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Dr. Rich Blundell

Dear Orla, Jennifer, and Cynthia,

Thank your for the thoughtful replies and links to resources. I am perusing them now.

You are right, this is a Big Topic with a lot of voices. As a grad-student, trying to carve out a niche, it feels like I’m in a disciplinary meat grinder. There are multiple rigor-bars that need to be reached, and legacy-hoops that need to be jumped through for each discipline I touch. Don’t get me wrong, I am relishing the challenge, but there are a lot of risks – as there should be. I can’t imagine anything more important and exciting.

My initial question, then, seems to be settling into the distinction between Big History research AS a historical research pursuit and Big History as the SUBJECT of research. This boils down to the nuts and bolts of research, but this stuff really needs to be sorted out, especially at the level of a PhD dissertation. So, the more I think about it, “hermeneutic turn” may actually be the wrong term. It’s too inclusive, as if the whole field needs to shift. That’s not quite right. Perhaps, it’s more like the development of a “hermeneutic strand” that acknowledges how interpretation takes on different meanings for the different pursuits. In other words, interpretation has a different role to play in a Big History AS research method context then it does in a more educational or social science pursuit with Big History as the subject. Either way, it’s got to be rigorous enough to survive in a fragmented academic landscape. That is a tough challenge.

This makes more sense and I’ll continue to think about it…. Great conversation. Thanks!

And yes Cynthia, I hope to present not only the results of some empirical work in transformative learning at the IBHA, but also part of my creative practice. Looking forward to seeing you all there!