“Goldfinching” and the authority of readers

Gender & Authority

“Dismissing popular things that women like doesn’t require some special kind of bravery. It happens all day, every day – especially in literary criticism”

Jennifer Weiner’s recent piece in the Guardian has been gaining significant traction on Twitter, Facebook, et al, speaking, it seems, to  a common experience of readership, one which in turn resonates deeply with the questions of gender, authority, cultural production and consumption that we’re interested in discussing at “Women and the Canon”. Focussing in particular on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Hana Yangihara’s A Little Life, Weiner coins the term “Goldfinching” to account for a critical turning on previously accoladed, now popularly successful (usually woman-authored) books. She looks at gender-coded language and critique in “against-the-flow” negative reviews of these popular, prize-winning books as part of a phenomenon of at-heart misogynist cultural practice that aims to devalue texts which “risk” over-feminsing the cultural high-ground reserved for “proper…

View original post 263 more words

Poets, not Athletes

I’m sharing this poem by Warsan Shire and the accompanying text by my secondary school English teacher (who is, of course, many more things than that, but from whom I still learn.

Our Man on the Horn


‘Someone asked me, what would have been the make-up of your ideal platoon – athletes? No, I said: poets.’

  Sydney Jary, WW2 Platoon Commander

At times like these I would suggest we might do better to listen to the poets, rather than the politicians, the soldiers, the commentators et al. With that in mind, my favourite living poet, Warsan Shire, in the aftermath of the London riots:

what they did yesterday afternoon, by warsan shire

they set my aunts house on fire

i cried the way women on tv do

folding at the middle

like a five pound note.

i called the boy who use to love me

tried to ‘okay’ my voice

i said hello

he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,

and these are what my prayers look like;

dear god

i come from two countries

one is thirsty

the other is on fire

View original post 42 more words

Academic Assholes and the Circle of Niceness | SAS Confidential

I must admit, I’ve encountered a few AAs (and to my shame often unconsciously buy into their bs, or want to impress them somehow), but I’ve also been blessed with a wonderfully supportive circle of niceness, in my college, in my department, and in my discipline more broadly, for which I am very thankful.


“If performing like an asshole in a public forum creates the perverse impression that you are more clever… there is a clear incentive to behave this way.”

Source: Academic Assholes and the Circle of Niceness | SAS Confidential

Gender, Canonicity, and Religion – a talk in Oxford 5/11/15

An interesting looking talk!

Gender & Authority

Jorunn Okland, Professor at the Center for Gender Studies, Oslo, will be speaking on Religion, Gender and Canonicity for the Interdisciplinary Seminars in the Study of Religion from 4.00-6.00pm at the Faculty of Theology and Religion, Gibson Building on Thursday 5 November.

This promises to be a very interesting event for anyone interested in our conference themes!


View original post