Happy New Year: 2020!

As you already know, technically, the new decade does not begin until January 1, 2021. It’s still hard for me to believe that almost 20 years of the new millennium has passed! I wanted to take one last look at 2019 before getting started with new projects for the year. Here are some things that brought me joy professionally and personally in 2019. What would you put on your list? Wishing you safety, good health and joy for 2020!

  1. Theory & methods

A presentation by Dr. Patti Lather at the American Educational Studies Association meeting in Greenville SC in 2018 introduced me to Brian Massumi’s (2018) book, 99 theses on the revaluation of value: A postcapitalist manifesto. This gave me a lot to think about.

I’ve been working to develop an understanding of Henri Lefebvre’s work on rhythmanalysis (Lefebvre, 2013 [1992]), which I first read about in a chapter by Maria Tamboukou in The archive project: Archival research in the social sciences (Moore, Salter, Stanley, & Tamboukou, 2017). Dawn Lyon’s book on the topic has been helpful to think about how rhythmanalysis might be applied in social science research (Lyon, 2019).

  1. An edited book

Publishing a book, I’ve found, always takes longer than anticipated. Thus, it was gratifying to finally see the publication of an edited book (Roulston, 2019) on Interactional Studies of Qualitative Interviews. Thank you to all the authors who contributed to this volume.

  1. Engagement with qualitative communities of scholarship

I’ve been fortunate to attend and present at conferences with students and colleagues over the past year, including The Qualitative Report conference in Florida, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and the American Educational Studies Association in Baltimore, Maryland. Invitations from colleagues have also allowed me to talk to Mirka Koro’s students in Arizona, Anna CohenMiller’s students in Kazakhstan, as well as researchers in other countries via the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology in Canada as part of their webinar series on qualitative research methods.  The qualitative research community provides continuing inspiration and numerous opportunities to learn, grow, and collaborate with others. Thanks to all.

  1. Reading and writing groups

This past year, I’ve been able to write alongside my students and read along with my colleagues. Doing this has helped me to stay on task, learn new things, and do some writing. Thanks to those who have shared reading and writing time with me.

  1. Teaching

One of the benefits of teaching is that you always learn from your students. This past year has been no exception. Thanks to Edward Muhammad for recommending anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Barracoon: The story of the last “black cargo” to me. This is an oral history with Cudjo Lewis that Hurston recorded in 1927 that was published in 2018. (That should cheer those readers who think their book projects are taking a long time…) Another highlight was attending a talk by Julian Boal on the Theater of the Oppressed. Thanks to Kathleen McGovern for arranging this.

  1. Thought-provoking novels that I’ve read

I try to make time to read novels, and have enjoyed catching up on several novels by Australian authors:

  • Peter Carey: A long way from home
  • Richard Flanagan: First person
  • Gerald Murnane: Border districts

Other novels that have given me lots to think about include:

  • George Saunders: Lincoln and the Bardo
  • Yu Hua: To Live
  • Yaa Gyasi: Homegoing
  1. Beautiful places

National Parks provide some of my favorite places to visit. My husband and I were very fortunate to be able to visit The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks this past year. So much to see and do!

  1. New things I’ve learned

Threading a loom using a Parallel Threading a draft with workshop leader Denise Kovnat was as difficult a task as I’ve attempted in my short time learning how to weave. This entailed re-threading at least three times, which suggests that going slowly when learning new skills is warranted. I started. It was difficult. I finished. It was fun.

In my quest to learn more about fibers I took a class with Kimberly Radcliffe on combing wool. We learned how to use combs and hackles, make roving, and scour raw fleece. More fun with fiber!

  1. Revisiting unfinished explorations

I first experimented with natural dyeing over 40 years ago (how time flies!). This past September I tried this again when I took a Natural Dyeing workshop in Atlanta, Georgia with Colleen Casey of the Chattahoochee Weavers Guild. We explored dyeing with black walnuts, goldenrod blooms, osage orange shavings, cedar and cherry wood shavings, cochineal, eucalyptus, madder, and logwood. Such gorgeous shades! So much yarn! Still more fiber fun!

  1. A completed UFO

I started knitting my first (and likely last) pair of socks in 2016. I finished the second sock in December 2019. It is not pretty. It is finished. I now know what dpn stands for, but I don’t ever need to use those again.

Kathy Roulston



Lefebvre, H. (2013 [1992]). Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life (S. Elden & G. Moore, Trans.). London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic

Lyon, D. (2019). What is rhythmanalysis? London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Massumi, B. (2018). 99 theses on the revaluation of value: A postcapitalist manifesto. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.

Moore, N., Salter, A., Stanley, L., & Tamboukou, M. (2017). The archive project: Archival research in the social sciences. London & New York: Routledge.

Roulston, K. (Ed.) (2019). Interactional studies of qualitative research interviews. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


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