This is part 2 of my sporadic series of thesis/essay tips advice — here’s the link to part one of the series


Introduction

I’ve been working on my thesis a lot lately. I’m transcribing the interviews I did this summer and boy oh boy is it rough. If you’re unfamiliar transcribing entails listening to something and then retyping/writing it. My interviews are only 45 minutes, but typing them out takes about 3 hours each. I find that the most challenging aspect of transcribing is being able to follow the conversation and type fast enough.

If you’re in the business of transcribing, there’s a lot of videos/articles on how to transcribe with Youtube and Google Docs,but I haven’t found these to be really effective. Since you’re relying on this free technology to identify the words, it becomes challenging to get clear transcriptions if the person has an accent, uses slang, or the sound is muffled. And then I tried just using Microsoft word and just listening to the recording, but with iTunes, I didn’t have enough control to slow the audio down and there’s a lack of precision in going back or forwards.

How I’ve Been Transcribing

There are options to have other people transcribe text that you send to them, but I don’t have the funds for that and I want to be confidential with my interviews as I promised to my research participants.

After a bunch of googling, I discovered this website called Transcribe (#notsponsored #ipaidforitonmyown #butyoiftheywannasponsormehitmeup). It’s an app that exists in your web browser. You can upload the audio, control the settings, create a loop of the audio, and type within the browser.

Compared to the other transcription services, it’s not actually priced that bad. I think it’s 20 bucks for a yearlong license, since I’m in anthropology I imagine I’ll get my money’s worth.

Here are some of my favorite features:

Image below: You can create templates of words — I use shorter words and then it will put the full word into the transcription. 

Image below: You can create a loop where the text plays and then pauses and then loops. It’s helpful if you’re a slow typer like me.

The UI of the website isn’t anything incredible, but it gets the job done. While you’re transcribing your interview/etc., you can also insert insert time stamps. This has been really helpful for me when my research participants say something especially profound or relevant to my research. I can really easily make a note of it for later.

When I finish transcribing (usually I end up with ~5,000 words for a 45 minute interview), I copy and paste my interview into a google doc. Once it’s there, I find and replace the I and P (which I use to designate interviewer and participant) to the initials of myself and the interviewee.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for my thesis interview transcriptions! I hope this post was helpful 🙂

How are you transcribing/managing your theses and projects? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @noireandco


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Introduction

Self-care gets written a lot online in a lot of different ways. Most of the time self-care is positioned as something simple and aesthetic. Instead of taking a shower quickly, you instead take a bath with a $5 Lush bath bomb and sprinkle rose petals on top of the water so it’s more “intentional”. I don’t mean to invalidate this form of self-care, it just isn’t super functional for me. 

I thought I’d use this post to provide my take on self-care I’m employing to improve my health in 2018 and improve my day-to-day resilience to stress and challenges.

Argue Less Online 

I spent a lot of 2017 arguing with people online (I’m genuinely quite proud of the many roasts I’ve dished out). As I’ve gotten more confident expressing my beliefs, I speak out against inflammatory opinions more and more. This work is really really important to me as I believe that  challenging oppressive and violent opinions is necessary to protect the humanity of myself and others. 

However, I end up doing a lot of the emotional and intellectual lifting that comes with educating and challenging other’s opinions. Generally, it’s really frustrating process where I feel infuriated most of the time. Whenever people on Facebook/Twitter are calling things out, I notice that it’s primarily folks with marginalized identities doing most of the labor. I rarely, if ever see a person with a privileged identity doing any work (If you read my post, A Critique of Allyship you’ll know that one of my issues with allyship are that most ways it’s enacted are performative and many “allies” are not interested in doing the hard labor undoing racism/sexism/etc.). 

It’s easy for me to feel like it’s my responsibility to challenge every and all poopy bad thing I see on Facebook, but in 2018 I’m not gonna do it. Instead I’m going to mind my own business so my blood pressure doesn’t raise and know that I’m not the only person who has a duty to improve the world around us. Instead I’m going to allow people who consider themselves to be “allies” to tag-in, instead of thinking that the responsibility is just on me. Hopefully that leads to a lot less stress. 

Make Time for Hobbies

I want to dedicate more time to things that improve my quality of life and make me happier. It’s easy for me to get comfortable in passive activities like watching Youtube videos or Hulu for hours, only to realize that I haven’t done any of the things that I wanted to do for the day.

