my EdD module

It happens to all of us: emotional engagement with an academic text. A moment while reading when you experience, when I experience the ‘shock of recognition’. That moment when something you had previously thought of as personal, private, uniquely yours – and not particularly connected to what you thought you were reading about, has a conceptual frame. It has a name. It’s still uniquely yours, but it is also a shared yours. Reading James Pual Gee (1990, 2012) and his discussion of Discourses, struck a chord with me. Years later I remember that feeling of surprise and familiarity. How I understood equity, social justice and personal experience changed, slightly but significantly.

I am listed as Module Leader for the EdD: a professional doctorate at the University of Hull. It is a year two module timetabled for semester two 2016. I am listed as leading: Critical Empirical Research Methodology.

And I am keeping my eyes firmly on

  • Heidi Mirza, emeritus professor at the Institute of Education
  • Gurminder K Bhambra,   Professor of Sociology and Director of the Social Theory Centre at the University of Warwick
  • Shirley Anne Tate, associate professor at the University of Leeds
  • Sara Ahmed, Professor in Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths
  • Claudia Bernard,Head of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies at Goldsmiths
  • Joan Anim-Addo, Professor of Caribbean Literature and Culture and Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • and 10 others who I need to research and locate

That is, without any sense of irony, I am keeping my eyes on women whose sheer existence is an inspiration.  Black female professors working in HE in the UK. Not because I don’t understand that hard work and merit is what makes a difference rather than a disgruntled sense of entitlement, but because they are a reminder that it is possible to cultivate a space in the most unlikely of circumstances, and occupy it.

A Discourse is a socially accepted association among ways of  using language and other symbolic expressions, of thinking, feeling, believing, valuing, and acting, as well as using various tools, technologies, or props that can be used to identify oneself as a member of a socially meaningful group or “social network,” to signal (that one is playing) a socially meaningful “role,” or to signal that one is filling a social niche in a distinctively recognizable fashion.

I wasn’t born in a University. I prefer academic writing (controlled, thoughtful and considered) to academic conversation (unpredictable, chaotic and spontaneous). And sometimes, I have to make a conscious decision to act ‘as if’ being t/here is the most natural thing in the world.

Critical Empirical Research Methodology: my module

I now have a post-it note on the screen in front of me: when my academic male colleague – jokes about redundancies, or hints that there is plenty of time to change the timetable, or assumes his opinion or judgement have some persuasive authority over how I think, or speaks to me slowly and loudly, enunciating his words with considerable precision: mansplaining,

I remind myself – he would probably address Heidi Mirza, Gurminder K Bhambra and Shirley Anne Tate in the same way.

Gee, J. P. (2012). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. 4th editon, New York: Routledge


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