On Apathy as a Scholar

Robyn Pritzker | 7 August 2017.

As a humanities researcher (and as a human), I am often reminded about the importance of caring: empathy, sympathy, and general sensitivity to my environment are some of the important values that supposedly distinguish the humanist from their scientific or otherwise quantitative counterparts. As humanists, we study culture, literature, language, and other facets of the world expected to inspire feeling or indicate meaning (freedom, beauty, truth, and love, even)! Working on a long-term independent project like a thesis, we are absorbed by our research, or we absorb it, depending on the day.

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99 Jobs but a Thesis isn’t One: Pitfalls of Trying to do All the Things

Robyn Pritzker | 6 March 2017

Whether we’re fully-funded, partially-funded, or simply wishing our way through monthly rent payments, most research students worry about money. If your fees are covered and you have a stipend, you’ll likely still be worrying about where to get a grant to go to a conference. If you have a hefty student loan and help from your parents, you’ll be wondering how you’re going to afford to replace your computer, which is six years old and can’t run any software you need for your project. Perhaps you have plenty of funds for yourself, but you need to help support your partner, your child, your parents, or someone else. Concern about how to pay the bills and make it from day to day are hardly unique to graduate students, but we are often pressured by very specific regulations and limitations about when and how we are able to be compensated for the work we do.

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The Gap in the Field: Critical Silence and Unpopular Materials

16th November 2016 | Robyn Pritzker.

From the moment fledgling researchers begin their independent work, the academic chorus rings out from all directions that their primary task is to find and fill in the various blanks spread throughout critical material. It is to contribute something new to scholarly discourse. Graduate students often struggle endlessly to find a way to make their work more unique, more interesting, and less like everyone else’s.

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The Strange Case of Fanny Stevenson and Literary Partnership

March 21, 2016 | Robyn Pritzker.

Amongst the most misunderstood literary partnerships to date is that of Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson. The two coauthored several volumes, to wide critical disapproval, and Fanny was her husband’s amanuensis and editor for many years through his bouts of ill health. Fanny was an artist in her own right, a trained painter and an author who penned several short stories and captivating travel diaries during her family’s extensive travels across Europe, North America, and the Pacific Islands. Robert Louis Stevenson frequently mentioned their collaboration in his letters, referencing the two of them hard at work together on his latest pieces[1], but nonetheless critics and biographers like Frank McLynn and T.C. Livingstone have long asserted that Fanny’s influence was minimal if not actually detrimental.

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