Hi. My name is Christine Seifert, and I’m a voracious reader. I gravitate toward literary fiction, mystery/thrillers, historical fiction, and nonfiction. I refuse to read books that have dragons in them. It’s a firm personal policy.
I’m also a writer. Sometimes I write books for curious young adults and history buffs. I write magazine articles about sex, pop culture, productivity, time management, history, and crime–but not all at the same time. Occasionally, I write academic stuff that nobody reads.
I’m a professor at Westminster College, a lovely little liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, UT. I teach classes in writing, rhetoric, public relations, tech writing, strategic communication, and the history and philosophy of science. I accidentally became a jack-of-all-trades.
My Reading Life
When I was ten, my favorite book was Blubber by Judy Blume. I read it so many times the cover fell off. I fixed it with masking tape and kept reading.
When I was twelve, I read every Sweet Valley High book I could find. I thought Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield were the most sophisticated people I’d ever read about. I thought Bruce Patman was dreamy and Enid Rollins was more interesting than Lila Fowler.
When I was fourteen, I read all of V.C. Andrews. It would take years for me to realize all the ways the books implicitly endorse rape culture.
When I was sixteen, I read Stephen King and he terrified me.
When I was eighteen, I discovered my college library. So many books!
When I was twenty-one, I took a graduate class in American literature and realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life reading books.
When I was twenty-three, I started my PhD program and met a friend who became my personal book recommender. She introduced me to Anne Tyler (by way of The Accidental Tourist) and to Emma Donoghue (by way of Slammerkin).
When I was twenty-five, I set out to read all the British “classics” I never read in college. I read Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy and the Brontes.
When I was twenty-nine, I finished my PhD. One of my professors told me I would never again have time to read for fun. She was dead wrong. I’ve never stopped reading.
I read whenever I get the chance–while eating, while resting, while waiting, while traveling, while I’m supposed to be working. You get the picture.
The Lady Professor
The “Lady” part of “Lady Professor” followed me from childhood. I’m not ancient, but I’m old enough to remember a time when it was surprising to meet a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist or an astronaut who was a woman. It wasn’t unheard of for older people to append lady to a professional title. For instance, “That woman is a dentist. A lady dentist.” They didn’t mean a person who only works on ladies’ teeth. It was a means of calling attention to how unusual–how strange!–it was for a woman to do what had previously been considered a man’s job.
Adding “lady” to a job also suggested that a woman doing it was challenging the natural order of things. Whether intentional or not, the oldsters of the time communicated to me that my options were limited because I was going to grow up to be a lady. As such, I could be a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher. And only if that didn’t get in the way of being a mother.
I’ll give you one guess about how I learned that sexism isn’t natural, that it isn’t inevitable, and that it isn’t right?
I’m a professor, a lady professor. And I’m not sorry about it.