On teaching not to transgress, or Not embodying ‘real utopias’, or My first lecture

‘Real utopias can be found wherever emancipatory ideals are embodied in existing institutions, practices, and proposals’ – said I. I was citing Erik Olin Wright. It was a lecture on ‘Sustainability, democracy and gender’, and I stood there, feeling unsustainably undemocratic, and I would get a very low score from gender scholars, as there was […]

On taking criticism of your work, or No post on Sundays, or Off to the garden

During a break on a ‘garden day’ at my son’s preschool on a fine October afternoon, sipping bryggkaffe from a paper cup, I see an email from my supervisor flash on my phone screen. ‘I have struggled with your draft. I found it difficult to read…’, she writes. This is as far as the email […]

What we [don’t] say to our supervisors, Or the price of a ‘really good work’

Student (Mon 8.46): Dear Supervisor. Would you have the time to look at my abstract if I sent it to you today? The abstract which I haven’t even begun to write. The abstract for a non-existent article which I haven’t begun to write and might not for a very long time. Supervisor (Mon 8.47): Yes. […]

On intellectual autonomy, bogs and jungles, or How I escape the bell jar

Doing your PhD is a solitary journey, I was told. And the intonation implied that it was somehow a bad thing. Yes right, thought I. But I LOVE solitude. Please leave me alone and let me get on with the thing. Lock me in an office, better a bunker. Give me some books, better a […]