grad school

Oct 042012

I’ve been a great defender of the academy as “a living archive” of ideas, some of which were supposed to have gone away due to unpopularity…Ideas kept alive and lively by impassioned scholars who can impart detail and vividness to the next generation. But I’ve also always suspected, and now want to insist, that it is also a form of social control. Suck in “the best and brightest”, absorb whatever privilege has caused them to […read the rest]

Jun 012012

I started writing a post about graduate school a few months ago. It began “debt, deception, depression”… I’ll finish that post some day, but today I come back to it for a different reason. Three of my dear friends are currently in graduate school. One met such distress in the first semester that s/he promptly became fatigued and ill. And my closest friend in the world is about to start. I am struck by the […read the rest]

Jan 282009

I simply MUST tell you (as if anyone can tell anyone anything anyway) about a recent BREAKTHROUGH I have birthed in my work life – with help, as is usually required, but not always taken best advantage of… Long ago (like at least two years ago), the ever-vigilant B.D. and I, upon returning from our computer programming class (once MIT put its curriculum online it became possible to take computer programming classes in Burning Man […read the rest]

Jan 252003

  amory’s 19-point guide to graduate school check out the new “guide to your supervisor/advisor”   Don’t try to read everything assigned in your classes. You risk destroying your ability and interest in reading anything at all. You will have to reread it anyway if you ever publish in the area, so rather than reading every word focus on learning the landscape and what is at stake. Write really useful briefs with heavy citations that […read the rest]

Jun 252000

Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes their Lives (2000: Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham) by Jeff Schmidt, a physicist and former editor for Physics Today. In the first months of graduate school at UCSB, Professor Tom Scheff told me that i needed to write down who I was “because you’re going to lose her and you may want her back some day.” I heeded that advice. I also […read the rest]

Jun 251997

Snake oil or Salvation?: Reconstructing Sociology Amory Starr & Tony Samara, c. 1997 Abstract: In this paper we attempt to respond to community activists’ critiques of academia, and of sociology in particular, focusing primarily on our political inactivity and the seeming contradiction between this inactivity and our rhetoric about our profession. Our concern is with the reasons for our inactivity, and we explore three possible approaches to explaining it. The first section focuses on our […read the rest]