Tuesday, March 21, 2023

graduate school vision ( notation )

I am going to start posting more flexible and less formal pieces on option3 with "notation" or N in parentheses.  I am applying to new school.  One elite one-year social science MA application has an answer box called "short answer", which prompts you to discuss in 3 or 4 paragraphs the newness of your voice and challenges you have overcome.  Here is response with major edits.  It is slightly different from what I am trying to accomplish with option3.  But it heavily inform option3.  In many ways, these paragraphs capture where my academic idea sit today.

"I have a peculiar voice – a rare amalgamation and a severity of differences that I have sought to harmonize in hopes to create something valuable.  I am half Mexican American; I am ADHD; I am heavily impacted by the traditional Lakota way of life; and yet I am still committed to Western knowledge – that of the so-called dominant society.  These knowledges perhaps never meant to harmonize.  I obtain the term ‘dominant’ from a relative.  It is a problematic yet insightful term.  

The core allegiance for the academic is knowledge.  A central tool in handling and transmitting knowledge is language.  As historians and anthropologists, we also study ideology and linguistics as subjects themselves.  When I understood the linguistic turn under Saussure, I was shocked.  That we might only exist relationally and not essentially was decentering to me.  Hume’s own anti-essentialism produced the same result.  It challenges my intuitions and beliefs.  I returned to school to study Lacan and Žižek; I had no idea how serious the implications were.

My interest is how Western society can disentangle itself from its own existential risks such as biospheric risks, governance failure, nuclear war, food insecurity, and planetary oxygen failure; I have included two related footnotes.  These are long-term research interests that exceed what a thesis can accomplish.  These questions operate decidedly through Western knowledge.  While the Euro-centric psychoanalytical turn needs decentering, if it can be decentered, it offers a synthesizing and totalizing potential to address these risks.

My ultimate project, hopefully at the doctoral level, involves a confrontation with economics – the most damaging and elusive framework.  My recent epistemology course delivered an idea for a dissertation that comes full circle on my work on ‘post-normal’ science and ‘arrationality’.  Behavioral economics has invalidated epistemic assumptions about internal rationality.  I want to leverage Quine and naturalized epistemology to examine epistemic assumptions about external rationality.  In applying unusual knowledge systems – such as from the East, the Americas, or antiquity – to economic data, we may find novel yet empirically sound results that confirm patterns that economists have resisted.

Rockström, Johan, et al. “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity.” Ecology and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, 2009

Giddens, Anthony. Runaway World: How Globalization Is Reshaping Our Lives. 1st ed., Routledge, 2000."