Scholarship is a strange endeavor, the foremost knowledge one gains from it is the realization of how severely one lacks it. The pursuit of scholarly work demands time, intellectual rigor and creative patience. And yet, once the research objective is achieved one is left convinced of the dwarfness of one’s research. To realize the potential of different or future research on my subject was the most hard hitting. Academics often, I’ve noticed, surround themselves with impenetrable hubris, maybe it is something that accompanies expertise. In that sense, I probably am not an expert. This research woke me up to the possibility of that hubris taking over my analytical faculties, an occurring I wanted to actively avoid, and I think I did.
A little deserves to be said about the collective analytical setting of our cohort. A striking lesson that I take away from this gem of an experience is the purely analytical and conceptual merging of our works for mutual critique, not the act of critique itself but the setting that fostered an intellectually inspiring atmosphere.
Much has been talked about the specifics of my project (in previous reflections and papers), I would thus stress a little on the general, underlying theme that inspired, steered and furthered my project – the battle against mis/ill information. The lack of insight on issues, people, cultures and traditions different from one’s own could take strong, imperturbable root in the psyche of societies, much of what happened to Iran. The lack of information that surrounds conversations about Iran is astounding. I felt it to be a pity that people from one great civilization, even in the age of such access to information, are grossly misinformed about another, older civilzation. Iran’s Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove is my contribution in shaping a better informed discourse on Iran.
All in all, the journey from being mere academic aspirants to being DH scholars, the journey has been rather tiring, in the most charming way however. The flexibility of one’s ideas, I realized, is truly a remarkable trait that separates an average academic from a profound scholar. I only hope that such programs keep falling my way, and that one fine day the journey from being an ‘interested’ academic to a prolific scholar will be complete.
Until next time,