My name is Melissa Larabee. I’m a graduate student at the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois, midway through the immensely clever process of parlaying an internet addiction into a full-blown PhD.
My scholarship focuses on the construction and maintenance of ideological publics the comment sections of blogs, as well as the effect of having such discourse in for-profit spaces. My sites of inquiry include the Gawker-owned we’re-feminist-oh-j/k-not-really-lol women’s blog Jezebel and that’s-so-bro-let’s-pop-a-Natty-lite men’s lifestyle website Brobible. Some days what I do seems awesome. Other days I want to punch myself in the face and then secede from humanity.
In our program, before you can write the dissertation you have to show that you are an expert in your slice of the field, and you do this by compiling a list of 100–150 readings and then undergoing a two-hour oral examination on them. Because like many other people I write much more eloquently than I speak, this also makes me want to punch myself in the face and then secede from humanity.
The solution, as I see it, is this blog. Now, obviously I won’t blog and haven’t blogged everything, and obviously this will be heavy on the summary since it’s meant to be a memory aid, but as a tangible record of my progress, a way of tagging and cross-referencing readings, and an enforced articulation of both what is in and what I am getting out of each article? A blog ain’t half bad.