Kristen Cochrane

is creating curated reading lists, cultural critism, and self-help lit
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Before contributing, you experienced life as a fragmented being with libidinal needs. Now you enter the Mirror Stage, where you receive:

-My bi-weekly newsletter.

-Access to my Close Friends list on Instagram, where you can view my stories that contain more personal representations and humour that is more bawdy.

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Beyond the Symbolic is the Real. The price of going to a show or a movie, but you get my two textual performances per month, rather than paying the discount price of $5. You receive:

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The Imaginary intersects with fantasy. Flex on me and show me my fantasy of what it's like to drop monthly $20s on cultural content. You receive:

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-An additional monthly newsletter if you need more readings and my writing to consume while procrastinating on work you actually need to be doing.



About Kristen Cochrane

Please see updates at the bottom of this page :)

My bi-weekly newsletter contains at least three* items:
-At least one academic reading
-An essay or interesting reading material that is not academic
-A YouTube video or interview (or film, TV show, or documentary recommendation)
*So far, my reading lists have been long

Each newsletter will have its own theme, and I will provide commentaries and contextualization on the materials. Think of it as a course I'm leading, but you don't have to write assignments! 

Suggestions or wishes for things you would like to learn about are welcome. Just message me. :)



My name is Kristen Cochrane, and I am a PhD student or doctoral researcher in my second year of the Film and Moving Image Studies program at Concordia University in Montreal. You may also know me as @ripannanicolesmith on Instagram, where I make critical theory memes wherein I use popular cultural figures from contemporary reality television (with a focus on The Kardashians, our own Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette of modern times) and 1990s-2000s American films from the genres of: chick flick, dramedy, girls in pastel colours who are mean to each other and themselves but somehow find a positive revolution (a.k.a. getting the guy...or job...or both?). I make these for a few reasons: 1) It brings me (and others, apparently) to a happier place during our preteen era when we worried about whether our bra stuffing was apparent. 2) I actually WISH these films had critical theory discourse in them. 3) I see people laugh and tag their friends in the memes, and I like to see people happy. It gives me a dopamine rush and makes me cry pretty often.

*Wikipedia donation article voice*
But I'm here to ask for your help. 

I applied to the PhD program of my dreams, and I got in. But because the humanities are under financial threat, funding is often like a lottery system. My entrance scholarships end in my third year (next year) and I have been rejected my the two main federal and provincial funding bodies. Like, I get it. When people are researching science things, it can be weird to understand how studying and researching popular cultures can lead to societal change. I have spent a significant amount of time working on these grant proposals over the past three years, and it's pretty demoralizing to not get some help from Daddy Trudeau. (Daddy?!). This year, I didn't even cry. I'm almost...proud of myself? Or out of tears.

I have been offered TAships and RAships by the amazing faculty and program leaders in my department. I am humbled by their kindness and generosity. But it is not physically possible (since I must sleep, take breaks, occasionally socialize) for me to work as much as I would need to pay my rent, groceries, tuition, and other expenses (I do my own Ashton Kutcher haircut, thank you very much). I can't do it all in addition to doing my research, learning things from the scholars I'm surrounded by, and sharing them with you via 1) Meme forms 2) Writing (which I usually only publish on non-corporate media owned websites and publications because they don't edit my writing into clickbait dung). and 3) *NEW and UPCOMING* Video essays, which I have learned to do from my department because they rule. This list is illustrative, not exhaustive.

Since my MA, I have been bogged down with some personal setbacks related to my body and health. I feel vulnerable talking about it and going into too much detail, and I'm also not seeking sympathy over the way my body works. I would rather you financially support my work for its quality and rigor, in addition to the very real notion that rigorous and carefully executed research related to social and cultural histories of gender and sexuality is a marginalized area. Even though there is a proliferation of discourse on sex (like what Foucault said!), the articles we see on Girl Power Dot Com and their contemporaries are often driven out of a neoliberal drive for sexual confessions—the analysis feels thin, and even though the editors sometimes message me, tempting me to sell out for my trauma porn, I would rather pursue historical research that can help us make sense of our culture(s), each other, and ourselves.

