Those Were the Days: How Things Change from Undergrad to Doctorate

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Remember when you were an undergrad (or maybe you are an undergrad right now) and you were taking classes from all sorts of fascinating disciplines? On any given day during my undergrad I could have Philosophy, German, History, English, Sociology, or whatever and it was truly a delightful thing. I would show up and these smart people would teach me things–usually–and my only job was to absorb those things and apply them when it came time for the exam and/or term paper. University really is a great system in that way; its structure is very straightforward.

The career of an undergraduate really is a fantastic mixture of socialization and book learnin’. In the interests of full disclosure, I freely admit that I had outgrown most of the socialization we usually associate with university by the time I started at age 22. I began my bachelor’s degree as many of my friends who had gone to university straight out of high school were finishing. This was a strange feeling and it was also my first real taste of imposter syndrome. In many ways I did not have what we might think of as a traditional undergraduate experience. There was very little fanfare, let alone whipped cream, during my first semester. We all went to university in an 80s comedy, right?

Getting back to the topic at hand, what really prompted me to think back to my undergrad days was a colleague who was lamenting the pressure put on PhD students to be ‘competitive’ for the job market. That many-headed beast who is never satisfied with your accomplishments and always hungry for more. More publications. More scholarships. More networking. It’s all a real mindfuck if you sit down and give it any serious thought. As we all know, academic hiring is not a meritocracy and luck plays as much a role as any of your sweet publications (although the latter cannot possibly hurt). It’s when I began to think, as I often do, about this whole world I’ve willfully chosen to be a part of that I was reminded of a former version of myself who loved every minute of the university experience.

This is not to say, however, that I don’t love what I’m doing. I don’t think you can do academia very successfully if you don’t have at least a bit of love for your work. I guess the stage I’m at right now might be what I’d call ‘old love.’ I love my work the way grandparents might love each other: they’re not giddy about it and rolling around in the back of a Studebaker anymore, but they really can’t imagine a life without one another. Back when I was an undergrad I was like that old photo of your grandfather with the Bogart hairdo and smart jacket. My classes were your grandmother with ruby red lips and risqué form-fitting dress and, boy howdy, were we mad for each other. It continued on apace for the entirety of my four year degree and, by the end, it was still quite something but perhaps with the luxury of a little maturity and experience.

Studying as an undergrad meant that you would never leave campus without knowing much more than you did when you arrived that day. Study, attend lecture, study some more, have class discussion, exam, term paper equaled one learned young man. After undergrad I did a teaching degree, but we’ll kindly avoid that subject. My education degree, if we’re sticking with the grandparent metaphor here, is the period they don’t like to discuss but nobody really knows why.

The master’s degree was very much a study, attend lecture, class discussion type of affair except that this time the stakes were much higher in terms of what was expected to come out of our mouths and brains. This is not even to mention how much more specialized the subject matter was. Master’s coursework allowed me to fill in the gaps of my broad knowledge in English. Still discovering things and reading widely and voraciously, at breakneck pace. This is when your grandparents first had your mum or dad and every day was a struggle, financially and emotionally, but they wouldn’t have traded it for the world. In a lot of ways, these were the best days of your grandparents’ lives and they learned a lot about who they were.

Finally, we get to the PhD. This is the point when your grandparents have begun establishing themselves. Maybe your grandpa smokes a pipe now. There is a comfort level and a feeling like everything will probably be okay. There’s a clear path to success, you just have to be sure to make something out of what you’re doing. At many points during the process it is frustrating, the kids are misbehaving, and your relationship seems strained. Expectations become more nebulous as you fall into a routine that is not actually a routine and you sometimes wish you could just get back into that Studebaker and let nature take its course. That was a lot of fun, but you realize that you can’t really ever go back and that’s okay, except when it’s not.

As the doctorate presses on, it is a given that you love your thesis topic but maybe you don’t buy it flowers much anymore and wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do was show up? Sometimes, when I think about what it was like to be an undergrad student, attending lectures and being let into the seemingly secret worlds of the disciplines I studied I can’t help but play this in my head:

The Gay Past and the Intellectual Historian

Originally posted on JHIBlog:

by Emily Rutherford

In the papers this week was the news (slow, it seems, to come to the mainstream media’s attention) that, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, University of British Columbia graduate student Justin O’Hearn helped to fund the UBC library’s purchase at auction of two rare 1890s homoerotic novels, Teleny and Des Grieux. Teleny, a story of a love affair between two men which includes explicit sex, has been reprinted in modern editions and is fairly widely available to researchers, but Des Grieux, a sequel (the title refers to Teleny‘s protagonist) hasn’t and isn’t. O’Hearn’s campaign was spurred by his intention to edit a critical edition of the text and to incorporate it into his dissertation.

