Lorna Bracewell is a political theorist and an assistant professor of political science at Flagler College. Her scholarship focuses on feminist theory and the history of political thought and has been published in academic journals like Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and popular forums like The Washington Post. Her book, Why We Lost the Sex Wars: Sexual Freedom in the #MeToo Era (forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press in spring 2021), offers a revisionist history of the feminist sexuality debates of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s foregrounding the influence of liberal concepts such as freedom of expression, the public/private divide, and the harm principle. It is slated for release in Spring 2021.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is having a front-row seat to the phenomenon of self-discovery. Seeing a student understand a new idea, arrive at a new insight, or unlock a power or an ability they didn’t realize they had is like watching a homerun fly over the center-field fence. It’s exciting!
What made you want to go into teaching?
All of the wonderful teachers I had played a big part in me wanting to become a teacher myself. When you’re young, adults tend not to take you very seriously. But teachers are different. They listen to you when you speak. They read and maybe even criticize the words you write. They challenge you to do better and think more deeply. Being taken seriously in those ways was very important to me when I was young. I suppose I wanted to become a teacher so I could give the gift of being taken seriously to others.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been self-confidence. Like a lot of people in academia (and probably everywhere), I struggle with impostor syndrome. I have to continually remind myself that I actually know quite a lot about political science, that that knowledge is important and useful, and that I deserve to be behind a lectern teaching people things. You’d think after earning a Ph.D., publishing a bunch of articles, and getting called “professor” all the time I’d be over it. Nope.
Who has been your biggest influence?
I have been blessed with so many amazing mentors that it is hard to single out just one. My mom’s example has been very important to me through the years. My mom is a voracious reader who loves history and is curious about the world and everything in it. She is also extraordinarily kind and generous. If you’re familiar with the idea of “love languages,” acts of service is most definitely hers. I don’t know if she is my “biggest influence,” but my mom is definitely someone I strive to emulate.