May 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
About twenty days ago, I finished my first year of graduate school in history. Although I’ve only accomplished about a fifth of my quest for a PhD, I took the occasion to reflect on what I had learned, what I had accomplished, and what I have yet to do.
One of the most alarming revelations that my reflections produced was that I would have a hard time quickly and easily communicating their content to anybody outside of the academy. This compelled me to reflect further on the way that people in the humanities and social sciences communicate their ideas to outsiders. Frankly, we’re not terribly good at it.
I think that this is pretty sad. I went into humanities scholarship because I found that it offered me a powerful, fascinating way of examining the world. I think that the (frequently profound) insights that have come out of humanities and social science research over the past fifty years or so can and should be shared broadly, outside of college classrooms and university libraries.
So, in this blog, I’d like to share at least some of the intellectual excitement that I’ve had during my time in the academy with you– and hopefully also shed some light on what goes on in the humanities and social science academies and render some exciting and important research from within them clearer. I’ll try to be concise, compelling, and jargon-free. I hope that some of the things that I share will make your human and symbolic worlds more interesting and intelligible. Failing that, I hope I can at least entertain you– or make what I do a little bit more clear. If you have any specific questions about humanities or social science-related stuff that you want to ask me, fire away and I’ll try to address them as well as I possibly can.
In the next few weeks, I’ll start out by describing the major fields in the humanities and social sciences, and flesh out those explanations with examples.