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 (not?) co-authoring, or The death of the author, or It takes a village to write a paper

Despite the death of the author having been announced a while ago (reference here – in case you missed it), a point in time comes when a PhD student needs to put some name(s) on their first paper draft (in progress, in progress, and still in progress – does the status ever change?). I did […]

On professors, or Paying it forward (at least some of the interest)

This post is written with a lot of respect and admiration for Professors and what they represent in academia… and their PhD students (the reasonable ones, who do their homework instead of writing irrelevant posts). Never start your day by meeting a professor. Ask for an appointment after lunch, but first thing in morning – […]

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 […]

On dancing with the shawl, faux pas, and being chiselled through research training

El mantón, the flamenco shawl, refuses to do my bidding. It refuses to levitate in the air in front of me, in order to then fall softly on my chest – like it levitates in front of my teacher and then falls on hers, right under her collar bones and covering her entire wide-open arms. […]