in a Library position.  I’m sure it would give me enough material to publish, if I did become an Academic Librarian.  I’m just not sure what I would be expected to teach, as an Academic Librarian — from what one of my co-workers said today, it seems like I would be teaching people about information literacy and how to use the Library…which is not the most exciting thing, but maybe I could throw some fun courses in there, too?

Ah, I dunno.


Published by


Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s