This page contains links to the lectures and readings that we give throughout the semester.

Date Readings Discussion Questions
Week 0 (Aug 29)
Week 1 (Sep 5)
What is research?
Most research is not earth-shattering and does not lead to what Kuhn calls a "paradigm shift." Most of the time, that’s the kind of research we do -- and it’s still very useful.

Week 2 (Sep 12)
The myth of the lone scientist
Most of us will work in labs or research groups, but television portrays us as lone academics having genius breakthroughs in isolation.
Week 3 (Sep 19)
Many academics are driven by the desire to become famous scientists. Be careful.
Week 4 (Sep 26)
The alienation of being wildly overeducated
With the exception of those of us who are "professor brats", most of us are likely to experience our process of becoming experts as at odds with our families and our identities.
Week 5 (Oct 3)
Impostor Syndrome
Being treated as an expert often depends on how well an invidual matches expected perceptions of what an expert looks like, and how well the individual "plays the part."
Week 6 (Oct 10)
You are not your research
We associate ourselves with our research so much that we forget it is a job and not our lives. It makes rejections harder to deal with, and it leads to poor work-life balance.
Week 7 (Oct 17)
Rejection, expectations, and comparisons
Formal rejection is common in academia. How do we deal with rejection, with how expectations vary across subfields, with the urge to compare to our peers?
Week 8 (Oct 24)
Mental Health Part 1
There is an often undiscussed mental health epidemic amongst students and researchers.
Week 9 (Oct 31)
Today, we've invited Dr. Shuangmei (Christine) Zhou and Dr. Yi Du from Berkeley CAPS to come talk to us about mental health.
Week 10 (Nov 7)
Research as a Political Act
Research cannot be extricated from ethics, politics, and social norms.
Week 11 (Nov 14)
In progress--check back!
Week 12 (Nov 21)
Thanksgiving week--no session!
Week 13 (Nov 28)
Academia's Drop-Outs
It is easy to get so focused on the degree, the diploma, that we forget the original goals that pushed us to pursue an intellectual life.