Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reading "open-heartedly"

This week I was struck by Luker’s comment, “I spent lots of years forbidding myself to read things that my heart wanted me to read, because it ‘wasn’t relevant.’…I’m trying to teach you a new practice (how to read open-heartedly, at a new level of generality, by making a list of the elements of your inquiry), while leaving behind an old practice (reading in a mechanical way everything that either your adviser or Google tells you might be relevant), while situating both of them in a historical, social, and yes, political context” (p. 133-134). I personally found this to be true when doing research in the past, but often needed a reminder that just because something didn’t seem “relevant” at first glance didn’t mean that it wouldn’t end up being quite important. Some of the most important articles and books I found for my past research were ones that might not have immediately seemed relevant—fortunately my adviser encouraged me to read anything that struck me as interesting. Reading Luker this week reinforced this idea and hopefully will be able to keep this in mind as I do research in the future because as Luker explains it allows for more context, which is always helpful.

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