"As I make my way to the Nador 15 building every morning, turning at the same corners and passing by a new line of coffee shops, I often recall what a thoroughly transformational academic year 2007/8 has been for me in a decade-long journey of thinking, critical reflection and fascination with the making of the ‘social.’ In that moment my steps – and I am certain that the whole street, too – light up with gratitude. When I was an MA student at Central European University, in the midst of keeping up with readings and making essay deadlines, I could barely appreciate the depth at which the spirit of intellectual freedom and community that I first encountered here would become the fabric of my (academic) being. I carried this energy of empowerment that – no matter how often everything I thought I knew about the world and myself would be challenged, subverted or just collapse altogether in one (un)dramatic blow – I could figure things out for myself and quite literally, make my own ‘sense’ of work material, life material, and whatever else needed processing. This confidence and trust was that invisible power that gave rise to genre-bending writing, experimental pedagogy, and some of the most rewarding and most challenging academic and artistic collaborations that I am also the most proud of. What it might mean to become a ‘knowing subject’ and taking seriously the stakes of scholarship turned into a site of research and a source of creativity that now directly informs my academic work. My personal, transdisciplinary research question that accompanied me ever since – ‘How do we know what we know and who do we become in the process?’ – recently opened new grounds in mindfulness and meditation that I also bring into my teaching, writing and research. Returning as faculty, the sites and scope of ‘transformation’ have only expanded; it is present and on-going in the classroom, in the meditation sessions that I offer to the CEU community on Mondays and Thursdays, in-between the lines."
Erzsebet Strausz is Assistant Professor in the CEU Department of International Relations