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Spotlight: Marisol Cortez

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Last fall was my first semester as a visiting faculty member in the American Studies Department, so the past few months have been full of new and exciting challenges. Thanks to the warm welcome I have received from AMS faculty and the broader KU community, it has been a good adjustment, and I have been able to turn my attention to the tasks of figuring out how to balance teaching with research (with some community organizing on the side). Last semester I co-taught AMS 110 with Ray Pence, who has been a wonderful colleague and mentor. I am also working on a reflective piece on the environmental metaphorics of the humanities job market crisis and the promise of environmental justice work for allying academic work with community struggles. I hope with this piece to reimagine the critical and pragmatic value of humanities within the context of the academic labor crisis. In December, I presented this at an interdisciplinary symposium at the Hall Center organized by AMS Ph.D. candidate Rachel Vaughn. I have also enjoyed my participation in the New Cities project, and the weekly brain expansion sessions and the many conversations about houses, grandmothers, utopias, dystopias, and developers with Dennis Domer and others. I traveled back home to San Antonio in November for the ASA conference, where I moderated a panel on waste politics as well as helped the housekeepers' union, "Unite Here," organize an "alter-conference" panel on labor issues outside the Hyatt Hotel.


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