Greetings! Iím a doctoral student in northern Ohio, studying in the field of rhetoric and composition. Is anyone out there a student, scholar, or teacher? Iím starting to research the presence (absence, really) about discussion of polyamory and other nonnormative sexualities within the field of rhetoric and composition. Is anyone out there from my field? If so, I would love to pick your brainÖI need some sources. I am wondering if thereís been others out there to tackle introducing this identity into our field. Iím feeling rather alone and freaked out, as I start this research. Letís talk/chat?! Write me please.
Also, if you out there are an academic, can we talk: are you out at your institution? How did that occur? Are you closeted? Why?
I am still, technically, in the closet. But I'm thinking about using my dissertation as a way to subtly come out. But...to be frank....I'm scared.
There have been several academics post here at this forum, mostly looking for research participants. Have a look through the threads, I'm sure you'll turn them up.
I'm going back to grad school and thought about doing a Masters thesis on compersion... Decided to pursue another program, but I hope you go for it!!! (Ohio rocks...)
Oh me oh my oh...
...I love Ohio.
I be academic. Teacher to boot.
My initial reaction to your questions is this: Look outside the windows of the field of rhetoric and composition. For instance, go watch the epic film "Gandhi". If ever there was a living human who persuaded many to love one another freely, kindly, and openly, it was him. His letter to Hitler is of particular interest. Or, easier yet, go read the label on a bottle of Dr. Bronner's All-in-One soap. Perhaps the difficulty you feel in talking about "polyamory" is that you are approaching the topic, as we do often in this forum, as something unique and uncommon. When we talk about our lifestyle choice to friends and family, the esoteric descriptors we use (NRE, polyamorous, "V", quad, etc.) don't exist in the vocabulary of people who are not at least partially entrenched in the discussion. We end up having to define the terms we use just to get on with the discussion. What we feel as "polyamorous" people is not some new age, avant-garde expression of love. It just sounds that way when we use the jargon while talking to those who uphold cultural paradigms about relating intimately to others.
Thought: Isn't it curious that so many "monogamous" people are surprised and even appalled by the lack of deception and secrets in "polyamorous" relationships? (at least in poly-theory)
Assuming that you are not familiar with formal sculpture and its discussion, allow me this example:
I will critique for you a particular monolithic pedestal sculpture, currently within my line of sight. As a monotone work, the artist's treatment of the matrix is Modern, and the manipulation of the material allows light to fall across planes that move the viewer's eye around the work. While abstractly figurative, there are raw surfaces that references the material's natural state, a technique not uncommon to the Modernist movement. The juxtaposition of finely worked facets to the pure texture and patina of the material reinforces the artist's proficiency in manipulating the material.
Right. Okay, now, same discussion, different language:
I want to talk about this marble sculpture sitting on my end table. It is made of pure white marble from Italy, and it has been carved in such a way that the different sides cast shadows on itself, making me curious to see all the way around it. It kind of looks like the profile of a person, but some areas of the marble haven't been polished and have been left as the rock was found in the stone quarry. Sculptors working in the 1950's did this a lot, as a way to show the beauty of the raw stone. Next to the uncarved surfaces, the sculptor's skill in carving the stone is more apparent.
Maybe not the best analogy, but the point is this: If you talk about something only in language that is familiar to your experience, you risk alienating the very audience you are trying to interest in your subject. Identify the universal aspects of polyamory, and then get specific to sexuality, intimacy, so on and so forth. Maybe. What the hell do I know?
As far as being "out" professionally, well...personally, I adhere to the advice of the late great Mississippi John Hurt: "It ain't nobody's dirty business how my baby treats me, nobody's business but my own."
Not keeping secrets, just keepin' classy.
I am an academic, an anthropologist to be exact and if there is one thing i do not believe in it are abstractions and definitions. They are made to give words an individual meaning but this differs upon cultures. That is why different cultures have different discourses. Like that there is no universal right nor wrong I believe as the circumstances around affect the choices made or the interpretations of the words.
I have always 'explained' people in terms like hippy, one love whatever and many have thought I was just easygoing (to their own disapointment). It is just yet (this is my second post) that i discovered someone made a definition for the fact i can love another person as much as the other and that expressing that love is best done in an intimate way.
Definitions are for those to try to grasp what the do not understand. We so badly want to put things in boxes, unraffle their mysteries but why would we want to do that? Why can't we leave things open for a change? As every individual sees the world to his or her eyes only. We all create our own reality anyway. Does it matter even if it is far from what someone else percieves real?
Bravo Charlie I reall love your post!
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