Uses This

1236 interviews since 2009

A picture of Amia Srinivasan

Amia Srinivasan

Professor of Social and Political Theory

in mac, professor, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Amia Srinivasan, and I'm the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford. I spend my time thinking and writing about epistemology, the history and philosophy of feminism, metaphilosophy, animals and other topics. I'm a contributing editor at the London Review of Books, and my essays and criticism have also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, The Nation and elsewhere. My first book is a collection of feminist essays called The Right to Sex.

What hardware do you use?

Mostly, I work on a 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro, though I also have a iMac 21.5-inch desktop in my college office that I sometimes use. I've tried on and off to use a paper notebook for note-taking, but I've never developed a consistent practice. (I loved using Mead marble notebooks when I was an undergraduate at Yale – especially once I discovered the value of taking all my notes in complete prose – but they aren't readily available in the UK.) Often I just write on Cambridge yellow legal pads and then tear out and file the notes in lever arch files in punched glass sleeves. (The lever arch file / punched glass combo is how I do all my filing.) For many years I've used a Moleskine 18-month weekly planner – large, black and softcover – as my main scheduling tool; it also doubles for notes in a pinch. The only pens I use since I was introduced to them over decade ago are Muji's Gel Ink Ballpoint Pens 0.38mm in black. At home I mostly work in bed (terrible for one's back but I can't help it) or in an armchair by the fire. In my office I work at a twelve-foot long Georgian D-end mahogany dining table or in a leather wingback armchair.

And what software?

It's about as basic as it gets. I use Microsoft Word for all my writing; I keep meaning to start using Scrivener instead but never get around to it. I've also tried and failed to use bibliographical software like Sente – I still do all my footnotes and bibliographies by hand, much to my own annoyance. It's a terrible habit. The one piece of software I use regularly and love is Notational Velocity, in combination with SimpleNote for iphone. I use NV to keep track of just about everything in my life: projects and next actions, travel notes, grocery lists, recipes, ideas for papers, film recommendations. It is synched across all my computers and my phone, and it's possible (when connected with SimpleNote) to have shared notes with other people.

What would be your dream setup?

A light-filled, high-ceilinged, wood-and-glass writing studio, on a beach with a super-mellow wave to surf. A daybed for me to work on, and for my dog Goose to snooze on.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.