Unless specific circumstances caused anglophone sexually explicit/pornographic novels of historical importance to be reprinted in twentieth-century (often badly-made, pirated) editions, they tend to languish, sometimes only in…

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Teleny and Des Grieux Media Roundup

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Des Grieux Exhibition Poster
 As you may well know, last November I saw an extraordinarily rare book that had been hidden away for over 100 years being auctioned off at Christie’s and decided I needed to try and buy it. So, I began a Kickstarter to help that effort and, long story short, that book and its companion now have a new home at UBC Rare Books & Special Collections. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are some things to bring you up to speed.
Now, if you’ve read this far, chances are you are up to speed on this story. This is the place I’ve decided to round up all the media attention this acquisition garnered. I’ll be penning a much longer blog post very soon about the whole process, but this will serve as a placeholder until that happens. Oh, I also made a Storify story. I like to think of Storifies as a quilt made from a bunch of tweets. You probably didn’t need to know that.
Also, if you’re in the Vancouver area you can actually see these books and many other stupendous examples of decadent publishing at UBC Rare Books & Special Collections. Until January 31.
The Guardian [January 19]
UBC Press Release [January 12]
CBC Online [January 13]
Global BC TV [January 14]
Georgia Straight [January 14]
Daily Xtra [January 20]

Student’s crowd funding campaign helps UBC secure two historical novels

justinohearn:

Metro News piece featuring my crowd funding campaign to acquire some rare porn, now housed at UBC Rare Books & Special Collections.

Originally posted on Metro News:

Some of the first published homosexual-themed novels, with unproven links to Oscar Wilde, are now property of the University of British Columbia thanks to one student’s crowd funding campaign.

The 19th-century novels, Teleny (published in 1893) and sequel Des Grieux (1899), were bought for $16,000 and $23,000, respectively, after Justin O’Hearn, a PhD candidate in Victorian literature at UBC stumbled upon an auction for the items while working on his dissertation.

“I hastily started a Kickstarter page and raised $3,000 very quickly,” said O’Hearn.

The UBC library put up the rest of the money from a fund it has earmarked for rare and special acquisitions.

“Now UBC is the only place in the world with these two works together,” said O’Hearn.

The PhD candidate says the works, centred around the relationship between the two title characters, feature explicit scenes that were considered obscene at the time and both…

View original 192 more words

Kickstarter Update: That’s It, Folks!

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So, in case you haven’t heard already…WE WON! Not only did we win Des Grieux but we also won one of only five first editions of Teleny. The supporters of the Kickstarter campaign (each and every one my personal hero, listed below), everyone who shared the project on social media, and my home institution, UBC, made this a reality. With UBC’s backing we were able to make sure that two extremely rare works are preserved and available to researchers and anyone with an interest.

The bidding was intense and I don’t know if my 33-years-young heart could take the suspense again (what am I saying? I’d do it all again tomorrow). Stay tuned for another post that’ll have all the gritty details. The highs, the lows, the auctioneer who was clearly amused at some of the auction items!

For now, I just want to say thanks again. As you scroll through the names of this project’s backers, please keep them in mind as you celebrate Thanksgiving, even if you’re not in a country with Thanksgiving next week (see: every country but one). Also, if you ever meet any of these people, you should buy them an ice cream. I’m hoping to buy a lot of ice creams. Spoiler alert: my next Kickstarter will be to raise money to buy ice creams for Kickstarter supporters.

Thank you!

