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Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.

Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.
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Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.




S5E2| Consent & Colonialism in Art: Khairani Barokka on Disability and Aesthetics

In the eyes of Western art all brown girls are the same. "Annah the Javanese" by the famous artist Paul Gauguin depicts a nude young brown girl with a monkey at her feet. She was his "mistress." In her PhD in Visuals Cultures Indonesian artist Khairani Barokka (Goldsmiths) uses her own art practice to question the inconsistent histories about Annah and to imagine her story in the midst of colonial exploitation. Okka and PhDiva Xine discuss disability studies, performance, poetry, and art...


S5E1 | The Price of Research: Dr. Elaine Westbrooks on Libraries and the Knowledge Economy

None of us in STEM or humanities should ever take libraries for granted! PhDiva Liz Wayne interviews Dr. Elaine Westbrook (Vice Provost of UNC Chapel-Hill Libraries) about the knowledge economy, peer review, and the invisible, exorbitant cost of journals. Scientists pay to have their articles published and then their universities can spend up to $40,000 on a single journal to make that research available to their community. This is an ethical matter of access and inequality on a geopolitical...


S04E22 | #NewProf Now What? Pt 2: What About Our Loved Ones?

More about PhDiva Liz's new job! What happens to your personal life when you get that coveted academic job and have to move away? We advance in our careers but family advance in age. Liz and Xine talk about how the academic job market affects dating and family. How are we treated professionally and socially if we are single versus coupled academics?


S04E21 | #NewProf Now What? Pt 1: PhDiva Liz on New Fears, New Professionalism

PhDiva Liz is now a tenure track Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering! After preparing for the job market, how do you prepare for the anxieties of negotiation and starting the job? In this first part, Liz talks to PhDiva Xine about the rapid professional growth that can only happen through this major career transition.


S04E20 | Not Your Apolitical Asians: Rachel Kuo on the Asian American Feminist Collective

Are Asians apolitical? What is the term "Asian American" anyway? PhDiva Xine talks to Rachel Kuo of the Asian American Feminist Collective about racial identity in online spaces and histories of Asian American political organizing. Rachel gives us insight into the latest wave of digital activism in the Asian diaspora galvanized by Black Lives Matter. How can Asian American feminists work in antiracist solidarity with other peoples of colour rather than colluding with white supremacy or...


S04E19 | No Degree Is Worth Your Soul: Ciarra Milan's Queer Womanist Theology

Grad school is trash for POC. The whisper campaign of academic trauma. Ciarra Jones's essays went viral in 2018, drawing from her experiences during her MA at Harvard Divinity School. This is not just about white antiBlackness or white fear about speaking out, but also how BIPOC students can internalize their own oppression and undermine others under the guise of care. PhDiva Xine learns from Ciarra about the hope, grace, and love those in progressive circles can get from faith practices...


S04E18 | Who is Scandalized by the Admissions Scandal? Interview with Maryam Toorawa

Who was actually scandalized by the 'scandal' about rich people using their money to get their questionably gifted kids into elite American higher education? PhDiva Xine discusses structural inequalities in US and UK higher education with Maryam Toorawa who works in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion and whose experiences span Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Oxford, Yale, SOAS. Initiatives to combat inequalities are vastly different on either side of the Anglophone Atlantic -- and the level of...


S04E17 | Thinking of Applying to Grad School? PhDivas Advice for Humanities & STEM

It's application season! PhDivas Dr. Liz Wayne and Dr. Xine Yao share strategies for applying to graduate school in the humanities and STEM -- and how to make an informed decision about whether to apply at all. A how-to advice episode that reveals disciplinary differences amidst the shared stresses of the application process.


S04E16 | PhDivas Talk Tarot: QTPOC Occult in the Era of Secular Science

Why are the PhDivas interested in tarot cards and the art of divination? PhDivas Liz and Xine separately delved into tarot: this is their first full conversation about their practices of self-care. The classic Western deck has been reimagined by disenfranchised peoples. Xine draws from her research about the importance of QTPOC tarot, especially the Asian American Tarot and Dusk || Onyx Melanated Tarot for the African diaspora. Liz the scientist challenges the dichotomy between tarot, forms...


S4E15 | Poetry for Everyone (including you!): Anne Simpson on Workshops and Weightlifting

Poetry can be for everyone! PhDiva Xine interviews 2017 Green College Writer-in-Residence Anne Simpson about dying well, pedagogy, and publishing -- and lifting heavy weights as a feminist act. Winner of prestigious Canadian literature awards like the Griffin, Anne has published poetry, novels, and essays. Featuring brief segments with Tiara Kerr (economics) and Wes Yocom (law)as glimpses into how a poetry workshop environment can be enriching regardless of your disciplinary background. How...


S04E14 | Ethics of Ecology: Saori Ogura on Crops & Indigenous Knowledges in Zimbabwe & Himalaya

How can we address global inequalities in this era of climate change? What disciplines, methods can we use – and how can we do this research ethically, collaboratively? UBC Forestry PhD student Saori Ogura is working with Indigenous peoples in Zimbabwe and the Himalayas to support their knowledges about traditional nutritious crops as a counter to monocultural cash crops like cardamom. Saori tells PhDiva Xine about her research journey from Japan to Berkeley to UNESCO involving agricultural...


