The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Hello, my name is ….

July 9, 2009

I wrote my college admissions essay to the University of Chicago about a very bad country song (the B-side to a single) called “The Cape,” by Kathy Mattea. It is about a boy who ties a flour sack around his neck as a cape, and keeps jumping off the roof of his house … he “did not know he could not fly, so he did.”

Despite often being guided by a disregard for and desire to abandon traditional order, I found myself incapable of making a substantive post without introducing myself.

So, I guess, first, the basics: my name is Laura Sjoberg. I recently turned 30. I seem to have survived it, despite many friends’ insistence on still calling me 19. I have done some moving around – I grew up in the “redneck Riviera” (Florida District 1, in and around Pensacola), went to college at the University of Chicago (“where fun comes to die”), went to grad school at the University of Southern California (to work Ann Tickner, the greatest advisor ever), went to law school at Boston College while a Harvard Postdoc (paying for it by working at Lee Volvo/Jaguar), then spent a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke while finishing law school at UNC (RTP: where football goes to die), before taking a tenure-track job at Virginia Tech (little known fact: full name is “Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University”) in the fall of 2007, which I am leaving for a post at the University of Florida starting this fall (who says you can’t go home?). I’m building a house there, I think it will stick.

My research: my work is broadly in the area of gender in international security. Currently, I am interested in questions of how gender dynamics influence systemic processes related to interstate conflict. In theory (and if my editor asks, in practice), I am currently writing a book called Gendering Global Conflict: Towards a Feminist Theory of War. I’ve done a fair amount of editing (most recently, a special issue of the journal Security Studies, as well as Gender and International Security: Feminist Perspectives and (with Amy Eckert) Rethinking the 21st Century: ‘New’ Problems, Old Solutions. Currently, I’m editing the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of the International Studies Compendium. When I take time off of professional editing, my main research foci have been: feminist reinterpretations of theories of the causes and nature of war (see Gender, Justice, and the Wars in Iraq, as well as articles in International Studies Quarterly and International Politics) and feminist readings of women’s violence in global politics (including Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics (with Caron Gentry), and articles in International Relations and the Austrian Journal of Political Science). I’ve also (thanks mostly to Hayward Alker) dabbled in issues of methodology and potential interdisciplinary work in geography and IR (including an article in International Studies Review).

My hobbies: Florida Gator football (both of my parents are UF alum, I wore orange and blue diapers, my Chihuahuas wear gator shirts), Tampa Bay Bucs football (over/under on one win next season after firing everyone over 30 including the coach?), Lakers basketball (early guess: three-peat), fast cars (don’t currently own one), country music (mixed with a little bit of rap), model trains (there’s a room in my house dedicated to them), bridge, chihuahuas, cooking, making and framing large puzzles, bumper stickers (favorite: “talk nerdy to me”), theoretical math, scrabble, and, recently, getting yelled at by Wii Fit, ejecting it, and playing MarioKart instead. It seems I’ve also just picked up blogging …

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Laura Sjoberg is British Academy Global Professor of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway University of London and Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Her research addresses issues of gender and security, with foci on politically violent women, feminist war theorizing, sexuality in global politics, and political methodology. She teaches, consults, and lectures on gender in global politics, and on international security. Her work has been published in more than 50 books and journals in political science, law, gender studies, international relations, and geography.