Tuesday, July 12, 2005

This has been day two of the big Gulp, launching into writing a rough draft of the prospectus. I shall be meeting with the chair of my dissertation committee next Monday, when I shall actually be en route to Colorado for a two-week hiking vacation.

During the past year I have taught 13 classes, completed two statement-of-field papers, and conducted more psychotherapy sessions around these academic activities than I care to count right now. I have also facilitated the start-up in our town of a wonderful new anti-poverty initiative, based on a model from Ames, IA. It has been a good, productive year when I stop to think about it.

The key to completing a ph.d. really might be good old-fashioned plodding. I can honestly say I have broken through my neurotic writing block, mostly through following the advice in The Artist's Way (Cameron). I highly recommend this book. But I also have very honest psychotherapist friends who ask such unabashed questions as, "Tell me again, how many people are going to read that paper?"

As of tonight, I am optimistic. It is finally summer now here in Minnesota and I really have mastered sitting still long enough for something to come forth!


Saturday, March 06, 2004

Excited about adding a "comments" capacity, so, any friendly notes are welcome! Am getting ready to teach a new section of philosophy, ethics, to be precise. Love the challenge of teaching the soft universalism aspect that it permits, a wonderful synthesis of western humanistic thinking and what I consider to be perhaps the best "message" of anthropology - that the human race is made of the same blood, and its species characteristics offer a way to think about the future of humankind that needs not to include warfare. More succinctly, the history of the species includes not only warfare, and it is time that we collectively dwelt on some of the other potentials!


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Went to precinct caucus last night. First time ever, and was astonished by the turnout. A lovely Kucinich-minded bunch. Beautiful concensus about how U.S. military spending is out of grotesque proportion to the needs of programs at home, including for the federally mandated "No Child Left Behind" act. Present there: a young worker from the local domestic violence program who has been trying to contact me about going to grad school in anthropology. What would I tell her? "It's like a love affair - likely to be heartbreaking." "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" A highminded discipline that has increasingly had to look at the basest of human drives, including it's own desire to know the Other: to possess, to dominate. Which brings me back to the WTO (in relation to which our humble caucus voted on a more socially just form of it): no self-respecting anthropologist can look at this and other capitalist phenomena like it without detecting new and expanded forms of imperialism and colonialism. Who is being bought? Who is being sold? Thirty pieces of silver for a planet . . . .

Beautiful thought encounter of the day: at a meeting devoted to a practice run using a new ethics rubric to grade student papers for a campus-wide initiative aimed at assessing ethical reasoning, a colleague shared a Native American idea concerning a useful attitude towards natural resources: let us endeavor to think seven generations ahead. They cannot think of us yet, but we can think of them.


Monday, March 01, 2004

It's 10:00 pm and time to call it quits. I had several psychotherapy clients cancel their sessions today - possibility of freezing rain - and so I got to do some reading. Medicalization of deviance. Did some preliminary work on the condensed course I start teaching on Monday, revamping a syllabus from last semester. Got an update on an offer to teach another summer course, further east out on the Range. They want me to use a text already in the bookstore, versus one I've used in the past. This means several things, including not going to Colorado for a break until August, but that does happen to be the approximate highpoint of the wildflower bloom. As to commencing research interviews, let alone defending my prospectus, who can say at this point? The old dilemma, gypsy college instructor making slow progress because she needs to earn her keep! And keep several irons in the fire because there is no permanent job anywhere in sight! And what keeps her going? Tonight: lovely notes and quotes on the symbolic nature of medical signs.

I'm curious whether there are other ph.d. student bloggers out there, and whether this might be a way to share the trials and tribulations of this experience. I figure that any comments I get could help to constitute a framework that keeps me motivated. The theoretical joys of structure!


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