S04E13 | On Being in Public Pt 2: When Our Voices Make Us Into Targets

Here come the trolls! Degrees, peer-reviewed publications, respect in the field -- markers of academic respectability do not shield scholars, especially BIPOC women, when people don't want to hear what we have to say. Remember PhDiva Xine's naivete in our previous episode? A month after recording, she tweeted a critique about Asian American appropriation of Blackness tied to the erasure of antiBlack, antiLatinx racisms when the media takes the Harvard affirmative action case as solely about...


E04E12 | On Being in Public Pt 1: 3 Years of PhDivas! Lifting Others, Lifting Ourselves

From ABD to the verge of becoming faculty: PhDivas Liz and Xine have been doing this podcast for 3 years strong! We had no idea what impact, good or bad, this might have on our lives as junior scholars. In this episode we reflect upon public scholarship from scicomm to public humanities to TED Talks. We're proud to build a public stage to help raise other women in academia -- and you can join in too! (Enjoy Xine’s naivete before listening to part 2.) Images taken from a gif by Libby...


S04E11 | Diversity in the Geosciences: Hard Questions for Hard Sciences ft Sara Cannon, Leonora King

Geosciences are the least diverse of all STEM fields. But is it enough to track statistics about gender and race given the discipline's colonial, masculinist history? Quantitative scientists experiment with qualitative methods in order to examine experiences at a Canadian geoscience conference. PhDiva Xine interviews marine biologist Sara Cannon and fluvial geomorphologist Leonora King (UBC Geography) about their paper that tracked posters vs. panels, behaviour at talks and on panels, and...


S04E10 | Who Cares About Violence Against Muslim Students? Wajiha Mehdi on Student Protests in India

The 1970 student massacre at Kent State is iconic in the United States and beyond. Days before the 2018 anniversary, at least 65 students at Aligarh Muslim University in India were brutalized by the police for peacefully protesting the police dismissal -- without charges -- of the armed Hindu nationalists who had threatened their campus. PhDiva Xine talks with Wajiha Mehdi (PhD student in Social Justice at UBC) to raise Western awareness of the protests in India by students, farmers, and...


S04E09 | London Calling: PhDiva Xine Will Be a #NewProf

PhDiva Xine is moving to London, England as a #NewProf! Liz and Xine catch up after an exhausting spring to talk about Xine's new position as Lecturer at University College London, differences between STEM and humanities public outreach, illusions of meritocracy -- and complicated feelings to kind cliches. "I always knew you would make it." "Are you excited?"


S04E08 | Conjuring the Work of Words: E. Andrews & K. Sellinger Edit a Special Issue on Blackness

Creating or conjuring? Junior scholars Emmanuelle Andrews and Katrina Sellinger were inspired by a public dialogue on the work of words between poet Dionne Brand and critic Christina Sharpe moderated by writer David Chariandy. Emmanuelle and Katrina co-edited a special issue of The Capilano Review extending that conversation on Blackness through their curation of essays, interviews, poetry, sculpture, and tattoo art. PhDiva Xine talks to these up-and-coming scholars at UBC about Black love,...


S04E07 | Alaska Native Narratives: Interview with Indigenous Filmmaker & Writer Kavelina Torres

"Dead, drunk, or dancing": Kavelina SnowGiggles Torres​ (Yup’ik/Iñupiaq/Athabascan) seeks to challenge the usual media representations of Indigenous peoples. PhDiva Xine Yao​ interviews Kavelina about her work as a writer and filmmaker selected for the Sundance NativeLab Fellowship. What can narrative do that documentaries can't? Yugumalleq/Shades of Life (2014) is currently on exhibit at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her play "Something in the Living Room" will be performed spring...


S04E06 | Who Gets Cited? Allyship & Alt-Right Attacks with Drs. Carrie Mott & Daniel Cockayne

Who gets cited in your discipline? What if exploring that question led to death threats? "Why these professors are warning against promoting the work of straight, white men" is the Washington Post's take on Drs. Carrie Mott(Rutgers) and Daniel Cockayne (UWaterloo)'s peer-reviewed article on the politics of citation. The alt-right was not happy. PhDiva Xine talks to these feminist geographers about the dangers of public scholarship, academic vs. mainstream media timelines of production and...


S04E05 | Othello in America: Prof Brigitte Fielder on Race, American Studies, & Academia

Race is messy, literally and figuratively, as Professor Brigitte Fielder (Wisconsin-Madison) argues in her project on the non-linear transferability of race in nineteenth-century America. Shakespeare's Othello in America became a minstrel play warning against the dangers of miscegenation -- what does it mean with Othello's blackface makeup begrimes Desdemona? At the 2017 conference of the American Studies Association, PhDiva Xine chats with Brigitte about anti-racist mentoring, pedagogy, and...