Slowing down.

Last Tuesday, in our airbnb in Adelaide where we were attending an anthropology conference, J and I mused about conference fatigue, academic precarity, and our plans for the future. And then she told me that she knows that I am ‘working very hard’ for my academic goals. I got shy and brushed it off in mock humility, then attempted to return the focus of our exchange to her.

That night I cried myself to sleep. Continue reading Slowing down.

Housekeeping transient intimacies.

I feel like my heart is being squeezed.

I am feeling a lot of things.

/I feel like Stéphane, snuggled on the mattress, holding Stéphanie’s hand, quietly drifting into lucid dreaming world, in Science of Sleep.

/I feel like Theodore, sitting in bed, half-clad in pyjamas, playing The Moon Song on the Ukelele, singing a duet with Samantha, in Her.

/I feel like Joel, laying on the ice, staring into Clementine, tearing from his eyes, relishing in her glow, before they part once more, in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Continue reading Housekeeping transient intimacies.

A list of my conferencing ethics.

I am going to brainfart a list of my conferencing ethics:

1) Shout out work of early career scholars.

2) If you see an early career researcher struggling to connect with a senior scholar whom you already know, broker the introduction.

3) Make friends with the conference virgins who are attending for the first time.

4) If there are folks awkwardly lurking in your physical orbit, make space to welcome them into the social setting.

5) When awkwardly standing in line for meals or the toilet, make human, non-work, phatic conversation if the vibe is right for comfort.

6) If you need to truncate a conversation and run off, don’t patronizingly say you’ll “catch up”. Earmark a next opportunity and swap contacts.

7) If a mansplainer is hijacking a conversation or Q&A, intervene but redirect the conversational space back to the original speaker.

8) Introduce folks with similar dietary habits to each other so they have company for specific meal scouts.

9) Smell out the stragglers, strays, lost and invite them to join your group/friends during meals/breaks.

10) If you are jobbed and can afford it, offer to get occasional drinks for early career researchers. It fosters intergenerational generosity.

11) Create backchannels to check in with each other. Swap R&R locations so folks who need a rest/pitstop have company.

12) If your academic friend has brought their non-acad partner along for socials, get to know them as human persons and not just do work talk.

13) Check in with each other after a night out. Ensure everyone has at least a friend looking out for them. Beep when you get home safely.

14) Take care of each other. We are all experiencing multiple feelings at once. Conference bravado and posturing is tiring. Be human.

15) Foster and protect your conference camaraderie.

Okay goodnight 🐧😴

Confessions from a young woman academic in five parts:


I wrote this some time ago in the past when I was feeling particularly vulnerable and helpless in my career. I should add that I am glad and grateful that these incidents did not take place at the institution at which I am based, and that I have mostly recovered from these experiences – so please don’t worry over me.

When I first shared these thoughts on a private platform among my personal friends, their reactions fell into four categories:

Some friends sent me affirmation and comfort, which made me feel that my friends were listening and cared for me.

Some friends commiserated with me and called out the situations for what they were – appropriation, exploitation, bullying – which was helpful in acknowledging the complex power relations at play.

Some friends who were in positions of authority to mentor others or to shape workplace practices indicated that such behaviour was not acceptable, which gave me hope in wanting to work with the right people to foster better academic culture.

Some friends recognized my effort in pushing back against the unruly demands of academia and encouraged me to press on. One friend wrote not to “give myself” to these people who will “suck you dry and leave your soul in the dust”, and another friend acknowledged my writing as “what good boundary-setting looks like”. I genuinely appreciated this support because they did not tell me to work harder to fix the situation, to be more aggressive and fend more for myself, or to internalize the blame as mine in any way. Instead, they highlighted the toxicity of academia which made me feel that the bad feelings I carried were valid and not trivial.

I felt really encouraged by these friends who were propping me up through a difficult lull at the confluence of several events. I was also grateful for all the generosity and care from the editors to whom I owed overdue work, for understanding my various commotions and giving me space and time. As I am about to take off for two weeks to conference-hop and give talks about research I am super passionate about and reunite with my most favourite people in the entire world in brand new cities I am excited to explore during our down time together (phew, breathe), I also want to acknowledge that academia isn’t always pretty.

I am now sharing this piece of writing in the public space of my blog as a public archive of underrepresented feelings that are usually taboo to publicly discuss in academia. Here goes.

Continue reading Confessions from a young woman academic in five parts:

Auto-replies: What you read vs. What I mean

This year, I used email auto-replies for the first time.


What you read:

“Hi, Thank you for your email. Both my office PC and my personal laptop have crashed over the weekend. I am currently organizing a replacement device while attempting to recover my data and work from my iPhone. Kindly excuse delays in our correspondence. I will respond at my soonest convenience. Thank you.”

What I mean: Continue reading Auto-replies: What you read vs. What I mean