Thursday, February 25, 2010


Disclaimer: This post has no main point, but I just felt like I needed to write.

You ever get that feeling of restlessness?  You know when you are kind of anxious, excited, mind racing a hundred miles an hour and you can't concentrate on the task(s) you need to do to make your life just a little bit easier.  I am getting that lately, a lot.  I get all these ideas in my head and life just seems to open up with infinite possibilities that can take me in multiple directions at the same time but I am just not sure which direction to go.

Right now life is good.  Money is a little tight, but getting better as the weeks go on.  My funding is still in limbo for next year as I wait to hear from the Ford Foundation on my dissertation write up grant, but I have 2 others in the UK pending as well that would help me in conducting a social media project on community perceptions of race, class, nation, and identity.  I have some contacts, a young Afro-Caribbean British guy from St. Pauls that is active with youth in the community and uses video as a medium to address issues and concerns amongst young people.  Everything from employment and violence to issues of skin lightening and hair.  On top of that his group, Creative Expressions, created a documentary on the history of Jamaicans in St. Pauls, Bristol - a community with a long vibrant history and a stones throw from my place of work.

I guess I am just excited to see my ideas, ones that I have been afraid to pursue in the past but am gaining confidence with and in my abilities to enact them, slowly come to life.  It makes it hard to concentrate as my once "well planned out" future is now looking more and more uncertain.  What will I do when I am done?  I have no idea, all I can do is keep on working towards the first (and not end) goal of completing the dissertation and getting my Ph.D May 2011.  I guess that in itself is a change because I always saw that as the end goal - but I'll won't even be 30 so why did I "stop" my life at the time?

 I have been reading a bit about the split and antagonism between intellectualism and activism.  I don't know if I can just "be" and intellect and not advocate for a cause or group of people.  The disconnect between the communities academics study, and the use of that data for academic gain is to much - how can I go into a community, take from it, its ideas, thoughts, concerns, joys, fears, happiness, sadness, and not contribute back?  That is something I had been thinking about more and more as I get deeper into the "thick description" of ethnographic fieldwork.  My "informants" are well versed in their rights, opinions, and placement in society and do need an academic coming in and "translating" their subjects for a different audience.  Hmmm, but then I see myself as a medium through which different ideas can be put forth in a society dominated by select voices.  I don't know and I guess that is point - I have to figure that out as I continue with the fieldwork - reading, talking, thinking, laughing, sharing, analyzing, writing in the end it will come together and be the start of a career in something.  But for now I am trying to channel this energy I seem to have obtained and finish one task that will make my life easier - a talk I am to do in 3 weeks times in London.

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