Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Coming Soon

This blog will deal with issues that arise from the attempts of non-native English speaking researchers to communicate their results in a research environment largely dominated by the English language. Its aim is not to bemoan the current situation but to make the best of it. While I am trained as a philosopher, I have come to think of myself as a somewhat specialized English teacher.

I want to use this blog as a regular column on topics spanning from details of English grammar to intricacies of academic style. Since we are now working under 'postmodern conditions', this means figuring out how to write either reconstructively or deconstructively, or sometimes both, but always critically. Whether one wants to represent the object of one's research, or 'depresence' its subject, one's problem, when writing, is one of attaining an effective style, of finding one's footing in the crisis. The current crisis of European science, I'd argue, is conditional on our ability to use the English language, especially here on the Continent.

I should stress that I think of crisis not as something to be avoided, but something one must always, very carefully, try to achieve in one's writing. It amounts simply to producing texts that are capable of critique--that distinctively 'academic' stylistic virtue. This, however, can mean many things.

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