autobiographical blurb

Thu, 22 Dec 1994 11:17:31 EST

Danny's tabulation of participation on the anthro list quite
surprised me. I had not realized I was a "lurker," and not
a participant--particularly since I think of this as "my list."
And I think of so many of you as real people with booming personalities,
oftentimes heaps of good sense, and (this, too) as kindred wearers
of hearts-on-sleeves.

However, I think it was a bit more than a year ago that Hugh changed
the response command so replies go to sender and not to list. Most
of my input then has been one-on-one because a copy to list is
clumsy given my software. So....overdue though it is, here's the bio
Maureen Korp (aka, Micki) is not an anthropologist.
I am however variously described as an ethno-historian, a religious
studies person, native religions specialist, social historian,
generalist, interdisciplinary specialist....and poet. I think of
myself as a historian (but, yes, I do work seriously at poetry
and wish I had more time for that)--history of religions, history
of art, and the crossover area of topophilia, which led me into
North American native religions.

I love teaching. I love the classroom more than anything I have
ever done in my life so I am greedy. I want to teach more--not
less. That is why at age 40, having taught adjunct courses in
art history and appreciation for years every chance I had, I
looked at my daughter (raised by me on my own since she was two)
and realised she was 14, the end was in sight--oh glory day! I
could make another run at that PhD, and this time finish it. I
had dropped out of grad school twice before--once to marry, once
to divorce--but I really and truly still wanted to be a teacher.

My income before, after, and since those life events had been
eked out by working in a number of community-based, federally
funded programs many of us will remember by the acronyms--OEO, Model
Cities,Safe Streets, CETA, HeadStart, WIC, and etc., etc. My
particular skill was an uncanny ability to read between the lines
of the Federal Register. It made me a useful person to have
around, so no matter how eccentric the funding cycles I had a
paycheck with which I could support my daughter and myself.

Late in 1980 however, the level of neighbourhood violence in
Trenton had reached a new peak with drive-by shootings plus
packs of children swarming any single person on the street.
I ran. I grabbed my kid and ran.
For years I had been telling her bedtime stories about places
with neighbourhoods where people sat on porches, and there
were stores on the corner where you could go buy a loaf of
bread for your mother, and ride a bicycle to school. And
that is why at the end of 1980, my daughter and I came to
live in Ottawa, Ontario. I was right about all those things:
Maggie could and did ride a bicycle to school in Ottawa. She also
learned to skate and ski and go wilderness camping and read
Latin and French--and she's engaged to a terrific guy from
northern Ontario. My daughter has become Canadian in all the
best ways, I think.

I, however, remain a border-straddler. When my hunger for a
classroom returned, it was because I knew I had done what I
was supposed to do as a mother, but I still had work to do
which mattered to me. I grew up as an Army Brat. Before I was
16 years old, we had moved 13 times. Cold War moves, hurry up,
relocate, and wait moves--Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Oklahoma,
Texas, and other exotic places like that. When I entered
university (Douglass College, class of 1966, philosophy), I
was the first one in my family to go to school, I was a scholarship
student, and I had never been on a college campus. I had crossed
the ocean alone to get to that campus and I was in a state of
culture shock for years thereafter. My teachers got me through.
Certainly not my family. Always it was my teachers who carried
me, always it was my teachers who made it plain they
delighted in watching me learn. So I learned. A lot. I was
not an A student. I always bit off far more than I could
chew as an undergraduate. However, those ideas I had then are the
ideas I pursue now. I just had to grow into (or up to) them!

Graduating from Douglass in 1966, I entered NYU in Philosophy,
that year, and soon dropped out. In 1976 (after occasional
courses at VCU and Ol'Miss), I finished an AM in Art History
at Rutgers. That was followed by a diploma in public
administration courtesy the US Dept.of Labor. In 1985, Univ.
of Ottawa did not accept any of my courses as equivalent to
theirs and,as Religious Studies was one of the few doctoral
programs I had any hope of completing in English, I started
again at the fourth-year level of undergraduate courses,
completing an MA in religious studies in 1987 with a thesis
on burial mounds, and a PhD in 1991 in religious studies.
Followed that with a nifty two-year post-doctoral fellowship,
and was named an AAR/Lilly teaching fellow last year and
this year I was named an alternate in the US/Canada Fulbright
competition. (I'm now a dual US/Canada citizen. I vote early,
often, and everywhere.)

Several books, including:
_The Sacred Geography of the American Mound Builders_(1990).
_Buffalo and Garden: The Contemporary Artist's Sacred Landscape_ (in press).
_Eye of the Artist: Shamanism and Contemporary Arts_ (in progress, only
two more chapters to write!)
I remain however the perennial job applicant--in part because I am
all grown up (and nearly 50), in part because I am a nontraditional
PhD--native religions and not myself native. Fortunately, I live
in Canada. Universal health insurance and membership in a nonprofit
housing co-op make it possible for me to teach and write and dream.
And the anthro list provides community. I am grateful.
With all best wishes to everyone,
Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa