Monday, May 12, 2014

Research Projects

Ever since I got this job (a job that I am absolutely enjoying but being a first year professor with a full teaching load means a lot of class prep, all the time) I haven't had much time to work on my own research. Of course all professors say this, all the time. In fact, even the professors who only teach a couple of classes per semester and have taught the same darn classes several times over the years say this-- we all hope that means they're constantly updating and improving their classes (or it means their energy levels are slipping, or they've been side-tracked by concerns outside academia, or...).

At the moment I'm writing a blog to inspire myself to a more organized approach to my current research projects.

1). Conference Presentation Due in 32 Days (and an edited chapter version due to the reviewers shortly after that):
"Authenticity and Sexuality: The Foreign Dancing Body in Korean Popular Music Videos"
I'm excited about this one, but I'm having a hard time finding any mental energy to work on the background theoretical research for the paper. I want to bring in ideas about 'economics of attention' and racialization. I've ordered a bunch of fun looking books for the library on dance that should include some interesting ideas to incorporate and just need to find time to skim them to find those ideas! Just in case you're super interested, this paper brings attention to bear on K-pop videos released in the last 12 months, theorizing their use of obviously foreign bodies in three primary ways. Here are examples of the three types:

Taeyang's Ringa-Linga (Dance version)
TVXQ's Something
Gary's Shower Later
And here are a few of the visuals I'm using in the paper and presentation (I may change what all I use, but...)

2). Conference Presentation that may or may not be accepted for the fall:
"Yellow Ribbons: Performing Grief in the Wake of the Sewol Tragedy"
This paper doesn't just talk about grief (and anger) but specifically about how people's performance of grief was regulated by social pressures (and even by directives from their employers). It has, as you could predict a special focus on things that deal with actual performance, and the lens for the entire paper is a performance of Jindo Ssitgimgut (a ritual for the dead from the region where the ferry tragedy occurred) performed by performers who are not shamans, but refocused on the Sewol victims and decorated with yellow ribbons.

Here are a few random photos that I've started to collect to use in the paper.

3). I have an abstract submitted to be part of a conference panel this fall that I really expect to be accepted that I currently am considering folding into the paper above. The original paper, "Memory, Heritage, and Authenticity in Staged Shamanic Ritual: The Case of "O-Gu-Gut for Mr. Heo Chang-yeol" was going to be about non-shamans conducting shamanic ceremony as performance (and the larger topic of evolution of Korean traditional performance). I'm still really excited about the larger topic, but may take the specific performance named in the title out of the focal role for the paper.

4). The paper I presented at AAS needs to be revised. I was going to present this again in August, but instead I'm going to chair that panel and not present my paper. However, the AAS and the August panel at Kyujanggak are planning to collectively submit our work for journal publication as a themed issue-- I need to get my article finished as soon as possible to make sure this can happen! We even have a journal that's interested and should hear within a month if we're getting the go ahead from the editorial board.

I am sure I'll change the name, but this project is called:
"Framing Memory in Korea: State Ideologies in the Modern Museum" 
and just for consistency I was going to add some photos, but apparently they aren't roaming this computer.

5. Revising the English for consistency in a book for the National Gugak Center on Yeonhi- Korean Folk Theatre (this is ready for me, but I'm not ready till mid-June for it).

Those are the immediate projects. In addition to those I have several in-progress projects, all of which are losing steam under the class prep and mountain of grading to be done. I've also been asked to be part of some other projects, all of them sound so exciting and fascinating! I've got to stay busy, but it's pretty grand to spend all day, every day, doing what I want to do.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Life, and Death, Goes On

Since I last blogged I've lost three more people (and I haven't even taken that much of a break from blogging).

My uncle Lee succumbed to his increasingly age-weakened body (a heart operation had left him too weak for more operations), and he fell sick again.

My next-door-neighbor Steve was felled by complications of lung cancer (and no he wasn't a smoker except for smoking salmon very expertly). Steve was my neighbor as long as I could remember. Growing up my first best friend was his daughter Gretchen (regrettably only around during summer vacation).

And I really valued both Lee and Steve, but I didn't cry. I teared up a little thinking of how my aunt and how Steve's wife and children were feeling, but I didn't cry.

Then Karjam's niece, Ahyangtso died. I wrote about her, here. Not that long ago, either. I loved her. She was the one who ate the food that I couldn't manage to refuse, but wasn't going to eat. She was the one who watched out for me and my needs even when Karjam was too distracted to notice. She was the one I was willing to have come and live with us. She was amazing.

She died in a freak accident, and hopefully it was almost instantaneous.

When I realized Karjam wasn't joking, that this had really happened to the girl he called his favorite niece, and to the girl who definitely was my favorite Tibetan niece (I like Drashijhet a lot, too, just for the record), I turned off the stove (I'd started cooking dinner), marched into my closet, closed the door and bawled until a little part of my brain started worrying about my throat and the fact that I had to teach eight hours the next day using that same throat.

Ahyangtso never got to do the things she wanted to do with her life. She was 19. So incredibly unfair.

A photo of Ahyangtso features on this blog entry that I wrote a few months ago.