It’s important to make time for relaxing activities where I can space out, but it’s easy to forget how much joy I get from reading books (since I don’t do it) or writing because I don’t dedicate the time to it. My life feels much more enriching and livable when there are things beyond school and work to do. This year I’m excited to read a ton of books by mostly women of color to grow my exposure to WOC sci-fi/fantasy authors and to improve my own writing. 

If you’re interested, here’s my planned reading list so far!

2018 Reading List


goodreads.com

 

Acknowledge Self-Worth

For a lot of women and non-binary people of color and folks with other marginalized identities, we are conditioned to not acknowledge our successes and to make ourselves small to accommodate the people around us.

Making myself small includes joking off my accomplishments, minimizing their significance, not allowing myself to be proud/happy, etc. I hope to be more comfortable with acknowledging my successes. If I’m feeling really fancy, I also want to learn to realize that my worth is not connected to success or the things I produce, but is something inherit within me. 

Most importantly, I want to work really hard to limit the amount of negative self-talk that I engage in. I fixate a lot on perceived flaws/deficiencies, so I would like to work on focusing instead on the things I do well.  

Organize

Organization in all aspects is a hope for 2018. I want my room to be tidy, my finances to be budgeted, and my life to make sense. 

I hope that organizing will help to quell a lot of the stress and anxiety that I feel on a daily basis. Additionally, I want to get more organized to reach the goals that I have, specifically about saving money! As an adult my spending is sort of out of control, so I want to be more responsible/intentional with the money I have. 

If you’re interested in how I’m staying organized in all aspects, I’m using Google calendar, a bullet journal, and YNAB (You Need a Budget) to get myself sorted. 

Invest in Myself

I think the best way I can invest in myself is therapy. This year I really want to repair the unhealthy relationship that I’ve had with food for a lot of my life. I’ve committed to working out in the gym again to help the poor relationship I have with my body at the moment and meeting with a therapist who is also a nutritionist. I hope in 2018 to gain a healthier and balanced relationship with food and exercise that helps me feel more confident in myself. 

Conclusion

Now a lot of these are gonna be things that take a lot of time because my self-care game is pretty weak for the most part, but I feel really encouraged at the moment. 

What are self-care strategies you’re employing this year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Noireandco


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[Photo description: Pink flower background and text reading “Feminism Series: Black Feminism & Me”]

Content Note: Internalized anti-blackness, sexual harassment

Background

I struggle to identify with the mainstream feminist movement. The flaws in the mainstream feminist movement particularly the maintenance of White supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and lack of diversity in leadership, transphobia, racism have put me off from the banner of mainstream feminism.

I acknowledge that there will be flaws and gaps in this essay as I am one person writing, editing, and researching the information for these works. As I am an anthropologist (in training), it’s important that I recognize my positionality in writing this piece. I write this essay from my position as a Black womxn from a low-income background with disabilities. My critique and disappointment with the feminist movement is grounded in my identity and the racism, sexism, classism, and ableism I have faced in my life. This series of essays will be grounded in contextualized historical and academic texts to support my argument that mainstream feminism is not good enough to exact meaningful, collective change.

This is little offshoot of my four part series on Feminism in the United States, if you haven’t already read part one A Brief History of First Wave Feminism  and part two Exploring Second Wave Feminism in the U.S. for some background! If you’ve enjoyed this series and appreciate the intellectual labor that went into its production, please consider supporting Noire & Co. on Patreon!

Introduction

[Image description: Black and white video of Malcolm X with yellow text reading “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.”]

The neglect, disrespect, and lack of protection for Black women has been evident in our exclusion from the feminist and racial justice movements. The American feminist movement has failed to address the intersecting oppressive systems that affect the marginalization of Black women in the United States. Solely addressing gender or racial discrimination fails to address the sexualized racism and racialized sexism that Black women face. Black women are not able to find support from White women who have perpetuated racism and devalued Black womanhood. Additionally, movements to disrupt and destroy mechanisms of Black oppression have centered the experiences of Black men at the expense of women 1Kia M. Q. Hall. “A Transnational Black Feminist Framework: Rooting in Feminist Scholarship, Framing Contemporary Black Activism.” Meridians, vol. 15, no. 1, 2016, pp. 86–105. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/meridians.15.1.06.

Black women have always been feminists as our forced presence in this country has necessitated resistance both in public and private spaces to advocate for our humanity and right to exist.

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You walk in. It’s dark. The industrial inspired light features are dimmed to the point of absurdity. It’s the ambience you would expect in a night club, but that’s not where you are. You squint your eyes to make out the menu. It’s in a small, tight script that makes it even harder to sleuth out the prices.

“5 dollars for a 12 oz. ?!,” you grumble incredulously to yourself.

