What are you currently researching?
I am currently writing a book, ‘After Childhood: Ambivalence, Belonging, and the Psychic Life of the Child,’ which is under contract with the University of Minnesota Press. The book is about contemporary social justice movements in the US – Black Lives Matter, transfeminism, queer youth activism, and anti-deportation mobilisations – and the ways in which they organise around, and reimagine, the idea of childhood.
Alongside this, my emerging line of research undertakes a multi-sited analysis of sexual politics across various scales (from the local to the transnational). I’m specifically interested in the conceptual and lived effects of sexual regulations which are prompted by the disavowal and displacement of sexual harms. So far, this work includes research into digital content moderation, #MeToo, homonationalism, and incarceration.
What attracted you to this area of research?
Having participated in queer youth activism for almost a decade prior to beginning my PhD research, I continue to be interested in thinking about the relationship between childhood and activist demands for belonging, justice, and transformation.
The move from activism to academia was an important one for me: it enabled me to grapple with some of the theoretical questions which had emerged in my work, and I have since come to see teaching as the main site of my activist practice.
How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?
I am hesitant to use the language of ‘impact’ for my work, as this framework has been used to discredit interdisciplinary work within the social sciences and humanities that cannot be measured within normative parameters. I see my work as part of a collective conversation taking place in academia about how the idea of childhood works for and against various world-building projects.
What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?
I am currently a postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, and I hope to stay in the academy. I am excited to be currently co-developing the Department of Gender Studies’ new MSc Gender (Sexuality) degree pathway with my colleagues.
What are your top three tips to prospective students on the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?
- Give yourself the time and space to step back from it when you can. Allow it to fall apart when it does (and it will) and find the community to support you.
- Share your work in all its stages and embrace the critique. Keep really good notes on everything that comes to you, even if it’s not useful in the moment.
- Don’t rely on technology, and always back up your work!
What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?
During my PhD I worked with my friends and colleagues to put together funding applications from the ESRC and the TLC to run workshops and conferences about our emerging research. These were great fun, and the insights continue to shape my thinking and my work.
What do you enjoy most about studying at LSE?
I would have to say my department. My colleagues work continuously to support one another, to hold one another accountable, to create challenging and encouraging spaces of learning for our students, and to hold necessary conversations about the field. I have learned so much from them, and from our fantastic cohorts of students over the years.