2017: Our Year in Review

Red and purple fireworks against a black sky with text reading "2017: A Year in Review"

2017: Our Year in Review

December 19, 2017 Blog

December is a time for reflection, when we look back at what has happened throughout the year and make plans for what we want to bring into being in the new one. It also brings our annual “year in review” post highlighting some of the most exciting things to come out of IoF in the last 12 months.

2017 has been a fantastically exciting year for us at Ideas on Fire.

We welcomed 4 new members to our team:

Christopher Persaud is our digital marketing associate, and directs the marketing efforts for our Imagine Otherwise podcast as well as crafts the fantastic show notes.

Emma Warnken Johnson and Summer McDonald joined the editing and indexing team, where they have been helping our author clients publish amazing scholarship.

Rebecca Reynolds, as our new office manager, ensures everything at IoF is running smoothly and our Grad School Rockstars and author clients have the support they need to rock their careers.

We also were excited to bid bon voyage to our marketing associate Priyanka Kaura as she begins the next stage in her career journey in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Our Grad School Rockstars community offered guidance, accountability, and career coaching for grad students who want to change the world:

  • Our Rockstars worked through topics such as creating a regular writing routine when your schedule is unpredictable, how to know when dissertation chapters are done, how disability and chronic pain necessitate redefining productivity in academia, working with difficult or distant faculty advisors, applying for both academic and non-academic jobs at the same time, how to identify and ask for the specific kind of feedback you need on a draft, why deadlines and plans are necessary but also how to let them morph and change in the face of family or health issues, and ways to make time for your activist and artistic interests while in grad school.
  • Many of our Rockstars kicked off strong friendships and professional collaborations—we’re always jazzed to see our Rockstar community spur publishing collaborations and activist events!
  • Several Rockstars earned their PhDs this year and went on to exciting social justice-oriented jobs both within and beyond the academy!

We produced 27 episodes of the Imagine Otherwise podcast, including episodes featuring:

  • Cultural producer Yaba Blay on everyday Black girl magic
  • Sex educator and executive director Elicia Gonzalez on reproductive justice and Latinx queer advocacy
  • Podcaster and professor Karen Tongson on musical migration and the pleasures of pop culture
  • Chef and eco-educator Aileen Suzara on Filipino food activism
  • Musician and scholar Lakshmi Ramgopal on postcolonial music and the pull of history
  • CEO Adeline Koh on postcolonial feminist entrepreneurship and self-care
  • Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher on poetry as a community engagement practice
  • Zinester and podcaster Nia King on supporting queer and trans artists of color
  • Meditation instructor and professor Shanté Paradigmn Smalls on hip hop’s queer aesthetics and Shambhala Buddhist meditation
  • Professor Tanisha C. Ford on Black creative genius and being bold in world and life
  • Consultant and professor Heath Fogg Davis on transgender discrimination and professors as consultants
  • Ojibwe video artist Marcella Ernest on Native American filmmaking and the power of podcasting
  • Indigenous Hawaiian artists Solomon Enos, Abigail Romanchak, and John Hina (Prime) on Native Hawaiian food security and using art to fight consumerism
  • Indigenous Pacific artists Rosanna Raymond, Léuli Māzyār Lunaʻi Eshrāghi, and Ricky Tagaban on Indigenous sovereignty movements and climate change
  • Smithsonian curators Kālewa Correa, Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, and Adriel Luis on curating for social justice
  • Scholar Lila Sharif on the settler colonial politics of food and decolonial strategies for eating
  • Radio host and scholar Surbhi Malik on diasporic radio and mentoring students’ whole selves
  • Podcast producer and scholar Emily Hue on Burmese performance art and the importance of public scholarship
  • Teacher and scholar Leah Milne on radical empathy, the “good trouble” of racial justice, and her pedagogy of discomfort
  • Game designer and scholar Tara Fickle on tarot in the classroom and the racial politics of games
  • Slam poet Karen Jaime on queer Puerto Rican slam poetry and the classroom as performance space
  • Playwright and oral historian E. Patrick Johnson on oral history, Black gay men, and creativity rituals
  • Fashion editor Francisco Galarte on Chican@ transgender style and the importance of queer Brown role models
  • Novelist and producer Felami Burgess on queer of color media representation and traveling for inspiration
  • Scholar Vince Schleitwiler on new directions for the public humanities and Afro–Asian activist coalitions
  • Healing justice advocate Tala Khanmalek on femme of color healing justice and self-care in grad school
  • Professor Zach McDowell on open access publishing and why “information wants to be free”

We partnered with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to produce two podcast miniseries:

  • Signal Boosting: A 5-part miniseries collaboration with the Association for Asian American Studies highlighting 5 emerging scholars who are building new audiences for the field of Asian American studies.
  • ‘Ae Kai: A 3-part miniseries collaboration featuring the Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Pacific Islander artists, curators, scholars, and activists of the ‘Ae Kai Culture Lab.

We hosted or participated in 6 sessions at the Cultural Studies Association conference showcasing the huge range of careers open to interdisciplinary PhDs beyond the academy:

Four Author-Meet-Critics sessions foregrounding the public intellectual work cultural studies does in the world, featuring Sunaina Maira, Rebekah Sheldon, Tressie Mcmillan Cottom, and Minh-Ha T. Pham

A workshop on Podcasting and Public Intellectualism

A workshop for Cultural Studies Job Seekers, which included mentoring for both non-academic and academic jobs

We delivered 23 webinars on topics including:

We published 79 articles helping interdisciplinary scholars rock their careers and lives. A few of your favorites:

We began two exciting new collaborations:

A podcast miniseries project with Philadelphia-based queer feminist circus arts company Tangle Movement Arts, including a live recording of their show Life Lines.

A webinar we delivered with Beyond the Professoriate on Using Your Dissertation to Build a Non-Academic Career

We worked with 61 clients on 70 projects, on topics including:

  • How the brief life of Afro-Latino artist Jean-Michel Basquiat foretold our current economic and cultural situation
  • Indigenous Canadian performance art on a global stage
  • Why we still don’t fully understand the history of the internet
  • Dancing swans and the kinky queerness of ballet
  • Feminist science studies in and beyond the lab
  • How and why WEB Du Bois’s shook up sociology and continental philosophy
  • How feminist sex toy stores changed the business of pleasure
  • Open TV and how queer, women, and nonbinary artists of color are remaking television
  • Bay Area Asian-American women artists’ transnational impact
  • The geopolitics of Korean diasporic performance art
  • How Afro-Swedish feminist activists use digital tools to fight racism and sexism
  • The creepy scope of algorithms and what it means to be a digital person
  • What oral histories of Native American students tell us about the future of higher education
  • The pleasures and perils of making it in the gig economy
  • How Asian and Asian American soldiers forged the decolonizing Pacific
  • Intersectional, transnational, anti-capitalist resistance to global cola corporations
  • Jewish-American feminist playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s legacy in the theatre world and beyond

And 19 IoF clients published books this year! (We loved working on these!)

Thank you SO much to all of you who supported us, hired us, appeared on or listened to our podcast, wrote for or read our blog, or created your own world-changing social justice work.

We are looking forward to an awesome 2018, thanks to you.

You rock!

About the author

Cathy Hannabach: Cathy is the president of Ideas on Fire, and loves helping progressive, interdisciplinary academics rock their careers and build the worlds they want to see.