Today was the final day of TAPSS 2011, a week long intensive summer school which involves living in a castle, and 5 days of sustained intellectual and social engagement on a topic between exemplary graduate students and fantastic faculty. This year the theme was “representation”, and while I won’t bore you with all the exciting progress we’ve made on that concept and what it signifies across philosophy and the social sciences, I will say that sustained engagement on any topic in an inter-disciplinary environment is a profound experience, growth and development engendering for everyone involved. I recommend this program to any philosopher or social scientists who is interested in either broadening their theoretical horizons (in the case of sociologists or anthropologists), or getting a sense of what more practical employment of concepts looks like (i.e. philosophers).
TAPSS last year was in fact instrumental for me in recognizing that my dissertation work could involve a fieldwork component, could involve gathering data of a kind, and could be politically engaged in the manner of its production rather than solely in the way it intends itself to be taken up.
Tonight we have our final goodbye dinner, and in the morning I’m on the train back to Dublin, and then onto Belfast to meet Mary and spend some time in Northern Ireland.