Precarious Bodies, Close Reading, and Late Night Hangouts in Wicker Park

Precarious Bodies, Close Reading, and Late Night Hangouts in Wicker Park

“The most remarkable example of such a process is found in the anal eroticism of young human beings. Their original interest in the excretory function, its organs and products, is changed in the course of their growth…” “ What is Freud saying here?” My professor asks. My class is silent. No one knows how to engage in an academic discussion about “anal eroticism” and “the excretory function.” Someone eventually raises his hand and attempts to tether Freud’s passage to the individual, civilization, the super ego, and guilt. “Well,” my professor claims, “I think Freud is talking about poop.” The class laughs. Over the summer, I approached canonical texts, like Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, through close reading. In other words, I analyzed texts on a sentence and word level, asking myself, what is the writer saying here? What are these words doing? While I learned how to close read many years ago, revisiting this method of reading reminded me how to be a careful researcher. I did not close read alone, however, I grappled with these theories in a room full of scholars of color. Through dissecting many important texts amongst a lively group of people of color, I learned a lot about research and feel extremely inspired. From June 13 through August 13, I participated in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MMUF) Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) at the University of Chicago with funding from MMUF and HCAH. The MMUF is a program that aims to diversify institutions of higher learning through encouraging undergraduate students of color to pursue PhDs. Forty other Mellon Fellows from around the...
Maps and Scooter the Dog: Beginnings at Fringe

Maps and Scooter the Dog: Beginnings at Fringe

Whenever I do not have a specific project at FringeArts, I draw maps. Each map is of a different neighborhood in Philadelphia and so far, I have drawn five, Old City, Kensington, South Philly, North Philly, and West Philly. These hand drawn doodles are going to be in the Festival Guide and are meant to help patrons navigate their ways around Fringe Festival. While these maps are hopefully going to be useful to festival goers in the near future, drawing them has been especially useful for me. My experience mapping each neighborhood has led to a deeper and more personal understanding of the contours and crevasses of Philadelphia. This summer, I am the Guide Intern at FringeArts. FringeArts is an organization that ties together Philadelphia and the global world through contemporary performing arts. Every September, the organization presents Fringe Festival, an eightteen day celebration of art and performance (whoa!). During the festival, local, national, and international artists present dance performances, theater pieces, and visual art in a multitude of venues throughout the city (everyone, let’s go!). My main task for the summer is working on the festival guide, a booklet that lists basic festival information, like show times and locations, and extra pieces of writing, like blurbs about the artists and their performances. Other than venturing to new places in Philly through my mechanical pencil and my computer paper maps, I have written blurbs, visited a wacky rehearsal for a contemporary remake of A Doll’s House for the upcoming Fringe Festival, and cuddled with Scooter, the coziest dog in the entire planet. I have also interviewed Haverford Alumna, Antonia Brown about her upcoming solo...