Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Required Reading: Selfhood, Identity, and Enculturation

Dr. Crazy, at Reassigned Time, offered up the post that kicked off this whole endeavor, and so I'll begin this section on the processes of identity formation, selfhood, and enculturation into academia by linking her three consecutive posts on the subject.

Readers will perhaps note that I have included no posts of my own here, and thus far, I've had little to say about graduate education. But let me lightly shape the below links by noting that for many many of those who do graduate degrees, the process of developing an academic identity is at least simultaneous with the process of developing a fully formed adult identity. While in the call for posts, I think I suggested that this could be a crushing process, I think most of us would agree that the years from, say age 22-32 can be crushing in many many ways, and that academia simply gives one shape to the ways that identity formation and enculturation happen, a shape that I'd argue can usually be pretty amenable to letting foibles, quirks, and any number of other lovely little curlicues of personality develop freely. All that said, the posts that follow will help the reader see some of the shapes--crushing, infuriating, and even liberating as they may be.

First, Negative Capability at Mansion of Many Apartments describes the academic life cycle.

Next, a collection of posts on midsets for surviving: Sisyphus at Academic Cog offers the knife and spoon metaphor.

Undine at Not of General Interest coins a motto: Catch Up, and then reminds students that even those with whom you're catching up sometimes have feet of clay.

At her old blog, Dr. Crazy ponders "thinking outside the box" as a recipe for success, but also recommends the very useful "Growing-the-fuck up."

Jane Dark at Rome-Colored Glasses offers up a slightly less snarky extension of this line of thinking, and considers the hybrid student/professional status of the graduate student (for more, see the below post on professionalization).

Lumpenprofessoriat gives it to us straight with horror stories.

Significantly, La Rebelde at Suenitos de Una Rebelde reminds us of the vectors of culture and identity that crisscross any graduate experience with struggle.

Finally, two responses to Dr. Crazy's opening responses about becoming an academic, both laced with hope. JB at Age of Perfection remembers to love reading, among other crucial realizations in this little rambling gem, while at Practica, Tiruncula's excellent series of posts on her very positive experience of growing into academia leave us with a note of optimism that even the most successful academic can reach that place without the crushing angst that seems to lurk at the edges (and for some, at the center) of graduate school experience.

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