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The Women I Know: Thoughts On The Abuse At Profiles And Being A Bystander

Profiles Theater front

Profiles Theater papered with copies of The Chicago Reader in the days after the article was published

Cox was jealous and controlling, Sara says. He convinced her to destroy the blouses she wore to work because he thought they were too revealing. He would look through old photo albums with her. “You want to keep that one, hon, do you?” she remembers him asking when they came across pictures of her high school boyfriend. “You don’t want to keep that picture. You should just rip it up. If you love me, rip that up.” He insisted on being in the room whenever she talked on the phone to her family. Slowly, Sara felt him chipping away at her personality.

The theater community in Chicago has been reeling this month, after The Chicago Reader published an exposé of alleged abuse at the now-closed storefront theatre company Profiles. The result of a year-long investigation, journalists Aimee Levitt and Christopher Piatt documented a climate of fear, intimidation, and violence perpetuated and enabled by the two men responsible for much of the theater’s output over the two decades: Darrell W. Cox and Joe Jahraus. Continue reading

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What the F just happened? For my US friends, a long attempt to Brexplain

map of votes

Map of the votes from the BBC, comparing the 1975 and 2016 referendum results.

The vice provost dropped by again this morning. He asked how I was feeling. “Imagine how you are going to feel if Trump wins in November” I replied. “That’s how I’m feeling.”

Yesterday I wrote on this blog that I didn’t understand what was happening. But last night as I sat at home watching the results come in and drinking most of a bottle of cheap wine, I tried to figure it out.  I have a better answer now to the question my US friends keep asking me.

Bear with me. This is going to be long and personal. Continue reading

Brexit From A Distance

One of the vice provosts dropped by my office today. It didn’t take long before he spun round to the topic of Brexit.

“So what’s going on in your country with this EU thing?” he asked.

“Pretty much the British version of Trump.” I replied.

And not for the first time this week, I found myself struggling to explain the inexplicable.

My sense is that people in the US have only caught on about how serious this is very recently: maybe only since the awful murder of the politician Jo Cox last week. But then to be completely honest, it was probably only a month ago that I realized myself there was going to be a referendum. And even then it took me a day or two to finally admit it was real. It was actually going to happen.

Because the whole idea makes absolutely no sense to me!

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First Ladies

So Clinton has won the nomination, as everyone knew she would. If I could vote in US elections I would (of course) vote for her over the horror show that is Trump.

But still, I’m sad that Sanders, the candidate I would’ve supported based on his policies rather than his symbolism, won’t be on the ballot. Particularly as I think he would be the safer guard against Trump, as well as a more progressive President.

I’m one of the people who resents the idea that I ought to be excited by Hillary Clinton, on the basis of the fact she’ll be the first female president (although not the first female presidential candidate). But then I come from the UK, where we have the cautionary tale of Margaret Thatcher to prove that a female politician does not automatically mean a feminist politician. Continue reading

Fear, Violence, and the Perception of Risk on Campus

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Concrete neo-castles

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a middle-aged white guy I’d never seen before, hanging out near the foyer of the university building I work in. He was just sitting there on a chair, with a backpack, playing on his phone. He was still there later that afternoon. And again the next day, in the same spot. Then the day after as well, till the end of the week. If I walked to the rest room or the kitchen, or went outside on my lunch break, I noticed him just sitting in the hall, apparently waiting for someone.

I was curious, but it also started to make me nervous. Who was this dude? The building houses administrative offices – some for student support, but mostly university-wide administration. There are non-student visitors around every day. But no one sits waiting for an appointment for a week.

I started to think up increasingly dramatic possibilities. Was he someone’s stalker? These things happen. Had anyone else noticed him and mentioned it to security?

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From PhD to Academic Administration Part Two: The Pros and Cons list

Last week I started off with a brief introduction on how I ended up working in academic administration after finishing my PhD. This week I’ll jump into the bit that is usually far more interesting to people contemplating making the same move: the pros and cons list.

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Tuesday Funk, Nov 2015

Tuesday Funk is a reading series held every first Tuesday of the month at the Hopleaf bar in Chicago. It features writers from a range of genres, although fiction and memoir tend to be the most common, with about 4-5 people reading their work over the course of the evening. This month’s session introduced me to the fantastic Sarah Michael Hollenbeck, who also happens to be one of the co-owners of the Women and Children First bookstore.

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