Journal article Open Access

The dignity of complexity: Being human in political science

Parkinson, Sarah E.

The last conversations I had with Lee Ann Fujii had nothing to do with violence, research methods, or political science. Called unexpectedly to her mother’s deathbed in Seattle after a week of meetings in Washington, DC, Lee Ann was out of clean clothes and preparing to catch a hurriedly-bought flight. And so, on a chilly, drizzly grey morning in Baltimore, I left her in my apartment with a laundry card and ran off to a meeting. Returning home a few hours later, I opened the door to find Dr. Lee Ann Fujii—academic  heavyweight, author of burn-it-down speeches, and potential future tenureletter-writer—decked out in snake-print yoga pants and cheerfully folding my laundry as well as her own. Laughing at my abject horror, Lee Ann explained that she found folding freshly laundered clothes calming. And indeed, as our conversations turned to family dynamics surrounding acute illness, the #MeToo movement, and the intricacies of real estate acquisition, the smell of clean laundry soothingly lingered around us as rain pattered against the windows.

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