Professor Leigh-Anne Goins teaches in the Women’s Gender and Sexuality department. At the core of her teaching and scholarship is a conversation about belonging and belongingness. Due to being a sociologist by training, her classes address structures of power and how people attend to these social constructions.
A staple throughout her studies is knitting. This practice has interwoven itself with her scholarly pursuits as well as self care.
“I started knitting when I was working on my dissertation because I needed something as a distraction. What I found was that knitting became a form of self care, and not relaxation. I think that there are different ways that we use the narrative of self care. And so this isn’t about ‘Oh I needed to relax,’ but in order to deal with particular negative experiences, microaggressions, and in order to work through different experiences, I have to engage with taking care of my insides and not just beautifying myself. And knitting is one of the ways that I do that. The fun thing about knitting is that the cross body movement actually increases your ability to concentrate and you can think while you are knitting. So I could think about my dissertation while I was knitting, and then I could go back to it and work on it. You have a product also with knitting, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end and then you are finished. And that is so distinct from academia, since nothing is ever finished in academia; you can always make it better and you can always play with it. But knitting is like beginning, middle, end and boom you are done.”