Jump to content
Adelaide9216

Day 1 - Ph.D

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

so I just finished my first week of PhD studies, and I have to admit that I find the readings I was assigned quite daunting. I am reading Foucault for the first time in my life. It has taken me 1 and a half day to "partially" understand 2/3 of the chapter I have to read, and I am not done yet. I have to submit a critical commentary of 2 pages on Wednesday, I have started it but, I find it hard to summarize his argument. (I need to learn to do this asap because of the comprehensive exam that is coming next summer.) Is this normal? I'm also the youngest person in my seminar, and I feel like my past degrees and past university did not teach me how to read very heavy theoretical texts in comparison to my class colleagues who come from other disciplines than mine. We had to comment some readings this week, and I find that my comments were not relevant and did not have enough depth. 

Edited by Adelaide9216

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found books that explain Foucault's arguments for beginners, which has been immensely helpful. But, I have to think critically about his argument and I feel like I'm at a stage where I'm just trying to understand what he says before I can critically comment on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Adelaide9216 said:

Is this normal?

Yes. Reading theory is typically challenging, often painful.

12 minutes ago, Adelaide9216 said:

I have found books that explain Foucault's arguments for beginners, which has been immensely helpful. But, I have to think critically about his argument and I feel like I'm at a stage where I'm just trying to understand what he says before I can critically comment on it.

If one of them is by John Storey you're in good hands. I would recommend that you start thinking about Foucault critically as soon as possible. Try to avoid the easier path of criticizing him on your terms or for what he doesn't do--a trap that is easy to fall into when dealing with theory. Instead, look for a critical perspective that is informed by your experiences, specifically as a WOC. (There's a tension between the previous two sentences. I'm recommending that you find ways to square the circle. His writing fails/succeeds to account for issues centering around race and gender versus How do his writings address matters of race and gender? )

Also, you may benefit from finding scholarly / professional articles related directly to your field that grapple with Foucault. If you can find such articles, you may find elegant and succinct summaries of his key points and their relevance to your principal areas of interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Adelaide9216 said:

The professor emailed me today to tell me that my last summary was excellent. I did not ask for it. So it's reassuring.

Well done.

Try to ask for guidance on how your writing can be improved. Professors telling students that their work is "excellent" can be a tactic for educators to not teach their students the methods that will take them to the next level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.