I chose this area of study because I think it has tremendous power in effecting (and affecting) social change. For instance, why are we conditioned to see certain forms of culture as bad or as guilty pleasures (like reality television, soap operas, or sports)? I want to be analytical and fruitful, without getting into cruel or unproductive debates about which public intellectual or activist has ~owned~ the other, broadcast on YouTube to make us even more angry with each other. I want to talk about, and share with you, the ways in which we can confront culture, which is political, gendered, sexual, sometimes fun, sometimes uncomfortable. I want to untangle the ways that we are made to feel small, insignificant, not good enough, not manly enough, not feminist or woke enough. I want us to be able to move past this current cultural moment of not being able to read things generously—that the author said things that are problematic, but what can we do with these things now? How do we make sense of them? And how is it that so many marginalized people have re-appropriated these problematic source texts to make their own pleasures, in light of a status quo that only provides very specific "pleasures" and allowances.

To research, teach (not just in class but through sharing my findings and analyses on the world wide internet with y'all), I need your support. Whether it's smaller or larger, I'm grateful. I am very much a "little donation" person, so I don't think you're throwing pennies at me if you want to send something small. 

My parents are really proud of me, and they love my memes and writing. I feel truly blessed about this. My dad reads my articles about gender and sexuality, and I have seen him extend kindness and generosity to others without expecting anything in return. My mom is the same. She will go out of her way to make someone's day if she can tell they are in distress. They have helped me by loaning me money but I'm afraid that I can't afford to borrow money from my parents anymore (because I can't afford to pay them back). It's my parents' dream to see me graduate with my PhD. They are baby boomers and I want them to come to my graduation in 2022. 

I'm reluctant to talk about what my current research project in too much detail. But I promise, you will know when its components are ready! And I can tell you about the behind-the-scenes nuggets of info that I find along the way. I am being cagey because I have to protect myself from being scooped. I really resent this logic of 24/7 neoliberal rushing to get the scoop, where allegedly no one will read your work after, but I also think that keeping it quiet until I publish my work (which will happen in publications throughout my program which will then become the 250 page dissertation itself). Basically, you don't have to wait until 2022—if I can financially afford to continue researching in this program, I will be able to focus on writing that I can share with you along the way. 

~ ~ ~ This page is under construction ~ ~ ~
And so is my Instagram, sort of. You may have noticed that it has been on a kind of hiatus for over a month. Honestly, I got addicted to posting those memes and making y'all laugh. Then I started spiralling because a lot more people were messaging me than I could respond to and I hate leaving people on read. I also have chronic hand pain from writing/typing too much and I realized that I needed some time to be entirely focused on my work research, without out any distractions (and jeeze, you guys send me such interesting things that it is actually distracting, lol).

But the current plan is to be BACK after Dec. 21st-ish. This is when I'm formally done my semester. UPDATE: I came back earlier. @ripannanicolesmith is live on Instagram.

Alright, I'm done for now.

Warmest wishes,

P.S. For consulting, please DM me with a public page that shows me who you are, like a personal website, a profile from your place of employment, etc. I am a consultant on contemporary culture, gender and sexuality, and adjacent areas. I can only respond to your message if you provide your full name, email, and identification. This is to keep me safe :) 

UPDATE! March 25, 2019
Starting today, newsletters will only be available the month they have been released. There are the two bi-weekly newsletters for all patrons, and then the special issue for people subscribing $20 and up. For the sake of fairness the $20 subscriber tier, the special issues will be $15 each.

If you want to maintain continuous access to the past issues, the $50 tier will provide retrospective access. Please keep in mind that this can also include a shout out of your art work or IG account on my story. In the $200 category, which you can sign up to and then go back down to $5, I will make a post with your handle and I will hype your art or cultural projects. This is akin to a sponsored post and it is an inexpensive price for a sponsored post.

UPDATE! Feb. 9, 2019
The proposed brief ASMR video where I would read and translate excerpts of Michel Foucault's posthumously released History of Sexuality Volume 4, Confessions of the Flesh (2018) is on hiatus because I have been having technical issues at the production and post-production level. Instead, what I will offer is a supplementary newsletter for subscribers of over $20 and over, which is the reason you actually came here. In the future, after my training in production and post-production techniques, I will share some "multimedia surprises" which could be short art films or video essays. I'm still plotting.

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