So, proud that I’ve survived the first semester in my program, I can now admit that there were times that Impostor Syndrome had me doubting both my place and my purpose in working toward a Ph.D. The last time I asked myself the question ‘Why am I here?’ this is what I came up with:
In the Caribbean, the narratives of identity; transformed by independence into self-imposed and self-supposed national cultural forms; are witnessed in the public sphere of physical expression – dance, drama, performance and sport and absorbed through a critical reading of its literary canon and media landscapes. Understanding of the creole condition and identity is of significance, as it lends to the body of knowledge on the region and its citizens in the diaspora; and provides a means of comparison alongside the constructs of the dominant minority identities in the metropole.
I am particularly interested in the ways in which the media, both traditional and new, are being used to shape and reinforce national identities and cultures; as such, the interdisciplinary approach to Communication Studies, particularly the humanities based study of Media, Culture and Communications is what steered me toward the University of Michigan.
The work being done in the department on the constructions of identity, along with that into new and emerging media and race, ethnicity, and the media; provides a natural fit for me; as it is through these filters that I see qualitative research as a means of situating my work in an intellectual and critical tradition that produces analyses of both the social and the cultural.
This is work that I have already begun, as I shape my career into an exploration of the concept of the Other, race, representation, media practice and the public sphere in an effort to help re-contextualise the constructions of identity.
The opportunity of a place in the Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Michigan is affording me the privilege of developing both my areas and methods of research as well as my pedagogical approach alongside academics whose work stands as an example for mine.