Letting the trunk slip
By AcademicElephant Posted in Life Issues — Comments (12) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Tonight might seem a curious choice for dropping my pseudonym. After all, there's a lot of other news flying around of much greater import. But my name is going up with my picture on CNN tonight, and win, lose or draw, I think it's time for me to stand up and be counted.
I chose to blog anonymously primarily because I did not want my students to stumble across my political writing and think that they could adjust their politics to improve their performance in class. After I started blogging a year and a half ago, I paid much greater attention to how I treated political issues in class, and I have found that there really is no place for politics in my classroom. I'm fortunate in that I teach a subject that does not need to be political; I know Ward Churchill claimed it was impossible to teach responsibly without revealing one's politics, but that has not been my experience. Another consideration was that I'm not tenured, but I've concluded I don't want to work for an institution that would not hire me because of my politics. My scholarship can stand for itself, and if conservative blogging as a hobby puts me out of the running for a job, then that department would not be a good fit for me.
So I think tonight is the night to let the trunk slip. It's easy enough to wagon onto a movement when things are going swimmingly. Everyone loves a winner. Of course, we still don't know how things are going to turn out--some indicators look tough, but one thing we learned from 2000 and 2004 was to wait and see. Other trends may be more positive. But what I want to say tonight is that win, lose or rain delay, I'm proud to be part of this movement and part of this site. This is politics. As a party, we have our ups and downs. If this turns out to be a down cycle, so be it. We'll work together and get it right next time. If it turns out to be a better night than expected, we can celebrate together.
With no further ado, for anyone who is interested, my name is Victoria Gardner Coates and I work on Italian Renaissance art history. This may not seem in any way related to contemporary politics, but the topics I pursue generally involve issues of reception and self-fashioning--in other words, how an object's meaning can change through time as it's interpreted and adopted by successive generations of viewers. And how objects can be manipulated to enhance an individual's reputation during their life and after their death. I have found both these lines of historical inquiry shape my understanding of current events, and hopefully this perspective lends something original to my blogging.
There you have it. Enough about me. Back to the results. Once more into the breach…