LaTeX: A Window onto Another Way of Thinking

Last week, I worked with LaTeX, a formatting system that uses markup language to create documents, for the first time. The experience was: Not as complicated as I imagined, and Offered a glimpse into how the more technically oriented people in my research field think. The decision to use LaTeX was not mine. The organizersContinue reading “LaTeX: A Window onto Another Way of Thinking”

Becoming a Scholar

Since starting this PhD program, I’ve wanted to write an academic version of my personal mission statement. I assumed that if I dug deeply enough, or pondered long enough, the contours of Priya-as-scholar would sharpen into focus and reveal where in the realm of knowledge my research fits. My fixation on “figuring it out,” beliedContinue reading “Becoming a Scholar”

Escaping the Trepidation Trap

In the first sentence of his chapter “On Recalling ANT,” Bruno Latour lists four things that “do not work” with actor-network theory: “the word actor, the word network, the word theory and the hyphen! Four nails in the coffin” (p. 15). Apart from its bluntness, this sentence stands out because Latour is one of theContinue reading “Escaping the Trepidation Trap”

A Crack and a Relief

It happened. The crack, when “you can no longer stand what you put up with before, even yesterday” (Deleuze & Parnet quoted in Jackson & Mazzei, 2013); when “one can no longer think things as one formerly thought them, [and] transformation becomes both very urgent, very difficult and quite possible” (Foucault, quoted in St. Pierre, 2014). ForContinue reading “A Crack and a Relief”

On Assuming Mental Paralysis

A fellow graduate student recently asked me how I approach literature reviews. This question of how to find, read, and synthesize a body (or more) of research is central to producing good academic work. Yet it brings to mind Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in Gringotts, where every paper you read yields six more until you’re neck deep with noContinue reading “On Assuming Mental Paralysis”

Earn a Graduate Degree and Write a Thesis: Check

Last week, check marks sprouted next to two items on my bucket list: earn a graduate degree and complete an individual thesis. Before embarking on both journeys, I knew I loved to research and write. I felt like my mind, fascinated by such topics as journalism, astronomy, neuroscience, and colonial-era U.S. history, embodied the aphorismContinue reading “Earn a Graduate Degree and Write a Thesis: Check”

Keep Your Sanity While Learning to Code

Learn to code? The question populated headlines this year. The Atlantic‘s Olga Khazan set journalists a-Twitter after pronouncing that journalism schools should not require students to “learn code.” She insisted her opposition extended to HTML and CSS, not data journalism, data analysis, or data visualization, making her post’s headline feel misleading given that those can requireContinue reading “Keep Your Sanity While Learning to Code”