Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's official...

I have completed all of my coursework for the women’s studies program. In true procrastinator fashion, I saved the most difficult course for last – Contemporary Feminist Theory. There were only 12 students in the course, ten of which were PhD students. So, myself and another student, Paulina, were the only MA’s. Paulina is an international student from Poland, who would constantly lean closer to me in class and whisper something about how the thesis she wrote for her second master’s degree in philosophy would have been completely different if she had known then what she knows now about Judith Butler’s theory of performativity. Yep, that’s right she was working on her third master’s degree. Oh god! During our introductions on the first day of class Rachel, a midwife and a second year PhD student, let us know that she had spent last summer delivering babies at a refugee camp in Uganda. And, Sarah, a first year PhD student from Berkley, immediately pointed out that she had already read the first assigned text Parable of the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation and she couldn’t believe how fascinating it was because it addressed many of the ongoing questions she had posed during her twenties about feminist space and transformation during her obsession with pop physics. Pop physics?!?! Really? Hmm. Needless to say, this class quickly became a major source of anxiety for me. Early on in the semester, I could see that the classroom was steadily transforming into a feminist version of Gold’s Gym. Although, instead of the sweaty meatheads in spandex with toothpaste smiles, the round table in the center of the room was lined with tiny feminists wearing skinny jeans, patent leather flats, vintage blouses, and really expensive eyewear. And, rather than bulking up their muscles they were working diligently on inflating their already sizable egos. It wasn’t long before the daydreams started. I would be sitting there in class listening to the talking heads, and all of a sudden their egos would start seeping out of the holes in their faces – noses, ears, and mouths – and would start to form clouds above their heads. Within minutes, all of the egos would be talking loudly at once and flailing their arms about, all the while sucking every last drop of oxygen from the room, and I would be left sitting in my purple plastic chair gasping for air through one of those tiny red straws that normal, non-masochistic people used in the mornings to stir a steady stream of sugar and cinnamon into their fancy lattes. Sounds a bit dramatic? It was. I had to remind myself on a daily basis that if I survived the semester, I would soon be lying on the beach on Anna Maria Island where there would be plenty of oxygen for everyone and I could take comfort in my parent’s presence and the simplicity of casual conversation.

My parents and I had a great time in Florida. Unfortunately, Mikey had to stay home to finish up his finals and babysit the cat. Mom, Dad, and I went to Megan's wedding, went on a boat tour, spent lots of time on the beach and in the pool, went to some museums, did a little shopping, and took lots of naps. It was the perfect vacation and it was so nice to spend time with my parents again.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Trip to AMI
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Since both Mikey and I have the summer off from school, we have been going on a lot of day trips. Below are some pics of our trip to Brooklyn. Our first stop was the Brooklyn Museum where I was finally able to see The Dinner Party, an exhibit by Judy Chicago that has been housed there since 1979. If you aren’t familiar with it, The Dinner Party, is an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, and is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. The exhibit was incredible. It was even more beautiful and grand than I had imagined. I made several trips around the table to read each of the names on the place settings. Every time I pictured all of those women from different points in history actually sitting down together for a dinner party I just smiled and made another lap around the table. Eventually, I took mercy on Mikey and reluctantly exited the exhibit. I’m thinking I may have to sneak back to the museum to see it another time or two before the winter hits.

Brooklyn Museum

The Dinner Party

Virginia Wolf

Georgia O' Keeffe

Sojourner Truth

The next stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. Mikey and I walked over the bridge from the Brooklyn side to Manhattan and then back again. There were amazing views from both sides of the bridge - from one side we could see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and from the other, the Manhattan skyline.

If you are interested, here are the rest of the pics from our trip...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Trip to Brooklyn
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Next week we have a trip planned to NYC to spend the day in Central Park. I love Summer! We plan to get in as many day trips as possible before Mikey starts clinicals again. I will post pics along the way...