“[I]f we conceive of a culture as one body, which it is, we see that all of its disciplines are everybody’s business, and that the proper university product is therefore not the whittled-down, isolated mentality of expertise, but a mind competent in all its concerns. To such a mind it would be clear that there are agricultural disciplines that have nothing to do with crop production, just as there are agricultural obligations that belong to people who are not farmers.
A culture is not a collection of relics or ornaments, but a practical necessity, and its corruption invokes calamity. A healthy culture is a communal order of memory, insight, value, work, conviviality, reverence, aspiration. It reveals the human necessities and the human limits. It clarifies our inescapable bonds to the earth and to each other. It assures that the necessary restraints are observed, that the necessary work is done, and that it is done well.”
— Wendell Berry
in “The Agricultural Crisis as a Crisis of Culture”
from The Unsettling of America
A basic truth of human civilization is that every culture is built upon an agriculture. People must eat before they can think, work, create, solve, or play, and their experiences surrounding this fundamental, regular necessity in life influence their attitude towards everything else they do. I believe that the present-day endemic disrespect for and ignorance of the needs and limitations of sustainable agriculture have also become ingrained in how we conduct all our other activities. The consequences are no less destructive. As such, even though my research primarily concerns products of the mind and their creation, value, and distribution in the world, I see my work as deeply concerned with the same cultural illnesses that plague modern industrial agriculture. It is my theory that neither set of problems can be solved without an understanding of the other.
[Page under construction. The partial statement above is an excerpt of what I wrote in 2011, which I am leaving up for now because it still encapsulates my general ethical stance towards knowledge, culture, and research. However, my concrete research focus has changed. Check back soon for a more complete introduction to my research interests.]