Student Spotlight: Daniel Anderson Soon-to-Defend his Dissertation

Student Spotlight: Daniel Anderson Soon-to-Defend his Dissertation

Daniel Anderson will soon be defending his dissertation entitled "What is Enlightenment?: Mindfulness in the Moment of Stress" and is working with Denise Albanese as his chair. Christine Rosenfeld conducted a short Q&A with Daniel in which he reflects on his time at Mason.


How have your research interests changed from the time you began the PhD program to now, and in which direction do you envision your work moving upon graduating? 

I came to GMU interested in cultural history and critical theory, and these interests have remained.  When I arrived, I had eclectic research interests, including Early Modern materials, environmentalism, and critical pedagogy. I have had the opportunity to rehearse some of these interests while at GMU, and I still have a foot in the water with regard to pedagogy and environmental humanities. My interest in the metabolism of "alternative" spiritualities and contemporary capitalism, which I had in my pocket when I got to GMU but I was not sure how to even articulate well, won the day.

What kinds of professional development did you pursue while a student and which do you think will best position you to get the job you want: publishing, presenting, teaching, service in the department, engagement in non-university service projects, acquiring particular research skills?

I have been publishing, I lead a working group at the Cultural Studies Association, for five years I led a local community group, I held down a half-time editorial job, I am doing some ongoing academic assessment work, and I taught a lot. All these activities I have found rewarding.

What is one of your best memories from your time in the PhD program in Cultural Studies?

Friendships. I have had the good fortune to make friends with some extraordinary people among the other graduate students here at GMU, and among some of the faculty and administration.