The Transitioning

A lot has changed since the last I wrote here. I now have a career teaching and I am also transitioning from a field to another: from economics to sociology. For many who have known me, this transitioning has not been surprising at all. I am the only one who seems surprised.

I am now able to take some distance from a field I am preparing to leave, ie economics. I taught a class last semester at Parsons of The New School fame (the Parisian campus) on political economy. We read the basic texts of Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and Keynes. Along with these, we also read some texts that set my critical thought towards economics rolling (one of the most important texts being The Use of Knowledge in Society by F.A.Hayek). At the end of it, I would have been fooling myself if I were to continue in economics, for I was not willing to give up on the theory and analysis to be fancy with numbers that the mainstream success and acceptance in economics demands. I had numerous discussions about the field and the prospect of the transition with my friends and colleagues, whose frankness I am grateful to. I realized that I did not want to spend my life trying to find the best identification method for my parameters, that I wanted to treat these parameters as humans, and not look at simultaneity problems in my analysis with scorn. My equations were to all be endogenous if I were to study society and human behavior, so I had to look beyond.

Accepting the need to transition was important both to maintain my sanity and to continue my rather halted (according to my view) academic career. I went through a very depressing process of applying for graduate programs in economics where I knew my fit in the department was a big zero. I still pushed myself, anticipating only disappointment which came later. Now it shall be round two (or round one in a way).

I have also tried to understand how much of my personal life should intersect with that of my life in the public sphere. I have come to realize that it shall be a topic of continuous negotiation and that nowhere shall I find a constant answer. This has been important especially in the context of teaching (and in the context of writing and publishing now and in the future) where I always tend to use, albeit in a critical way, pieces of anecdotes taken from my living experience. For example, one of the very first academic articles I published was about the Catholic missionary schools I attended in Ahmedabad. I know that I have written less (which is unfortunate) mostly on the pretext that I was potentially causing harm to people who were close (like my family members for example) through criticism of the norms of society(ies) I grew up in and society(ies) that I am a part of, especially by being a migrant.

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About Shreya Parikh

I am Shreya. Project Rethought is my attempt to rethink my own observations as a brown woman of Indian origin. I currently live in Paris where I teach at Sciences Po Paris and Parsons Paris-The New School.
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One Response to The Transitioning

  1. sophieschor says:

    Loved this!!!!!!! Congrats on the departmental shift!

    I’m applying for a PhD next fall. Let’s chat. Missing you xx

    Sophie Schor http://www.sophieschor.com +972 54 3376614

    >

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