Rad Cam Occupation Over – Normal Service Resumes

So, after some radio silence from those involved in the occupation last night, it emerged that lots of police stormed the building yesterday afternoon and forcibly removed the protesters, searching them for precious key undergraduate history texts.

It is unclear whether the police were in the employ of the proctors or the English undergraduate finalists who have been complaining about not getting access to their stack requests. These finalists seem to have spent all their time on Facebook setting up events and groups like this one and this one, as opposed to actually, you know, doing their essays.

Back in what I call ‘real life’, I spent yesterday trawling through photographs of the Northern Irish Troubles looking in particular at how masculinity and femininity are presented. This was really interesting, if a little depressing. Below are three that I found most interesting…

Women carry the coffin at an unknown IRA funeral, 16/3/1988, Photo from Belfast Telegraph Troubles Archive

Women carry the coffin at an unknown IRA funeral, 16/3/1988, Photo from Belfast Telegraph Troubles Archive

Photo by Philip Jones Griffiths, 1973.

A woman mows the lawn while a soldier patrols in her garden. Photo by Philip Jones Griffiths, 1973.

A young boy with paramilitary tattoos looks into the camera.

A young boy with paramilitary tattoos looks into the camera. Photo by Peter Marlow

No copyright infringement intended. Photos 2 and 3 are from Artstor

Rad Cam Occupation Continues – Support Demos Outside Today

Since my blog is all of a sudden getting visitors (Hello! Are you interested in Northern Irish poetry? Why not?), I shall update on the current situation in the Radcliffe Camera occupation as I understand it.

They are still in there, basically. They are also inviting others to join them but the security are preventing people from entering. There is talk of another rally outside in support at 11am and another at 5pm with trade unionists, but I strongly imagine people will pass by all day. If you want the ‘official’ news you can visit their own website/blog, or follow them directly on twitter. Also worth a look at is the twitter hash tag #oxuncut.

The Old Bodleian and (obviously) Rad Cam are closed to all readers – with the New Bodleian closed for redevelopment anyway, that basically means all the central libraries are closed.

Here are a few more photographs I took yesterday…

Security at the Rad Cam door

Security at the Rad Cam door

What initially seemed a very small protest at Carfax Tower

What initially seemed a very small protest at Carfax Tower

Students Occupy Rad Cam – Do Not Read Books

Following from new English DPhil blogging friend, Sophie Duncan from Clamorous Voice, I should note that about 200 students today occupied the Radcliffe Camera (ie. the very photogenic bit of the Bodleian Library).

This was part of nationwide student protests against cuts to university funding, a drastic increase in tuition fees and the loss of Education Maintenance Allowance for sixth formers. It follows the massive London protest I was at on 10.11.10.

Rad Cam Occupied

Rad Cam Occupied

Rad Cam Occupied

Rad Cam Occupied

Rad Cam Occupied - Photo from Inside (not taken by me - available on twitter under hashtag #oxuncut

Queer is.

This week is ‘Queer Week’ at Wadham College. This is, admittedly, one of the reasons I applied here. There are a great series of events ranging from film screenings, a capella concerts, seminars, discussions, sermons and even a mardi gras party.

I’ve been asked countless times by people (usually not in the Arts and humanities) what queer is. This isn’t an easy question to answer, so in a moment of frivolity I asked ‘Googlism’. Googlism gives a summary of what the search engine throws up about a term or name. The full results are here. Below are some of the best. I do not vouch for the accuracy of any of this.

queer is our national sport
queer is america?
queer is unaligned with any specific identity category
queer is something which does not allow itself to be easily defined and categorized
queer is a rich word for me
queer is a reality and i don’t feel so comfortable having my reality referred to as a prickly buzzword
queer is used throughout this site because of its inclusiveness and is in no way meant to be derogatory
queer is in itself a political act
queer is another one of those traditionally insulting labels which is being reclaimed by the communities to which it is addressed
queer is a proper noun now?
queer is used by some for its disruptive quality to challenge institutionalization
queer is its dynamic unlimited nature
queer is not a matter of specific sexual identities but of the world itself
queer is an innovative anthology that offers a materialist understanding of marginal sexualities
queer is becoming more acceptable
queer is when they are referring to gay people
queer is to reclaim it
queer is a dangerous thing to be
queer is much more than lgbt
queer is a social construction i am to deny my body and biology
queer is hot
queer is here
queer is ok
queer is queer
queer is dead
queer is back

The results are in…

Today I heard that I got a distinction overall in my MA, and a distinction in my dissertation. I’m obviously really pleased – and perversely I’m looking forward to getting my hard copy back so I can see the examiners comments.

