Monday, 4 May 2009

The Terror of Exams and a Cup of Tea

I have my first exam this Thursday - TPP! It is hard to believe that it has already come to exams. What makes this especially nerve racking is that the exam for TPP is 70% of the grade - it is a 3-hour exam with three questions to choose from ten. Given that it is the first exam, it could either be a f****-up or f****** good one. Who knows!

There are entire swathes of territory that I have not touched through out the year and that makes the exam even more scarier. I started reading this weekend and was amazed at how interesting the topics actually are and wish, I had bothered to do more reading during the year. 

I love the language of some of the articles - they are so finely written and deserved to be read out loud. In booming, theatrical voices. I have been picking out some choice morsels of phrases such as 'traffic of meanings,' 'funerary image,' 'archaeology of poverty,' 'science wars,'  'tyranny of participation,' and so on to stick into my answers.

There is no way in hell that the texts would have the power they have were it not for the language, the delicate and nuanced turn of words. 

Among the topics I have decided to focus on are post development and alternative development. Although post development shares the 'zero sum logic' of dependency theory - my what a disastrous effort I made to tackle that in my essay! - it is again, one of the core, the existential, the critical, the most philosophical question for development. Why is development not working and what do we do about it? Sure, dependency theory or post development do not offer much in the way of answers and solutions but they sure give us the truth! "It ain't working!" Furthermore, the thing to be really noted here is that these theories and philosophical musings emerge out of Latin America. Our friends there gained independence a good 100 - 200 years before us in Asia and Africa. Having experienced independence, capitalism, interference, interventions, dictatorships, democracies and the rest of it, the main thinkers came to various conclusions - among them that development and capitalism was not really working. 

The rest of TPP - apart from perhaps gender and globalisation and a couple others - focus more on the practice of development and the agendas that inform them. 

I would like to do well in this exam so I am confident for the rest of the exams. So here is to exam revision. So here is to a good cup of tea.

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