The employees eye you as you pull out your wallet. It’s filled to the brim with receipts that crumble onto the counter as you pull out your debit card. You try to awkwardly laugh off your embarrassment. They eye you up and down and go back to talking about something interesting.

As you swipe your card you finally take a look at your barista, their eyeliner is perfectly sharp, hair styled carelessly and carefully, their aesthetic reminds you of something from tumblr or instagram.

You look down at your basic t-shirt and jeans and curse yourself for not picking an outfit that better expresses how cool you are.

After paying for your drink and trying to avoid the plethora of dogs that sit by their owners feet that hope for a scrap of their owners’ flaky croissant to fall on the ground. The dog is shedding. Is it okay with the health department to even have dogs in a coffeeshop. It seems gross, but that dog is a good boi.

You pick up your drink and hesitantly take a sip. It doesn’t taste like your usual overcomplicated drink from Starbucks (you were too nervous to ask the baristas if they could take off the foam and add more pumps of syrup to your drink). It’s bitter and sad and tastes like something you would drink after you’ve given up.

Looking down at the cup with a shrug, you decide to grin and bear it. You’ve already spent 5 dollars and it’s too late know to tell cooler than you barista that maybe the locally sourced Chai tea latte tasted a little too much like leaf water for your taste. But it’s okay…right? You’re a cool, hip young professional.

So you head over to the way to small coffee bar that’s really a reclaimed, vintage wooden dresser and try to add some sweetener to your drink. Except there is none. You see a clear liquid sitting on the counter. Is it water? Is it the clear life essence of the people who were not cool enough to be in this coffeeshop. Oh no, am I the next person who turns into clear life elixir. Who adds water to a drink? Does more water make the leaf water taste better? You take the bottle and put some of the liquid on your finger. It’s simple syrup…nice.

You look around before adding the heaps of sugar water to your drink. From the corner of your eye, you can see cool guy with Benjamin Franklin glasses looking your direction. He looks unimpressed. Is it directed towards you? Either way he doesn’t look happy. You shield your chai from his line of sight, so he can’t judge you for the ridiculous amount of sugar you’re pouring into the cup. It’s already been 30 seconds of squeezing the simple syrup in the cup. You take a sip, hoping that it finally tastes better. It doesn’t. Know it tastes like sickly sweet leaf water.

You give up and head to a table. They’re all full of people typing away at their laptops, you avoid looking at any of them. Instead, you move to the closest table and pull out a chai. As you pull, the legs of the chair stratch against the aesthetially stained wooden floor loud enough to rival the explosion of the Yellowstone supervolcano. You sit down and try to unzip your backpack, but the zipper is stuck. You pull and pull and the zipper makes the loud zippy sound. It’s embarrassing. You silently berate your backpack for making a fool out of you. Doesn’t your backpack love and care about you? But then you remember how it’s a biking backpack and you haven’t ridden a bike in 10 years and maybe the backpack feels betrayed that it never gets to feel the wind in its hair and now you think “Maybe the backpack is right”. You decide to take it up with your backpack once you’re out of the coffeeshop.

You’re almost ready to start working. Chai on table, backpack in the adjacent chair, and now all you need is your planner and computer. You pull out the small pouch you keep in your backpack full to the brim with nice pens. You’re searching for your favorite pen. It’s the Pigma Micron with the .25mm tip in black. It’s the perfect $1.50 pen to write in your $25 planner. You push the calligraphy pens, glitter gel pens, mechanical drafting pencil, two swedish erasers, three different kinds of washi tape, two midliners, e one highlighter, and either different Pigma Micron pens out of the way, but you can’t find THE PEN.

You give up and decide that the Pigma Micron with the .25 mm tip in sepia will have to suffice.

You sit click-clacking away on your computer, but mostly watching Netflix. You’re in the zone. Focused. Driven. Only slightly distracted. Until,

The barista takes the aux cord and starts a playlist. It sounds good at the beginning, it has a beat that you can tap your feet to and then all of the singer starts singing in French and now someone else is mumbling on the track and then outside you see that there’s a street concert and the DJ is blasting Ludachris while making loud neon lights flash and now the coffeeshop is ruined by these two clashing aesthetics.

You leave.

You throw the $5 drink away.

You find the nearest Starbucks and buy you’re too expensive drink. Here no one can judge you. It’s a bunch of people having business meeting, other college kids working, and people sitting on their phones watching Youtube videos. You indulge in the quiet of a manufactured, maintained environment. It is a sterile aesthetic. You feel safe.

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