Feels like a long time since I submitted – when in fact it was only 2 months ago.

So, on January 28th 2011 I get to graduate wearing this rather fetching hood.

Lots of Poetry, Not So Much Research

I’ve had a pretty manic week which has meant I haven’t spent nearly as much time with my books as I should have done.

Last Wednesday I was at the student protest in London against a threefold increase in fees. I didn’t kick in any Tory windows – but I did see lots of good humoured students and lecturers making it quite clear how those in higher education feel about the proposals.

On Thursday I went back to Leicester to the launch of New Walk Magazine at the University of Leicester. I think it is a great venture; attempting to bring together lots of disparate strands of poetic composition. Issue 1 contains the interview I did with Gwyneth Lewis as part of my MA research, and my book review of A Hospital Odyssey.

Yesterday I was reading my own poetry as part of the Ladyfest Ten literature programme in London. Katy Price ingested a book and Sophie Mayer read some of her new project; a verse about an intersex teenager in an early 1980s seaside town.

Today, I am back to the anthology work – before yet another trip to London for poetry reading (courtesy of Magma this time).

Thoughts on Endnote

Bloodshot eyes and early morning MHRA sessions during my previous degree started me thinking seriously about learning how to properly use bibliographic software.

We had a session early in my MA about RefWorks, and I tried it for my first essay and found it a little unstable and confusing. Here at Oxford, everyone is talking about Endnote; there are a variety of courses, education discount on the full version and former students claiming they wish they had used it.

I spent ages yesterday transferring my current working bibliography to it and testing it with Microsoft Word for Mac (2008). Endnote X4 doesn’t seem fully integrated with Word for Mac in the way it appears to be with Windows Word. I also had to find and download the MHRA style guide since it doesn’t come pre-loaded – which I find surprising.

Overall though I am pleased so far, and my flatmate claims it gets much easier.

For the long haul of 80,000 words, it makes sense to make a stitch in time now.

My Endnote Library

My Endnote Library

‘”be a soldier!” says the nun / To the woman after giving birth’

Padraic Fiacc is probably the most under-rated of the Heaney generation of Northern Irish poets. To prove my point, this is the first few lines of ‘Soldiers’:

The altar boy marches up the altar steps.
The priest marches down. ‘Get up now
And be a solider!’ says the nun
To the woman after giving birth, ‘Get up now
And march, march: Be a man!’

And the men are men and the women are men
And the children are men!

The Sad Pencil Marker

This week I feel like my progress has been a bit negligible. I’ve done lots, but the pencil marker in the anthology I’m looking at suggest I still have more to do.

I went to two research seminars this week, one on comparative literature and another on modernism and postcoloniality. The comparative literature seminar was with Professor Michael Wood from Princeton. The general conclusion both from his paper and the questions seemed to be that comparatists don’t know where they fit in the departmental structure, and that translation studies is now the most dominant force. The second, with Professor Laura Doyle from Massachusetts-Amherst was more of a historical reconsideration of trans-nationalism; using evidence of inter-relations in trade and technology to propose the potentially ancient roots of literature.

This weekend I have fireworks to look forward to, but I also have rather a lot of travel hanging over my head in the next week and a half with an overnight in Leicester and three separate journeys to London – one of which is to attend the ‘We Will March’ NUS Demo against the appalling proposals for H.E.!

We Will March – Fund Our Future

A kind of research diary…

I’m going to try a running blog from my seat here in the Lower Reading Room of the Bod so I can effectively look back and see what in particular catches my eye during the course of one day.

I won’t be doing this every day – but now and again it is a useful exercise in time management. The Humanities Division training provided a template sheet to note how you spend your day, but this is more useful for me.

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