THE GRIND — Cody Bivins-Starr: On Considering Madness Theologically, Picking a PhD Supervisor, and Researching for a Dissertation

The Grind is a series of interviews with young scholars and PhD students on the many ways of “making a way” in the theological academy, and all the trials and joys therein. In this interview, Cody Bivins-Starr, PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, talks about applying to PhD programs, dissertation research, PhD supervisors, and much more.


Cody Bivins-Starr is a PhD student in Theological Ethics at University of Aberdeen, researching the intersections of theology, madness/psychosis, and cultural theory. Additionally, he is a former assistant and current friend of L’Arche Portland. He and his wife Hannah live near Portland, Oregon.


Show Notes

PODCAST LINKS:

Cody’s academia.edu page: https://aberdeen.academia.edu/CodyBivinsStarr

The Tao of Tea (Portland, OR): https://taooftea.com/

Sisters of the Road (Portland, OR): https://sistersoftheroad.org/

SOURCES MENTIONED:

Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics II.2: The Doctrine of God.

Brock, Brian. “Parenting as political resistance: Disability and ‘dealing with’ late-modern medicine.”

Fanon, Frantz. The Psychiatric Writings from Alienation and Freedom.

———. The Wretched of the Earth.

Foucault, Michel. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979.

———. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

———. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason.

OUTLINE:

(01:28) – Assam tea and espresso tonic

(03:08) – From Grudem to Hauerwas to Barth and Bonhoeffer

(06:43) – Barth and political theology

(09:38) – Assemblies of God – Anglican – Mennonite

(16:36) – A theological account of madness

(23:04) – Picking a PhD program/supervisor

(30:53) – Pros and cons of PhD programs in the UK

(37:09) – Pains and joys of the PhD process

(44:08) – Reading non-theological sources

(50:45) – Mapping life post-PhD

(55:31) – Advice for prospective PhD students

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