I have become used to "girls" being a fringe, underappreciated realm of study. I almost have responses ready when people ask "so, you teach children?" (like the airport security attendant who was rubbing my clothing and bag down for traces of explosives a fortnight ago), and I've accepted that prestigious universities will take the candidate with the publication on Henry James informed by the philosophy of Agamben rather than girls' genre fiction.
Given this acceptance, I didn't expect to be invited to a symposium at a university on the other side of the world in order to speak and listen to other scholars on the subject. I've generously been invited by Professor Clare Bradford, who is the current recipient of a prestigious Trudeau Fellowship, to attend the 'Girls, Texts, Cultures' symposium at the University of Winnipeg in October. A quick Wikipedia check (only for initial checking, not for actual "research", students) revealed I'd be heading to the coldest city in the world with a population above 600,000. So perhaps it's warmer than Siberia, then.
I know I'll be joining Dr Kristine Moruzi, who has just taken up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta (hooray!), Professor Mavis Reimer (from the University of Winnipeg) and a range of other international scholars from gender studies, education, psychology, sociology and international development.
I've put in an abstract to speak about British books and magazine stories about Australian girls. I have a list of a dozen or so such books written by British authors to confront at the State Library. But where will I find the time for that as Lindsay Lohan has just entered jail and I must maintain a candlit vigil by the television in order to await news of her potential early release.