Unabashed

Jess was stumped. She stood in the cramped aisle between two tall book shelves and surveyed her options. To her left, the section devoted to sex and gender stretched out three or four feet; to her right, the section devoted to women and women’s roles unfurled even further. It made her pause, this expanse of existent scholarship on the questions most occupying her historian brain. She stood there and took in the breadth of work already completed, took in a quick breath, and began to reconsider the focus of the work of her life thus far. There were an awful lot of book on these shelves, and she knew she was just taking in those books that had made their way to Central Michigan State University: she would be stupid to think that these shelves contained the lot of the scholarship and, anyway, she knew better. With one quick glance she could name half a dozen books that were missing–and maybe that was the measure of the caliber of her education, that she was able to notice the discrepancies–and she could feel the subject of that morning’s feministing.com post creep slowly toward the edge of her consciousness. Were these books even relevant anymore?

Jess knew she could not afford to question the premise of her higher education. She turned on her well-worn boot heel and strode toward the section on her left, scanning book titles with well-practiced eyes, and then pivoted and made her way back up and perused the right side. And then, ever the unabashed scholar, Jess selected a handful of books from either side, determined to meld the two subfields, convinced they belonged together.

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