Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

The Expertise Thing

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It’s paradoxical, really, how much I am willing to admit uncertainty and lack of supreme knowledge or expertise in my teaching versus in other aspects of my professional life.

The My truth is this: I am an expert at nothing. I know a little or a lot about some things, but there is always more I don’t know than I do know. The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. I never stop learning, and I was sharing w my students yesterday the “lifelong learner” dimension as one of the biggest in my identity.

In a professional contexts, this means that while I am no supreme expert on anything, I do, indeed, know more about certain things than other people.

And as a young woman who is somehow assumed to be less intellectual by some people because I wear jeans, boots and a headscarf, and I like to laugh and joke…and because I have radical views, prefer critical/interpretive research to quantified technical research…because I do lots of unorthodox things and carry around my impostor syndrome to boot… I have to take this stand.

No one is an expert at all things. But I am MORE OF an expert in some things than other people. And they need to know it. Otherwise dominant people will assume expertise simply because of who they are not what they actually know or do.

I do know more about some things than other people do. And I cannot let people just ignore this. I cannot let people ignore my years of scholarship in certain fields and the amount of my influence and contribution to certain things. I don’t care if it means putting up fights or shameless self promotion or whatever it takes.

End of angry rant.

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