-Justin

  • Lucia Lorenzi
  • Natasha Chang
  • Brycen Janzen
  • Stewart
  • Lauren Perchuk
  • Steve Hahn
  • Nico Dicecco
  • Will Matheson
  • Xantasm
  • Daniel Helbert
  • Liz Turner
  • Michelle O’Brien
  • Marco Galvani
  • Charles Knight
  • Megan Brett
  • Alex Griffin
  • Tim Cassedy
  • Ted Whittall
  • Betany Koepke
  • Judith Scholes
  • Sandra Arnett
  • Serina Patterson
  • Aron Horvath
  • Amol Verma
  • Christopher Scott
  • Mark Klassen
  • Sarah Taylor-Harman
  • Noelle Phillips
  • JB
  • Gillian Kirby
  • Angela Caperton
  • Iago Faustus
  • Graeme Rigg
  • Alison Hurlburt
  • Les Vogel
  • Mark
  • Sebastian Melmoth
  • Rebecca Dowson
  • Kristen Stubbs
  • Glenn Willen
  • Jennifer Ferguson
  • Megan Rector
  • Alison Traweek
  • Kyle Carpenter
  • Lawrence Reeve
  • Meghan O’Neil
  • Mary Corbett
  • Ian Pettit
  • Heath Wood
  • Jack
  • Faye Wang
  • Ann Gagne
  • Katie
  • TR
  • Keith Preble
  • Adrian M.
  • John Williams

Kickstarter Update, Day 8: That Time We Won the Auction

With the help of all the supporters of the Kickstarter campaign and UBC Rare Books, we were able to obtain not only Des Grieux but also the first edition of Teleny in the Christie’s auction. I can’t even tell you how excited I am right now. Excited and grateful. Thank you to everyone who supported, backed, and shared this project. None of this would have happened without you all.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/154653970/des-grieux-oscar-wildes-other-suppressed-novel/posts/1056176

Kickstarter Update, Day 7: Until Tomorrow

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In preparation for an early start tomorrow, the auction begins at 6AM PST, I simply want to reiterate my sincere thanks to everyone who’s supported, backed, and shared this project. It’s been overwhelming, to say the least.

Here’s an updated list of the awesome people who have made this possible.

  1. Lucia Lorenzi
  2. Natasha Chang
  3. Brycen Janzen
  4. Stewart
  5. Lauren Perchuk
  6. Steve Hahn
  7. Nico Dicecco
  8. Will Matheson
  9. Xantasm
  10. Daniel Helbert
  11. Liz Turner
  12. Michelle O’Brien
  13. Marco Galvani
  14. Charles Knight
  15. Megan Brett
  16. Alex Griffin
  17. Tim Cassedy
  18. Ted Whittall
  19. Betany Koepke
  20. Judith Scholes
  21. Sandra Arnett
  22. Serina Patterson
  23. Aron Horvath
  24. Amol Verma
  25. Christopher Scott
  26. Mark Klassen
  27. Sarah Taylor-Harman
  28. Noelle Phillips
  29. JB
  30. Gillian Kirby
  31. Angela Caperton
  32. Iago Faustus
  33. Graeme Rigg
  34. Alison Hurlburt
  35. Les Vogel
  36. Mark
  37. Sebastian Melmoth
  38. Rebecca Dowson
  39. Kristen Stubbs
  40. Glenn Willen
  41. Jennifer Ferguson
  42. Megan Rector
  43. Alison Traweek
  44. Kyle Carpenter
  45. Lawrence Reeve
  46. Meghan O’Neil
  47. Mary Corbett
  48. Ian Pettit
  49. Heath Wood
  50. Jack
  51. Faye Wang
  52. Ann Gagne
  53. Katie
  54. TR
  55. Keith Preble

Kickstarter Update, Day 5: More than 3/4 of The Way

Hello Everyone,

An exciting day on the Kickstarter to help bring Des Grieux to the public. As of this writing, the total raised is $2295, which equates to 76% funded. 76! Like the basketball team of the same name! It’s a great number, to be sure, and one that I could not be happier about considering my inexperience with this whole crowdfunding endeavour. Everyone has shown me what a powerful tool this can be for things other than gadgets and tech startups. I’ve really learned a lot in 5 days. So, in addition to your support, thank you for putting up with my growing pains.

Friday was the busiest day so far for this project, in terms of the volume of corresponding I’ve been doing. Earlier in the day I had an opportunity to speak with a backer about a cool project she is trying to launch to bring together sex-positive people with other cool sex-positive projects that sometimes have a difficult time on standard internet platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and the like, not to mention non-judgemental webhosting. If you’d like to see more, please visit http://www.toymakerproject.com/about/

As always, more information about this project is available under the gif below, which depicts fairly accurately my day on Friday.

Here is today’s current list of backers. See if you can spot the one with a little added literary allusion.

