Thursday, November 09, 2006

How much would I regret it if I just blew off my last semester of course work? I mean, yes, of course, I would go to class, but what would it hurt to register for classes in which I have no emotional investment? Do I have to actually CARE about my work? I wonder if I could find a dissertation topic that didn't matter to the world (or to me) at all, but was still palatable enough to my dissertation committee that they would approve of it. It just seems that it would be a lot easier to get through this process if I didn't care about the outcome of any given conversation, or if the matter under debate was something meaningless both socially and politically.

I don't think this is an unobtainable position, it seems like a lot of people around me don't connect their work to the world around them. They focus on one little slice of the historical archive with little regard to how that sliver is related to any greater issue. Or, at least, they regard the connection only insofar as they have to do a literature review--they would see no political motivation behind their work, and, of course, where I would argue that their "value neutral" position is, in fact, a political position, they don't consider that to be at all the case.

Because, really, despite the scholarship modelled for me by someone who (in her own words) revels in the challenge, I fail to see how someone like me can sustain this kind of politically and socially engaged work. While many people would characterize me as one of those women with "strong personalities," I think what they don't realize is that my assertiveness and determined inflexibility is actually a way of combatting an inherent fragility. I don't bend, I break. I either withstand the challenge completely, or I shatter into a million pieces. In this, I think one of my professors was correct in her assessment that I am not the "middle of the road" person that I sometimes claim to be. I find I am not able to give just a little ground, I give up the entire piece of property, then wonder where I'm supposed to live afterwards.

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