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How to Read for Grad School

Apply a critical perspective

Course readings are selected intentionally by professors and are meant to illicit deep conversations within the class. As you read strategically to glean content, also pay attention to the nature of the reading itself - what is underlying the words on the page and what is the context? A critical perspective is not just being negative or critiquing a work for the sake of having something to say. Rather, bringing a critical perspective to your reading serves two vital purposes:

Critical perspectives trace and name flows of power:

  • Who has power and who doesn't?
  • Who benefits from particular social arrangements and whom do they marginalize?

Critical perspectives question assumptions:

  • What values are underlying this work?
  • What experiences and perspectives do these values privilege?
  • How might centering different values or experiences reframe the argument or conversation?

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