Grads, Grilled: Daniel Moglen

Daniel Moglen

Daniel Moglen - UC DavisDepartment


Program and Year of Study

PhD, 7th year

Previous degrees and colleges

MA Linguistics, UC Davis

BA Linguistics, UC Berkeley

Where did you grow up?

Auburn, CA

Where do you live now?

Berkeley, CA

What's your favorite spot in Davis?

Definitely the food co-op

How do you relax?

My main ways to relax include connecting with my friends over food, playing racquetball, maintaining a regular meditation practice, and an occasional yoga class.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

Grad students get to read a lot, but usually for academic purposes. Over winter break, I read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It’s an amazing and life-changing book!

What was the last film you saw at the theater?

Arrival, of course! The protagonist is a linguist!

Research interests

I’m interested in how social environments impact and shape the social and linguistic development of international graduate students at UC Davis. 

Dissertation title or topic

The Social Environment of International Graduate Students: The Tendency Towards Co-Nationalization (Working title)

Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research

International graduate students now make up 26% of the total graduate student population at UC Davis. International students make up more than 40% of the students in 13 different graduate groups.

Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?

My Syntax teacher when I was a student at CAL - Dr. Line Mikkelsen.  She gave the clearest explanations I have ever encountered about syntax!

Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?

Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed because it challenges traditional pedagogical methods. Education is powerful. Education is a right for every human being.

Which other researchers at UC Davis are doing work that particularly interests you?

I deeply respect the work of Dr. Almerindo Ojeda, who is a semanticist from the Department of Linguistics. He started the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas (CSHRA). One of their projects is analyzing testimonials from imprisoned people at Guantanamo.

I also admire the work done by Dr. Jamal Abedi, from the School of Education, who has tirelessly worked to make the language on standardized tests more accessible for English Language learners and for children with disabilities.

What’s the best thing about being a grad student?

I love the flexible schedule. I feel like I’m in charge of my schedule. And, when else in my life am I going to be so supported in pursuing the topic of my choosing?

What's the worst?

I feel like there is a lack of boundaries between working and not working. Whenever I’m not working on my project, there is a looming feeling of guilt.

If you weren’t a grad student, what would you be doing?

I think I would be a massage therapist, traveling around the world.

Finally, please ask yourself a question

What is something that you love so much that you can you talk about endlessly (besides your dissertation)?

I love talking about communal living. I currently live in a co-op, and I think that living in community is such a gratifying way to live. By sharing resources, we all live in abundance, and we pay a fraction of what others pay. We get unlimited food for just $5/day. How can you beat that?! Plus there are ample opportunities for socializing and connection. It’s the best!

— April 2017