The first week of classes has concluded and with the next one about to start I am thoroughly intimidated by the semester in front of me — my last semester, at least for the foreseeable future — and while I remain cautious, I wouldn’t say that I’m afraid, or think that I won’t be able to manage. I just know that this semester is going to take a great deal of effort, and there will not be any opportunity for slacking on my part. For that reason, much of what is going to be posted in the months leading up to May 14th — when my last assignment is due — will most likely be rather deeply intertwined with my coursework this semester. As such, I suppose that I should go into what I am studying.
I must confess that one of my classes has already been mentioned, at least tangentially, via my review of The Fire This Time which, as it turns out, is one of my textbooks for Critical Race Theory. I’m taking this course because, while I’ve always felt very passionate about social justice, diversity, and intersectional and cross-cultural identities, I’ve never studied many of the structures and ideas behind these movements with the kind of academic and intellectual rigor that is provided by a university course. I was considering auditing the course, but I’ve decided to commit to it as a full time student for now, since I am only taking two other classes in addition to my capstone.
One of my other classes hasn’t actually met yet, but I am quite excited about it, as it happens to concern texts, translation, and ethics, and is a course that, according to the syllabus, “examines the impact of translation on the construction of cultural memory, identity, and historical narrative. It seeks to elucidate how translation inscribes literary production within a political space by challenging essentialist notions of language, meaning, and the subject. […] Ultimately, the aim of this seminar is to interrogate the potentialities and limitations of approaching contemporary forms of displacement and dislocation through the lens of translation.” While I have yet to attend a session, I can safely say that this sounds like it is exactly up my alley, and so I’m interested to see where this semester takes me with regard to this course.
My third class is the proseminar for my program, Theoretical and Philosophical Foundations of the Humanities. Seeing as how its the only class this semester that I am obligated to take whether I want to or not, I am happy to say that I’m greatly enjoying it so far. As much as I like to dabble in philosophy, I’ve never had any formal training, and so I’m excited to be taking this course, and I would probably want to take it anyway, even if I didn’t have to. During our first class, the professor brought up something that I have thought a great deal about, which is that while there are of course amazing scholars that come from a variety of diverse and intersectional backgrounds, the unfortunate fact is that much of what they build upon was created by white men. On a related note, for there to be poststructuralism or postmodernism there has to be structuralism and modernism, and there have to be constructs for us to deconstruct. A friend of mine once asked me whether it was worth it to read the classics, and I’m not sure whether they know how often I ruminate on this question, but I really do, and quite often. Perhaps I’ll write a proper post about it later.
In any case, my last class is not a class, but a project, namely my capstone thesis. I’ve decided to study the religious figure Brigid, who, as my paper will discuss, has the honor of being a goddess and a saint. Ideally, I would love it if I could later on turn my research into a book, but I suspect that will be a few years off. There are already a host of books about Brigid as she’s pretty awesome and worth writing about (it’s not like I would write my capstone about her if she wasn’t) but most of the books that I’ve found in my preliminary research are about her from a spiritual point of view, whereas I want to examine her worship from an academic standpoint. It might not seem like much of a distinction to some, but it’s there. For those interested in some of the more spiritual books about Brigid, rather than just the quick Wikipedia links above, check out this blog post for a review of a few different books about her, written by author/blogger/mythographer Sheena McGrath.
So! That’s what my semester looks like so far. It’s my last one, which makes me sad to say goodbye, but ever-more confident that I can make it my best, especially when I’ve got so many exciting projects in front of me.
As Ten would say, allons-y!