The biggest draw to the Brackenridge fellowship, I believe, is the exposure to a diverse group of engaged researchers across every discipline. My research is fairly niche and specific to my individual academic and personal interests; because of this I have very limited experience with research in other fields and focuses. As someone who is seeking to pursue research as a part of a longer career in academia, I believe it to be essential that I expose myself to all kinds of research in various mediums with varied subjects.
My research is centralized on crafting a queer histography of homonationalist propaganda to explore the ways the LGBTQ+ community — and historically by extension, many in the theatre community — have been exploited for colonization and expansion. One of my favorite theorists, Michelle Dvoskin, explains, the queer plays I am studying— and later queer theatre works— not only “‘do’ history, but they also offer an excellent genre for theorizing ‘queer historiography’.” Central to this histography, I believe, is a diverse selection of materials like concrete data, reviews, visual works, and more. The more exposure I can get from the more researchers, the more effectively I can compile all of these resources into a cohesive piece of research. I think getting to work weekly with researchers from so many different fields will expose me to so many new scholars and resources to contribute to this project; it is the same reason all of the humanities departments are consolidated in the Cathedral of Learning. I hope this proximity, too, will breathe a new life into all of our projects.
I am especially excited that so many in my cohort have completely contrasting projects. My cohort is studying cancer, theatre, and Middle-English literature. We are creating our own data in labs, communicating with living subjects, investigating subjects from centuries ago, or delving into books. In particular, Kalan’s project sparked a particular interest, as I am also working with a lot of work from the same time period. I am looking forward to distinguishing ways that we can approach similar materials with almost entirely different angles. I’m particularly excited to work with other researchers who are focusing on secondary sources, as my only other experience in a cohort was mostly working alongside STEM-based researchers whose projects completely contrasted mine. It is exciting to be simultaneously exposed to these new environments, while also finding a community of students who are focused on similar interests.
At the end of the summer, I hope to have a thesis written to be used as a writing sample for several doctoral program applications due this fall. Especially considering that so much of this research is done independently, I think having a cohort of students who are also creating their own timelines and motivation will be an especially helpful force in keeping me on track to meet this important goal.