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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Inspired

I just had a 4-hour-long dinner with my former thesis adviser, and it was shockingly amazing. I had a fantastic time. People who know me in person have just fallen off their chairs because they are very aware of how fraught my relationship with her had been. But today I discovered that she is a passionate, fun person.

Gosh, I so wish I could have seen this in her back when I was a student. It’s incredible how much one’s inner darkness colors one’s experience of people and places. 

Of course, she’s a Trump supporter because hello, she’s a tenured professor at Yale, what else could she be? And we all know me, I’m pathologically vocal about my politics, so I announced from the start that I hate Trump and supported Hillary. And still we had a fantastic time chatting about everything and especially politics. 

I’m super psyched because it’s not even about the professor. It’s about me making peace with my past. I feel energized and inspired and almost ready to cry because it’s such a relief not to have to hate my past any longer. 

No-Heaven is now officially renamed back into New Haven. 

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28 thoughts on “Inspired

  1. What a wonderful thing to read. Congratulations, Clarissa.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JProf on said:

    I’m curious about what your advisor thought of Franco?
    I know you’ve talked before about how conservative tenured professors at Yale are… Are the Latin Americanists conservative, too?
    I wonder what it’s like in Yale’s English Department. I could be wrong, but I’d assume that lots of them are liberal (i.e, Hillary supporters, not Bernie fans–in other words, not all that “radical”), except maybe for the older, full professors close to retirement.

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    • She hates Franco, so at least we are good on that. 😉 The Latin Americanists are all Republican, too. I never met a single tenured Yale professor who wasn’t a Republican, and I minored in English lit.

      It’s understandable, though. All of the professors there I know come from very humble origins, have clearly achieved enormous success beating great odds. To expect from them that they’d be eager to pay higher taxes is not very realistic. Other than higher taxes and more diversity seminars, Hillary wasn’t going to offer them much else.

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      • JProf on said:

        That’s interesting. I would have assumed people like Amy Hungerford (who I believe wrote about never reading David William Foster’s Infinite Jest because he is sexist and the book is too long, anyway) and queer theorist Michael Warner would be fairly liberal. If they are liberal, perhaps they are the exception.

        At my SLAC in the South, the vast majority of us don’t like Trump, but most of us did not have the life trajectory that you describe your Yale professors as having.

        And let me comment on how ironic it is that the Yale SJW’s came after N Christakis (sp?), a supposedly liberal professor, and not after the entire Yale Spanish Dept.

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        • Amy Hungerford! I struggled so badly in her course on American postmodernism because I was knew to the US and couldn’t understand why we talked about nothing but religion. Now I get it and would kick ass in the course. 😁

          I don’t know Amy’s politics but hey, my thesis adviser is feminist and very pro-gay. She rants against homophobia like you can’t imagine. She said the exact same thing as you about the Christakises, by the way. “They are SO Liberal. Why would the protesters be against them??”

          All of my professors at Yale would bite one’s head of for any even remotely anti-gay or racist comment, that’s for sure.

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      • You mean Adorno, too? Aníbal G-P? In KDJ as closet Trumpist does not surprise me, but it surprises me that he wouldn’t be from the comfortable petit-bourgeoisie.

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        • OF COURSE, they, too. Who’s KDJ though? It might be somebody after my time and I don’t know them.

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          • Brazilianist. Kenneth D. J.

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            • Oh, David! Right. Don’t know about him since I didn’t take Portuguese. I honestly can’t say.

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              • Ol. on said:

                Adorno supported Hilary’s campaign back in 2008.

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              • Ol. on said:

                I’m so happy to read all these positive posts. Now you need to take her job!

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              • But so all of these people grew up poor? This amazes me, too.

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              • Have you met many famous academics who were born in rich families? I can’t think of a single one. Most of the ones I know are the first person in their family to go to college or even finish high school. I literally can’t think of anybody who came from riches and whom I’d know.

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              • Well to mention one person you don’t like, but who is famous way beyond field: Chomsky’s father was a professor. And I would say there are many others who are middle class and up — Gilberto Freyre was rich, etc.

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              • Well, I’m sure Chomsky is fine with paying higher taxes if he didn’t have to work as hard for his success.

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              • Anon on said:

                Most science and engineering faculty I know were upper middle class or at least middle class growing up. I know may be one or two who were poor or the first person in their family to go to college, and no one who was rich.

                This includes both American and international faculty btw. Most of my international colleagues were sons and daughters of engineers and doctors and college professors in their home country.

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              • I’m not talking about faculty, though. This is about the super superstars whose name everybody in the field knows. The ultra overachievers.

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      • adrianaurelien on said:

        That’s interesting to me. My father had a similar life, and he’s been a staunch Democrat his entire life.

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  3. I liked my dissertation director, but she seemed not to like me, or not to trust me. I didn’t understand it. Much later I learned that people more aware than I considered her mean. Even her favorite student (from my time) came to conclude this. I don’t think she was as mean to men, and she behaved quite responsibly toward me considering that she didn’t like me (or at least, I think she did). We don’t speak now because she got so mean — although she did insist on saying hello at a conference once and was friendly. I was too traumatized by then to follow up, but for many years the one with the friendly gestures was me.

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  4. Jonathan Mayhew on said:

    I know who your advisor was so I am surprised / not surprised she is for Trump. I was taken aback when I first read this post, but thinking about it maybe it’s not so surprising after all.

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  5. But what is the argument being made here: that people from certain kinds of disadvantaged backgrounds (when I was a child having parents who didn’t go to college wasn’t the kind of disadvantage it can be where I am now and in the time I am in now), if they are very successful later, then don’t want to pay taxes later? I also really don’t find this follows.

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    • It’s not really an argument. I’m just saying I don’t condemn people who beat enormous odds and then vote Republican because they don’t want to pay higher taxes.

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      • Ah. The ones who’ve become super-successes financially, I do criticize. The ones who’ve become more moderate successes seem to be the ones I don’t blame as much. Some of these Republican types, including certain relatives I have, really are very hard working and self sufficient in ways I am not … I have skills they don’t due to education, but they’re independent and skilled in ways I don’t fully imagine being, and also come from rougher places … and don’t have that much more than I do. I totally see why they want to keep it

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