In Heteronormativity is Hot Right Now from the October 7th edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, James S. Lambert, provides a valuable guide on how to properly introduce yourself to the discourse community.
A few choice highlights:
Never deviate from introducing your interests with the phrase "I am interested in," because this is what you are interested in. Really. You are interested in these things because they are interesting. Especially interesting is whatever your last long paper was about.
Here is a crib sheet of recent theoretical terms: liminal, heteronormativity, empire, postempire, trauma, narratography, post-new formalism, posthuman, specism, fecism, culturality, hybridity, hybridism, Lacanimal, bestiality, bestialism, bestialology, postbestiality, and so on.
Take two totally unrelated concepts, like bookbinding and waterboarding, and add "the intersections of" before them. This works really well for sexualities: "the intersections between monuments and masculinity" or "the intersections between transgender and Trans Ams."
Based his guide, here is my declaration of interests:
“I’m Kelly Kathleen Ferguson, I’m a first year in the Ph.D. program, and I am interested in the intersections between a structuralist model of frontier specism and the rhetoric of sexually-assigned chores, particularly as it relates the butter churn, the bovine, and the postbestiality construct of the American consumptive pattern. Before I came here I was working on a project with Judy Blunt at the University of Montana in which we explored means of survivalism in Western women’s memoir and where we pinpointed areas of domestic hybridity, and I hope to continue studying these junctions within the context of a posthuman anthropomorphic construct, and shame.”