Scribbling & Bibbling, but What?

This week I decided to take a closer look at all the “in-process” writing I do while reading. It’s really hard for me to read without being able to write on a text. It’s part of what makes it hard for me to move from reading hard copies v. digital copies in adobe. There’s something about returning to the scrawl that helps me get my head back into where my thinking WAS when I left a piece. But I don’t really control my pen too much as I’m read-writing. So what exactly am I doing when I write?

1. I’m identifying lovely quotes I think either sum things up or might go nicely in a piece if I reference the article. As you can see below, I’ve asterisked a “good quote” and underlined it. It’s a clear, incisive line that speaks about the relationship of subjectivity to identity and identities; a set of concepts Hagood is working to trace relationships between and distinguish from one another. Here she points out that subjectivity is not about “being” an identity or performing multiple selves, rather it’s about the slips and liminal places in between stable notions of identity.Image

2. I do a alot of paraphrasing. If you take a look below, you’ll note that I pull out phrases and work to write the in my own words or words that I’d use if I were to write academically about the concept discussed in the article: “subjectivity is active effort to de-stabilize stable identities.” Here I’m not just highlighting how the author’s writing nicely about things, I’m working to sum up a section or paragraph in a nutshell or to connect it to concepts I am working with. I do this so I can just skim through my notes the next time I return to the work. It’s a very un-digital and complicatedly searchable way of annotating an article. That being said, I think it speaks to my need to always return to the primary research source before I cite it when I’m writing. There are all these lovely database programs for academics who need to cite lots of things – databases that hold all these notes in searchable fields and will drop a reference into a draft with the push of a button. This makes me nervous. I’m always afraid to get too far from the texts I’m claiming support my thinking, especially given how much what I think about texts changes over time.  Image

3. Margins are also the places where I jot my text to text connections. As I’m reading academic articles, I’m always working to line things up, map how one researcher or theorist speaks about concepts I’ve read about or studies within my oeuvre. Note below, how I draw an arrow at the bottom of the article linked to the term “performative politics.”


This is a term that I highlighted at the close of my dissertation. It’s the heart of the significance and implications for my work. It’s a concept Judith Butler developed and Deborah Youdell deploys in research. It’s a way of seeing how people use words, gestures, and dress to shape reductive identities.


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