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This Week in Southeast Asian Studies (TWISEA)
February 2, 2016
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PhD + JD = Complicated!
This week, we will hear from George Radics. He’s an alumnus of the UW School of Law. But George is a lot more than that. It’s complicated!
 
George grew up in Los Angeles (L.A.). For many, L.A. is a mecca for ethnic diversity. But George “felt a little out of place” for having a Vietnamese father and a Filipino mother. In college, George found home, so to speak, in Asian American studies. “For the first time in my life I felt like my identity made sense and that I was part of a larger community,” he explained. But after spending his junior summer studying in the Philippines, he became interested in Southeast Asia. “I realized studying Southeast Asia was what I wanted to do, not just to understand Asian America, but also to understand the region on its own terms,” George said.

After college, George pursued a PhD in Sociology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and carried out his fieldwork in Mindanao, the Philippines. But his Asian American identity “made research… complicated.” “One scholar [in the Philippines] told me that my Asian American identity was a disadvantage and pointedly chastised me for my poor grammar in Tagalog,” George recalled. Also, his cohort made matters a lot worse for him. “Some graduate students spread rumors among faculty members that I was an undercover CIA agent,” George added.

Upon finishing his PhD, George felt that he had to “grow up” and pursue a “practical” career. He chose to “study law at UW” because it had a “strong Asian law program,” and being at UW would allow him to “remain connected to Southeast Asian studies.” His PhD, however, did not help him at all with the JD program. He felt “distracted.” “I was more interested in my language and history classes…while law firms were more interested in very detailed issues like the calculation of consequential damages or how to get a case tossed out on jurisdictional grounds,” George explained. 

Things, however, have come full circle for George. He’s currently a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at NUS. “I love what I do here,” George said. In fact, he has turned down two job offers to stay at NUS. He appreciates the ability to combine his “interests in sociology and the law” in his teaching while carrying out new research, such as the "sociology of emotions.” George acknowledges that there’s an expiration date for every job, but at the moment he’s just taking it all in – one moment at a time.
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Recommended Resources

This section lists news items and other recently-published resources that have been recommended by faculty and grad students over the past week. To submit an item for next week, email seac@uw.edu.

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Jobs (2)

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