My mom has a bit of a problem with experts. If you asked her, my mom would tell you that the problem with experts is that they don’t have to justify their opinions on the basis that they have implicitly earned that trust, and, in the reverse, other people who are not experts have not. She argues that people who are not experts should be trusted to form and express opinions on a subject, and moreover that experts should be challenged to support their opinions better. I can’t say that I fully disagree. And yet when it comes to the concept of an expert and, by extension, expertise, I’m torn. On the one hand, experts should not have a monopoly on informed opinions. On the other, expertise is not just knowing the facts, but about understanding the context, methods, and unarticulated information surrounding those facts that contribute to interpreting them. This push and pull between formal expertise and informal knowledge is something I’m constantly struggling with as a junior academic.Read More
The most important thing I’ve been told in this early stage of motherhood is “the postpartum period is two years long.”Read More
It’s just as unreasonable to think that a piece of paper gauze will stop you from getting sick as it is to think that a plaster mask stuffed with herbs will. But that’s the problem with how we remember major infectious disease events of the past – we remember that people died, but we don’t think a lot about how we might be repeating their mistakes.
When a pandemic worms its way into our collective consciousness, fighting the disease is no longer just about fighting the virus, but also about fighting the social anxieties that surround it.
Lately I’ve been telling myself that if I could just set aside a big chunk of time – I always arbitrarily think of it as 4 hours – I would be able to focus and get over the hurdle of the chapter I’m trying to write. Read More
It’s what’s hiding under all that anxiety, right? Read More
Insert joke about Jewish mothers here. Read More
When your body says: “Why not have both?” Read More