It is week four of the semester and I feel tired already. Why does it feel as though I've been here much longer than a month? A change in location perhaps, but essentially doing the same thing ... only the efforts are more serious and hopefully rigorous, and the terrain politically diverse. Politicking, politicking in academia can be such a bitter exercise. The American is bearing the brunt of it - because of who he is. Being from the Third World, and a woman to boot, every little thing that comes out of my mouth is brilliant! Novel! Miraculous! Ah, the comparative advantage of low expectations. Must make hay while I can.
As far institutions go I feel I have chosen well. The uni is heavily invested, it seems, in my research topic. Never mind my department. It can go hang. The other week i had a glimpse of how professionals behave in their natural habitat. Surprisingly there was very little ego. You had a sense that they took their vocation seriously, especially the ethical implications of their research. I had no doubt it was cutting edge. I googled and nobody else was doing it. The whole exercise was, above all, a collegial effort. The proverbial blind men struggling to describe the elephant in the room. They came from all over the planet, the UK, Sweden, the US, Korea, India, drawn together by the need to understand and explain. This is what drives them, I think. This drive for cognition. And the politicking, well, its the baggage the comes with being a professional I suppose. Resources, after all, are finite.