Why I am here

Blog Home    |     04.27.2017 by     |    


I am assuming the ‘here’ in the question refers to the public scholars seminar. So, my answer, although directed at explaining why I am interested in being a public scholar, begins by pointing out a coincidence, which is the fact that I have often asked that question in my educational journey. Particularly, in the last four years of graduate work at UC Irvine, the question has been recurring consistently. On the one hand, as I am the first in my extended family to venture into a Ph.D. program, I have had to resort to that question to make sense of the experience I am going through. In that sense, the question is a form of recalling the basic objectives I set as the reasons for getting a Ph.D. On the other hand, as I have gone through the program, and losing sight of the initial goal, the question has become a means of confronting a certain level of disillusionment with my own academic field. Meaning: originally, my interest in a Ph.D. was based on the idea of working in academia and teaching outside academia. In time, though, I have learned that within my field there is not much intention or appreciation towards public work. Yet, there is a strong inclination to value work that is overly theoretical and without any visible way of being applied outside close-knit intellectual networks. Such situation has led me to search elsewhere for a model and methodology to develop the kind of socially engaged work I envisioned originally. Therefore, to respond directly to the question; what I am doing here is attempting to find a model and information to better equip myself for what comes once I am beyond a dissertation project. And in whatever comes after grad school, I still see myself doing some form of scholarly work and public engagement; exactly what that would be in term of a professional career, I do not know.