Dissertation: Making Better Students: ADHD in Higher Education and the Biopolitics of Stimulant Mediation
My dissertation focuses on the use and regulation of cognitive enhancement in higher education; or in more mundane terms, how the ADHD diagnostic category has expanded in recent decades, and how students and various assorted authorities control the flow of Adderall, Ritalin, and related controlled substances. Although Adderall does not dramatically increase intelligence, merely compensating for poor time management and lack of confidence, future substances may have more potent effects. The policy regime that has developed around ADHD today will substantially inform future developments related to human enhancement technologies.
Eventuality: A Narrative Foresight Engine
Eventuality is a set of rules and elements designed to help a small group of people rapidly generate a robust science-fiction story with serious futurological impact in the space of an evening. Drawing on Role Playing Game design theory, and using our innate understanding of narrative structure and psychological realism, Eventuality looks to move beyond facile gadget-oriented utopianism and deterministic dystopianism towards a nuanced and complex view of the future and causality. Eventuality can be used to provoke insight, gain understanding, and help make the future a site of knowledge rather than fear.
Social Network Analysis of Interdisciplinarity
A developing project focuses on using social network analysis to discover patterns of collaboration in interdisciplinary research organizations, and then guide qualitative research into how and why successful collaborations develop. Looking at the substantive outcomes of interdisciplinary research, rather than ambitions or effort, shows that real interdisciplinarity is very hard. Achieving successful interdisciplinary research requires building whole new modes of thinking, new orientations, to borrow from the OODA Loop, but doing so is one of the few reliable paths to breakthrough applied research.