The U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds interview feature offers a short and informal introduction to a postgraduate, academic or non-academic specialist working in the American and Canadian Studies field or a related American and Canadian Studies association.
This month we’re taking time out of our usual publishing schedule to invite you to spend 60 seconds with the new members of the U.S. Studies Online editorial team and BAAS Executive Committee. Our first interviews will be with the new Co-Editors and Assistant Editors of USSO.
I’m at home, cup of tea by my side, surrounded by all of my work which is currently sprawled out on the dining room table.
If you could time-travel to observe one moment in the history of America, where would you go?
I’d saddle-up in 1873 and join Isabella Bird in the Rocky Mountains. She probably wouldn’t like me being there, and, to be frank, neither would I (I’m afraid of heights) but I would try to overcome my fear to see the beauty of Estes Park in her company.
Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Robert McNamara, Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Princess Diana, Benjamin Franklin, and John Muir.
You’re stranded on a desert island, but luckily you pre-empted it. Which book do you take with you?
Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Even if I’m stranded without music at least I can read a soundtrack.
What has been your most memorable career moment so far?
Definitely co-writing and delivering a module. It was the first time that I felt truly confident in my lecturing and lecture-writing abilities. It was also a fantastic experience – I felt incredibly privileged to have been given such hefty, but valuable reigns.
What advice would you give to early career academics?
Immerse yourself in the wider Postgraduate/ECR community. A large part of which is not being afraid to approach people you’ve never met before. Being part of a community is incredibly important to both research and personal ‘wellness’. Research – at any stage – can be isolating, but knowing that you’re surrounded and supported by like-minded individuals makes the whole process more enjoyable.
What is the most exciting thing you have planned in the next six months?
Why, being Co-Editor of U.S. Studies Online of course! I can’t get across just how excited and privileged I feel to be in this role. We’ve got some fantastic features, research and series lined up, and ultimately aim to continue the wonderful work of Ben and Michelle, whilst building on the solid foundations they laid.
How did you come to your current area of research?
That old chestnut – my undergraduate dissertation. Its focus was questioning whether ‘Emo’ was the last subculture, prompting further interest into popular music, notions of cultural contact and exchange, and now concepts of the exhibition space and curatorial practice.
What profession other than academia would you like to attempt?
If we’re talking about fantasy professions, I’d go for Formula One test driver. But, as we know that can’t happen (I’m too old for a start), I’d like to give writing for children a more thorough try. I’ve self-published three children’s picture books so far, and if I had the time I’d sit down and write/illustrate a few more.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
Latecomers by Anita Brookner. It was recommended to me by my husband’s Grandma, or my Grandma-in-law as I like to call her! I don’t do a lot of non-research reading, mostly – like everyone(!) – because I don’t have the time. In fact, I think this might be why I was passed the book. I need encouraging every now and then!
Be honest; how long has it been there?
So far, one month. I’m on page 8…