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I'm Natalie. I'm a PhD student living in Northern California, where I research how stories broadly--and medieval literature specifically--can be used in socially constructive ways to counter racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and environmental domination. I get super excited by plays, concepts of knowledge production and transmission (really into the interplays between alchemy and poetry and knowledge right now), trees, fuzzy animals, fruit, and fabrics that feel wonderful.

@mike Thanks! :) If you're ever curious for more, let me know. Similar work is a growing interest for a lot of literature scholars, who each bring their own approaches. It's on the Other Platform™, but has some wonderful threads about the exciting things people are working on.

@Natalie Oh my gosh, your research sounds ridiculously cool; please tell me this isn't the last we're going to hear of it. I'll admit I feel a bit intellectually under-dressed with my measly bachelor's degree, but I majored in English and Religion/Philosophy, so "really into the interplays between alchemy and poetry and knowledge"? YES PLEASE.

@mattlaff
Thanks! I'm always happy to share more, when people are interested. :) And I'm a great believer that the degree one has or does not have don't necessarily correlate to their knowledge, curiosity, and passion. It sounds like you had a very cool undergrad experience, though?

@Natalie Well I for one am looking forward to hopefully hearing more about it, that's for sure. What led you to those areas of study?

Of course, I was being a bit facetious about the degrees (though it *can* be a bit intimidating interacting with so many super intelligent folks). I'm not sure about knowledge, but I like to think my curiosity and passion make up for a bit of my lack of educational pedigree :)

@Natalie And yeah, I think my college experience was good for me. Believe it or not, I started as a piano performance major before realizing I didn't actually want to spend every waking hour in practice rooms. Shifted to English, added Religion/Philosophy when I realized I had already taken enough to nearly finish the second major. Definitely gave me some tools that have helped with the deconstructing/reconstructing processes, so I'm grateful for that.

@mattlaff I'm a , non-traditional student who did like 8 years of community college before finishing my BA in English, because I had the most transferable credits in that. (Similar to your Religion/Philosophy second major.) It's going to take me a while for it to sink in that I even have a BA--I never thought I would get one. Grew up in a fundie homeschool world, where women's education isn't a priority.

@mattlaff Beyond my educational/non-educational background, many educational settings don't mix well with authority issues and insatiable curiosity. I took some time off after my BA, and worked as a case manager. As I looked into PhD programs (...what a phrase), I searched for programs that are open to creative mixtures, because I don't want to do only traditional scholarship. So far, the English world here has been very supportive. 😀

@mattlaff As for poetry, alchemy, and knowledge: this interest isn't unique to me, I'm happy to say! A lot of the metaphysical poets -- Donne and Herbert especially-- use lots of alchemical metaphors throughout their poetry. It's been really fascinating to learn more about alchemy, and how people thought around it and through it. It was a whole, elaborate system of knowledge that lasted popularly even among scientists, including Newton. Plus, it's like Ravenclaw crack to read the texts!

@Natalie Okay, I have spent basically no time thinking about alchemy, so you're really breaking my brain with all this. I trust you'll bring it up occasionally here? :)

Love the educational path you took, though. It must've been quite the struggle to fight through an upbringing that placed so little importance on women's education, and I love that you went out and got it anyway. With any luck, my own daughters will grow to be as articulate and driven and passionately curious as you clearly are!

@mattlaff
Thanks, Matt--that's super kind.

And maybe I should plan some weird alchemy posts that hit on the history of science! Not super great at using social media for extended thoughts, but it's a goal to improve at this.

@Natalie we gotta talk about poetry and the transmission of knowledge and Llullian tree diagrams for knowledge transmission

@Natalie i study German tradition martial arts from around the 1400s, which is transmitted via verse and explanatory glosses. My instructor/mentor is working a big theory on Llull’s categorization and Art as a framework to understand the sword Art b/c she is magnificent - it involves trees as a “library science” schema

How’s your Swabian? Mine needs a lot of work lmao

@boxian
Whoa, this sounds fascinating! I have so many questions. Alchemical texts do a lot of multi-modal knowledge transmissions. I wonder if there's some overlap and interplay? I'll have to poke around some. And my Swabian is non-existent, unfortunately.

@Natalie I’d be very interested in hearing about the alchemical multi-modal transmission methods and metaphors. Der Planetenkinder and the humours are “frameworks” that get referenced in the martial world, so I’m positive that there’s overlap tho no idea on where it is

@Natalie very cool. I’m reading the book, “Women who Run with the Wolves” and it uses story to recast vision for women based on folk writings and ancient oral tradition. Good stuff. Welcome! ✨

@Natalie hail and welcome to another Medievalist! That makes three, that I know of.

@Natalie and, your scholarship sounds so much more fun than mine.

@Natalie I don’t remember...
I mostly research parish and Monastic life and Spiritualities, particularly at the peripheries of power. I’m also into the food of the period, and household life and structure.
I also like dressing up in period cloths, so I’m a Scadian.

@Friarjohn
Those sound interesting, especially where they overlap with each other. And this was my first time ever seeing the the word "Scadian" before! 😂

@Friarjohn @Natalie were you thinking of me? I’m not an official academic medievalist but I am a HEMAtist/WMA person

@boxian @Natalie indeed yes! I have deep respect for HEMA and it’s work.

@Friarjohn @Natalie Atlantia upsets me greatly because it isn’t located anywhere near Atlanta lol

@Natalie Your studies sound amazing! I studied art history and philosophy and am interested in existentialism and representation – how diversity can 'broaden our horizons'. I'm hoping to curate spaces with a similar approach to you – wanting to share stories to increase compassion and counter oppression and silencing of minorities. I'm looking forward to learning about you and what you do! (especially if there is fuzzy animal content 😍 )

@katiem
I love this, Katie! So necessary. What kind of spaces do you do your work in? And what does the racial and social justice scene look like in Australia? Here is a fuzzy friend of mine, who is sensibly having a nap.

@Natalie It's quite complicated in Australia. Our current political climate is not dissimilar to the US, although it has less repercussions on the rest of the world. Our current Prime Minister is a church goer and therefore (apparently) a model christian. So all the conservatives love him and adore him as a man of God etc etc and yet the part he has played in the poor treatment of our refugees etc is horrendous and so far from loving our neighbours.

@Natalie racially, there is definitely a surface image of inclusivity as it is a very multi-cultural nation, but just like many countries the treatment of our Indigenous / First Peoples is heart breaking.

I haven't done much work in spaces yet as I graduated just over a year ago and the system here privileges the wealthy / post-graduate students. I am doing an internship with a space in NYC at the moment, remotely from Aus. It's ridiculous that I cannot get a chance here but can over there 🤔

@katiem That sucks so much, and I am nevertheless unsurprised. Unfortunately, even places with better records on some human rights issues still range from violently apathetic to flippantly hostile to Indigenous peoples (looking at you, Canada). I'm glad you're getting a chance to do some good work!

@Natalie Oh my goodness, Natalie! I'm so delighted to find you in the Liturgists world. I'd only heard a bit (from J) about your area/s of study ... what you've articulated here sounds wildly cool to say the least. I can't wait to read more, someday. Best of luck! 💯

@equustel
Thanks, Ali! I was so excited to find you on here, and it also made such perfect sense. Would love to hear more about what you're up to these days, both in and out of school. Also, PUPPY! 😁

@Natalie Yes, I'd say Jinx is the most recent major life change! 💗 My MA will take 2 more years (I'm secretly hoping the novel will finish itself in that timespan too, ha); after that, I've promised myself an extended sabbatical from all things academic/writing-related. Nothing but volunteer work with animals or something similarly mentally soothing and grounded. 😅

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