Ruby C. Tapia

Jul 21, 2022

The Cornell Sweatshirt Tweet

A Discussion with Ruby C. Tapia

New Books Network 2022

Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Dr. Ruby Tapia’s viral Cornell sweatshirt tweet.
  • How witnessing domestic violence, and the aftermath of her father’s suicide, influenced her decision to go to college far from home.
  • Difficulties she faced freshman year both on and off campus.
  • The professor who called her in to office hours, and how that changed her academic path.
  • The meaning she’s made of these experiences, and how they changed her.
  • Her hopes for future generation of college students, including her own daughters.


Our guest is: Dr. Ruby C. Tapia, who is Chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, and Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan. Her work engages the intersections of photography theory, feminist and critical race theory, and critical prison studies. She is co-editor of Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States, co-editor of the University of California book series Reproductive Justice: New Visions for the 21st Century, and author of American Pietàs: Visions of Race, Death and the Maternal. Her current book project, The Camera in the Cage, interrogates the intersections of prison photography and carceral humanism and puts forth an argument and methodology for abolitionist aesthetics. She has facilitated creative writing workshops via the Prison Creative Arts Project at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Michigan, is a member of the Theory Group Think Tank at Macomb Correctional Facility for men and is the lead faculty member of the Critical Carceral Visualities component of the Documenting Criminalization and Confinement project at UM's Humanities Collaboratory.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the co-producer of the Academic Life.

Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Here on the Academic Life channel, we embrace a broad definition of what it means to be an academic and to lead an academic life. We view education as a transformative human endeavor and are inspired by today’s knowledge-producers working inside and outside the academy. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DMs us on Twitter: @AcademicLifeNBN.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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