Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.
Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
The issues which the conference highlighted were firstly, that post-graduate students today should have an understanding of where their own research stand within the wider philosophical canon. Keynote speaker, Dr Katherine Morris (Oxford) questioned "who is to say which philosopher is within such canon." It was evident that everyone present can sense that there was indeed a "gulf between Western and non-Western philosophies", but the reasons for it were yet to be discovered and, hopefully, overcome in the coming years. On the brighter side, some of the attendees presentations had underlying links and shared some common traits. It was a step into welcoming other philosophies, keeping an open mind and showing appreciation to speakers' efforts.
From my perspective, the conference also highlighted a void- if not flaws- within the British academic system- or more specifically within the study of philosophy. Naturally, not all attendees of the conference share the same educational or intellectual background. And if the conference is open to the general public, then students should be aware that their work must be accessible to in a way which would make sense to all and would touch upon important issues in regards to one's humanity. After all, this is what makes philosophy appealing in the first place; that is the fact that it talks about us, our feelings, our existence and how we cope with our surroundings. We are approaching an era where people have started losing the will to read complicated texts or be patient enough to untangle its contents. In the past, philosophers have managed to get away with, for instance, lousy writing style, jargon, complicated or borrowed words. But today... we write for "the people" not "at" the people. I, thus, predict that the ordinary language philosopher will be, within the next couple of years, the public's popular choice.
Another aspect that the conference highlighted is the language in which postgraduates students use today to engage with one another or with the public. There is no doubt that one always feels he/she is under scrutiny from the "other". All I could think of at the time, when someone complained that he was terrified that a specific person would be the first to "pick" or "question" aspects of the content of the presentation, if not the validity or importance of the work, is to say "relax & who cares". Of course I have reached this attitude after experiencing the same feelings on numerous occasions and telling myself instead "prepare to wow them" rather than "prepare to be attacked" and worrying that my presentation is an opportunity for others to find fault in. It is our inner projection that drives us forward, our passion and belief in what we do is the key to our success. Perhaps the one thing that we, postgraduates, are not taught is how to look after our well being and to believe in ourselves. It is not a battle of words or who is right or wrong here, or even who is more deserving of our appreciation than another. The reason why the Greeks sat around a table all together during a symposium, all equal, was to show exactly that; solidarity, equality and appreciation or finding worth in one another. So why is it becoming so difficult today?
All in all, I had a great time meeting a lot of people who I am hopefully going to keep in touch with....As for my research, it's only the beginning of a life time passion so bring it on!