Here’s a good list of things people undertaking research, need and should do:
1. have knowledge of what a research question is;
2. have basic subject knowledge in a chosen topic area, e.g., its major research questions;
3. develop a capacity for being interested in questions where the answer is nonobvious;
4. have the ability to inquire into one’s own core interests;
5. develop the project topic research question (with self-reflexivity and metacognition);
6. identify a thesis or hypothesis about the topic (one that is interesting and nonobvious);
7. plan the investigation (identify steps and continually revise methods);
8. organize research (including recording and sorting of conflicting information);
9. interpret research results (including results that are contradictory, disorganized, unsanctioned, or anomalous);
10. develop one’s analysis and narrative into a coherent narrative (gaps included);
11. publicly or socially present findings and respond to criticism;
12. have the ability to reformulate conclusions and narrative in response to new information and contexts; and
13. have the ability to fight opposition, to develop within institutions, and to negotiate with society.
…I’ll get into really good shape and have a camera. Things I know I don’t own are a tent and a mat. Things I now realize I should own are a hat and more of the right kinds of hiking pants and shirts. And bento boxes. And poles. I am not going to acquire all of these things at once but I want to be a mountaineer again and I need equipment now. I want Vibram soles too, although I suspect I fetishize these.
Here is one of my favorite pieces on the Ronell case, and here is the other. Both writers are far better deconstructors and are tackling a far more difficult topic than are Ronell and Butler chatting on a line from Aretha Franklin. On her scholarship, I like this piece by Martin Jay.
The MLA wrote us a letter saying they had accepted Judith Butler’s apology for the letter she wrote, and were committed to justice for all. I responded:
Dear Professor Gere,
It was disappointing that so many colleagues signed that unseemly letter – I would have expected better judgment from them. As people who have been in the profession as long as Butler and her friends have should know, such letters tend to be detrimental and not helpful to people under investigation. I do also note the professional harm its circulation will have done the student. I regret that people this indiscreet have so much power in the MLA now.
[P Z Realname]
As we know, I don’t like the words procrastination and avoidance, I like the word strike, and I don’t think anyone who has managed to get a degree is a procrastinator or an avoider. Still, after a few traumatic experiences on the tenure track I froze in fear. We are told to be cautious. I still fear that if I allow myself to get lost in the work, and to truly do the best I can in it, I will be forced to a death more painful than any torture I have suffered heretofore. I try to move ahead without really jumping in. In obedient attempts to avoid “perfectionism” I try to rush, skipping steps, and then accuse myself of “procrastination” when I trip and fall because of the step I did not build. We must take advice, but only standard advice, and not our own.
I have, however, finally found a piece of writing on procrastination that I like, because it speaks to fear, because it speaks to the issue of loss of voice.
Procrastination is a form of resistance to the flow of life. When we procrastinate, we are in resistance to our own flow, in other words in resistance to the call of our soul, to the energy of the Universe.
The piece is about living, not about producing, and about love, not self-control. It’s not from a refereed journal, just from someone’s website, and I find it quite interesting.
I read about all these professors and how happy they are, how independent and financially secure and creative, and I think:
- I should be happy and productive, and it is only my lack of strength that prevents it
- They are happy in places even sadder than here; I should be too
- I am lazy and not working hard enough
- What is it in my history that caused me to remain so impaired?
- What would I like to do with my life?
- What would I have done with my life had I not been so beaten down from the beginning?
- How can I right this ship?
and so on, and feel practically too weak to get up. Then it occurred to me to say instead “We are working a demanding job in difficult circumstances. We got here through life’s vicissitudes, and we have certain pleasures and certain power,” and I felt much better.
Before Reeducation I did not scrutinize my life for imperfection and I lived a much more perfect life therefore.
J. E. Pacheco, Morirás lejos.
On James Mill, progressive versus traditional education, and charter schools.
The other Foucault — what led him to politics?
Crackeros, novelists I should read.
I want to read but first I need to calm down. I don’t feel calm in small towns. I’d also like to live somewhere with bookstores, and other signs of intellectual life. On the weekends, I’d like to go out in nature. It wouldn’t be humid, and there would be mountains.
It is not what they do to you, it is what they can get you to do to yourself, is an important point for those of us who are dealing with misogyny or any kind of discrimination, really.
Another thing to remember is that although we are constantly told that most people can never admit they are in the wrong and that the sign of moral progress is to do so, even when you are in fact the wronged party, people lose respect for you when you apologize and you should consider not doing it. Do they? When they have in fact committed major crimes? They do not.
What I would like, though, for 2018 is to have more authority over the students, and therefore be in a position to be kinder to them or at least feel less wounded by them. In the old world, this authority existed in the structure of programs but now it does not. You have to be very, very solid in the bubble that is your courses, your world, and leave things at that.
I am on it.