Power Structures, Discourse and Mentorship


by Deja Beamon

I never really saw myself as the mentor having type. You know, I was always the lone wolf. But I’ve definitely met people the last couple of years at Duke that have molded my mind. Making me into the “fuck shit up” confident woman I am in the process of becoming today. And one of those people is Robyn Wiegman.

I first met Robyn while enrolled in Thinking Gender, one of the reqs for Women’s Studies majors. Talk about life changing. Not only the various pieces we interacted with but also Robyn’s vast amount of knowledge about … well everything. I was intrigued by her confidence, teaching style, and knowledge so much that I approached her about being my thesis advisor.

Now, if you know me, you are laughing because I lack the self-control and dedication that goes into any type of long paper like project. But in all honesty, one of the main reasons I wanted to write one is to work with Robyn.

I’m currently in her Queer Theory class which is a great contrast to the feminist theory based class I first took with her. The first day, I showed my true feelings a little too much. When asked why I took the class, I went into a mini spiel about how obsessed I was with Robyn and how anything she told me I thought was valid and rarely challenged it. Embarrassing shit.

Throughout my studying of queer theory and feminist theory, we’ve learned about power structures and discourse. So it is pretty ironic that I would be entering these thoughts on Robyn into the arena of discourse that will be interpreted in any way the readers see fit (if anyone is reading this. Hello? Are you out there?) Ripped from my grip as soon as they are put onto paper.

I encourage anyone looking to challenge their understanding of the world (isn’t that what college is about?) to take a Women’s Studies course with Robyn and many of the other great teachers I’ve encountered (I would give them all shout outs but like I’m not ).

I’m excited to work with Robyn for the remainder of my time at Duke and hopefully ascend to that level of badass brainwashing teacher in 10-15 years. Let’s go!