Thursday, June 5, 2014

How I Came To This Road...


My name is Theodore Grenfell Bonnah, but everyone calls me Ted.

I am on the road to a PhD, the road to remaking myself as an 'expert', as a 'professor'. This blog will be an account of my journey.

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. I am a Labrador Metis, so advancing in the whole white world of university has been learning to breathe in an alien environment for me.

I started with an MA in English, how I picked up a fair ability with grammar, Old English, critical theory and colonialism. To support myself, I've also acquired a BEd with teacher's certificate in first and second language teaching. I've taught English, French and Japanese to all ages in all types of classrooms.

Now I am finishing up my PhD in Global Studies, specifically a Critical Discourse Analysis of Neoliberal uses of Japanese images in US economic discourse since the 2007 global financial crisis.

Sometimes I wonder what this all means. To me, it is following an interest beyond language teaching, to how language constructs and orders our reality, and how it constrains and coerces us.

I have found CDA to be both a natural extension of my English studies and abilities as a published writer, as well as being a hard slog. I've read lots of Norman Fairclough and Teum van Dijk, finding the former inspiring but ambiguous and the latter concise but sparse. I realized that I've hit the limit of what can be learned by just reading about CDA.

I need to start practicing it, preferably every day. I take my inspiration from Roland Barthes' 'Mythologies', his great exercise in analyzing the myths that make up our world. I will choose texts that inform everyday life and uncover the way they reinforce power relations of inequality and what Gramsci calls the 'common sense' that prevents us from questioning the constraints put on us by those in power.

I can't promise that any posts will be either good reading or good analysis, but you're welcome to walk along with me and point out obstacles in my way or better paths to my destination.

Let's get started...

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