Interests and Brain Bits

I'm writing a paper (grr) right now about autobiographical memory, identity, and development, and its frustrating: (where are the empirical physiological studies on the subject? cognitive neuroscientists can crank people through their brain scanners, and the publish like mad, couldn't they have taken a couple weeks to do something worthwhile with the fMRI machine?) Despite this, I have the general feeling that this is kind of what I'm interested in studying. Perhaps not as a cognitive neuroscientist, but we all have to pay our dues, and despite my nphenomenological/hermeneutic/narrative/developmental/anthropological bent as a psychologist, I find what I've affectionately come to call "the brain stuff" to be pretty cool and way more useful than I thought it would be. But anyway, lets return to the statement that "this is what I'm interested in studying."

Somewhat more frequently than I'd like to admit, I have discussion's with myself about my interests that can be summarized thusly:

In a word, I'm interested in identity. In two words, I'm interested in how identity happens (or develops). I tend to take the opinion that while identity seems to happen as part of a social discourse with "norms" and other individuals (which puts me in a camp with cultural psychology a particular breed of social psychologist), we know identity through communication (hence my interest in narrative) and despite (because?) of this I tend to take the opinion that identity is a product of memory (and this puts me in a camp with a number of personality psychologists).

Ok, now that that's on the table, I sometimes think, wow, and I'm a Feminist/Queer Studies major too. The thing is that I frequently forget that all this talk of identity, narrative, development, and memory, isn't plainly feminist or queer to everyone else. And I suppose it isn't in the clearest sense, but I do know that these interests are a product of my studies in my Women's and Gender Studies classes, not my psychology classes.

I remember that I had one of my lofty plans early in my first semester to edit a book of stories, written by a collection of young gay men about being gay, other than the 'coming out story', this was to be in the tradition of Ophelia Speaks, and My Sister's Voices: Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out. I even blogged about it here on TealArt (in embarrassment I hope that I hid those archives, though they're probably still accessible for the world to see, like so much of my/our early crap). While an impractical project for a ornery and brooding undergraduate to undertake, at the heart, this wast to be a really cool project that explored issues of queer identity that I still feel to be really key. Though I'm not wild about the unifying qualities of "gay" or "male" as identity markers, I remain interested in how individuals negotiate their identities in relation to community identities. And I think stories, beyond the coming out narrative, which Judith Butler has successfully ruined for me, are a great way to explore this.

While I'm not proposing this kind of research/project, I think that these two examples show a particular kind of consistency of my interests. It's all connected. I swear.

Anyway, back to the paper of doom!

Ironically, I loaned my copy of this book to a professor who never returned it before she left. Though, I still have her copy of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, and frankly I think I came out ahead.

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