The U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds interview feature offers a short and informal introduction to a postgraduate, academic or non-academic specialist working in the American and Canadian Studies field or a related American and Canadian Studies association.
Our first interviews will be with the U.S. Studies Online Editorial team so you can get to know a little more about us.
Where are you right now?
In my dining/living/study room at home.
If you could time-travel to observe one moment in the history of America, where would you go?
December 5th 1933 – the day they ended Prohibition!
Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
There’s so many that it would need to be more of a banquet. I’d have someone like Heston Blumenthal to create a spectacular feast. Then I’d have David Attenborough and J.K. Rowling (I’m a massive Harry Potter geek so ideally my banquet would be in the Great Hall). I think I’d also Morgan Freeman to be there, and Snoop Dogg, the list could go on, and on, and on….
Oh no! You’re stranded on a desert island. Which book do you save from the waves?
It would have to be a family favourite, Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. There’s just something about Badger, Toad, Mole and Ratty that makes me smile.
What has been your most memorable career moment so far?
I’m only in the first year of PhDing but I’d say having my own seminar group since January, although that’s not really a ‘moment!’ At first I was really quite terrified as I only completed my degree last year so felt like a complete imposter but I’ve got past the nervousness, learnt loads and thoroughly enjoyed it.
What advice would you give to early career academics?
As I’m nowhere near that stage yet, I’ll give some advice to people starting their postgrad studies! Find out about and go to as many events as you are able to. There’s often loads of workshops, internal seminars, talks by invited speakers etc. that are free to attend at your Uni. You get to know people and I often find them, if not useful, at least interesting!
Also, something more practical. Save work/PDF’s that you collect properly. You end up with so many documents that it helps to save them all with proper titles/references so that you don’t spend ages looking through them all to find the one you want!
What are you looking forward to most in the next six months?
Planning my research trip to East Los Angeles and New York for next year and (fingers crossed) surviving the first year review!
How did you come to your current area of research?
I’d say that I’ve always been interested in gang and prison culture but my current supervisor Dr. Josephine Metcalf really fostered my academic interest during my final year at Uni in the module ‘Doing Time; American Prison Culture in the 20th and 21st Centuries.’ From here, I began to look more specifically at filmic representations and girl gang culture.
What profession other than academia would you like to attempt?
I’ve always loved painting and drawing and art is something that I try and return to when I can. However, I’m not too sure that my work/doodles would be good enough to be a professional artist!
What book is currently on your bedside table?
Not so much a bedside table but currently I have a carpet covered in books. Here’s a small selection….
Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (2003) – E. Patrick Johnson
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1977) – Michel Foucault
Homegirls: Characterizing Chicana Gangs (1983) – John Quicker
Black City Cinema: African American Urban Experiences in Film (2003) – Paula Massood
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (2006) – Ariel Levy
Be honest; how long has it been there?
Foucault has been there (and will continue to be there) for quite a while now. I’ve read, and re-read. The others, between a week and a couple of months.
What’s in your fridge right now?
Left over Chinese food! Amongst other necessities like homemade chocolate cake (I love baking), milk, cheese, chicken, veg, yoghurts and fruit juices.