A New Year

I’ve almost reached the third year of my PhD; it’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for two years. On the one hand it feels like I haven’t done much to reflect two years of work but on the other hand it feels like I’ve been working on this for many, many years. In any case, I ended 2014 on a good note by attending and presenting at the Gender and Education Association (GEA) interim conference held here in Melbourne. It was my first presentation at a conference but I believe it went very well, as indicated by the complimentary comments I received afterwards. A copy of my presentation slides can be found on my Academic.edu profile. The title is ‘Gender-Sex, Science and Ethics: The Provocation of New Materialism’ and, in basic summary, it’s about what I think new materialism has to offer generally and also specifically in terms of my research project. I argued that new materialism can and should be thought of as provocative rather than as ‘better’ than other frameworks. No doubt, a time will come when it will cease to be provocative and hopefully there’ll be then something else to use as a tool to challenge accepted knowledge. I do think that within my research field of gender and science education, frameworks such as poststructuralism and social constructionism have become overly dominant and entrenched to the point, in some instances at least, they stifle original thought or insights.

As for my general PhD progress, I am at the point now of attempting to use new materialism to analyse my interview data with ten pre-service teachers as well as considering what else I can do in terms of ‘assembling’ more data, and data that is not so human/individual centred. Not exactly easy to do! I had previously planned to do another interview with my participants but I’m not so sure at the moment this is the best thing to do, or if there is something else I could do other than another interview. Whatever I end up doing, this will no doubt take up the first quarter of the year and after that there will be more analysis before I get down to some more serious writing. I’m hoping this will also be the year that I get to go to a larger overseas international conference (potentially the next GEA conference in London) as well as gain some experience tutoring or lecturing and to publish a journal article. A big year, hopefully it will be a good and productive one with minimal disruptions (I won’t be silly enough to hope there won’t be any disruptions).

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