  1. Lucia Lorenzi
  2. Natasha Chang
  3. Brycen Janzen
  4. Stewart
  5. Lauren Perchuk
  6. Steve Hahn
  7. Nico Dicecco
  8. Will Matheson
  9. Xantasm
  10. Daniel Helbert
  11. Liz Turner
  12. Michelle O’Brien
  13. Marco Galvani
  14. Charles Knight
  15. Megan Brett
  16. Alex Griffin
  17. Tim Cassedy
  18. Ted Whittall
  19. Betany Koepke
  20. Judith Scholes
  21. Sandra Arnett
  22. Serina Patterson
  23. Aron Horvath
  24. Amol Verma
  25. Christopher Scott
  26. Mark Klassen
  27. Sarah Taylor-Harman
  28. Noelle Phillips
  29. JB
  30. Gillian Kirby
  31. Angela Caperton
  32. Iago Faustus
  33. Graeme Rigg
  34. Alison Hurlburt
  35. Les Vogel
  36. Mark
  37. Sebastian Melmoth
  38. Rebecca Dowson
  39. Kristen Stubbs
  40. Glenn Willen
  41. Jennifer Ferguson
  42. Megan Rector
  43. Alison Traweek
  44. Kyle Carpenter

Here’s the Kickstarter link: Oscar Wilde’s ‘Other’ Suppressed Novel

Click here if you’d like more info on the project.

This is the auction site for Des Grieux: Christie’s London

Here is the entry from Peter Mendes containing most of the available info on Des Grieux. Mendes is one of the few people who have actually examined the text in question: Des Grieux

If you’d like to find out more about Teleny, you can look at the OScholars special Teleny edition here.

Previous Kickstarter Updates: Launch, Day1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Blog Post by Bacchus on Eros Blog

Kickstarter Update, Day 4: That Time We Were 71% Funded

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The amount of money raised so far for this campaign equates to over 32lbs of Canadian dollar coins (commonly known as ‘Loonies’). Since we’re talking weights and measures here, that equates to $2135 raised toward the goal of prying a rare book from the locked cases of private collectors where researchers can’t access it.

More than anything else, this project thus far has shown me how much goodwill there is within the academic community as well as communities sympathetic to the cause of ensuring that literature is preserved and not locked away.

I am cautiously optimistic that this project will meet its funding goal and I want to reiterate my gratitude to everyone who has shared, backed, and had thoughts both pure and impure about this campaign. And if everyone were to ask just one relative they only speak with on holidays to share and consider backing this campaign, we’d have a lot more cousins involved. I don’t know if that would help, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.

As always, further details can be found under the gif. Today it’s a visual representation of a bit of frustration I’ve experienced recently.

Here is today’s current list of backers. See if you can spot the one with a little added literary allusion.

  1. Lucia Lorenzi
  2. Natasha Chang
  3. Brycen Janzen
  4. Stewart
  5. Lauren Perchuk
  6. Steve Hahn
  7. Nico Dicecco
  8. Will Matheson
  9. Xantasm
  10. Daniel Helbert
  11. Liz Turner
  12. Michelle O’Brien
  13. Marco Galvani
  14. Charles Knight
  15. Megan Brett
  16. Alex Griffin
  17. Tim Cassedy
  18. Ted Whittall
  19. Betany Koepke
  20. Judith Scholes
  21. Sandra Arnett
  22. Serina Patterson
  23. Aron Horvath
  24. Amol Verma
  25. Christopher Scott
  26. Mark Klassen
  27. Sarah Taylor-Harman
  28. Noelle Phillips
  29. JB
  30. Gillian Kirby
  31. Angela Caperton
  32. Iago Faustus
  33. Graeme Rigg
  34. Alison Hurlburt
  35. Les Vogel
  36. Mark
  37. Sebastian Melmoth
  38. Rebecca Dowson
  39. Kristen Stubbs
  40. Glenn Willen

Here’s the Kickstarter link: Oscar Wilde’s ‘Other’ Suppressed Novel

Click here if you’d like more info on the project.

This is the auction site for Des Grieux: Christie’s London

Here is the entry from Peter Mendes containing most of the available info on Des Grieux. Mendes is one of the few people who have actually examined the text in question: Des Grieux

If you’d like to find out more about Teleny, you can look at the OScholars special Teleny edition here.

Previous Kickstarter Updates: Launch, Day1, Day 2, Day 3

Blog Post by Bacchus on Eros Blog

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