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Dissertate or Bust!
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17th-Mar-2006 12:14 pm - exordium
dulce et utile
Hi all.

I'm glad we created this community. I need somewhere to post specifically academic rants! Some of you are on my fl, but most of my list is non-academic, so that's why my posts (when they happen at all) are fairly devoid of intellectual content. At least that's how I see it.

I finished comps early this month, and have just begun my time in ABDland. During comps, my committee tore my diss proposal apart, while somehow simultaneously keeping in intact. Basically my ideas are good, the texts I'm using are fine ... I'm just not articulating it right. Not once during the comps/proposal process have they told me I'm doing the wrong thing. They just keep telling me to go back and reword it and make it more specific. And I find it endlessly frustrating, because I'm revising and revising proposals when I should be researching, because that, after all, is what I need to be doing right now. While I understand the necessity of having a research question before you begin the bulk of your research, I'm baffled as to how one actually does that. I just want to get going on my chapters.

The specifics: I'm in a Comparative Literature department, and my dissertation is on the reception of Ovid's Ars Amatoria in the Middle Ages, generally. I'm working on the reception of Ovid in the medieval classroom, and on Andreas Capellanus's De amore, Guillaume de Lorris's and Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose and Gower's Confessio Amantis.

As a sidenote, I also work on Chaucer reception and apocrypha ... just in case anyone is interested in that area. And I'm currently teaching a class in Arthurian lit.

So there's your introduction. Who is next?
17th-Mar-2006 09:18 am - Procrastinators -- please read :)
artemis
ok, so some of us have expressed an issue with procrastination in our intro posts...please comment to this entry if you'd like for me/us to have/create something formal/structured within this group to help combat procrastination.

those of us who don't need that sort of assistance, well you are lucky and we'll do ther things for you:)
17th-Mar-2006 08:36 am - Meets and greets
carrot
Hello all,
Many thanks to the founders of this group--I hope it works out well for all of us.
I, like all of you, am aiming to finish my thesis in the foreseeable future, but due to my nigh endless fount of procrastinations, it's proven quite difficult.
My thesis is, I think, a rarity theses days: a good old fashioned bit of institutional history, a comparative study of the archdeacons of the dioceses of Paris and Lincoln, ca. 1050-1250, and their roles both inside and outside of the church. In the end, if I finish, it's real value will be as a footnote to Chaucer and all those people who actually wondered what the Ercedekne was doing. If I can fit it in, I'll also be examining the shifting treatments of archdeacons in 12th and 13th-century canon law, as well as providing a bio-bibliographical catalogue of famous archdeacons in the Middle Ages (which my committee says, painfully truthfully, will be the only part anybody will want to read).
I've been ABD for a little while now, having finished off my Major Fields (as we call them) two years ago and had my thesis approved last year.
I have no shortage of writing done for my thesis (a few hundred pages of tripe), but I utterly lack any sort of organization. I marvel at all the people who can actually speak of "two chapters done, three to go". Sure, I had a clear outline for my thesis proposal, but I haven't exactly followed it.
One of the things I've had to deal with is too much freedom. My supervisor simply chuckles and tells me he trusts me whenever I come with worries about my progress, and my other committee members would really rather not read my thesis until it's done.
Anybody else here have this sort of problem? Advice?
17th-Mar-2006 02:02 am - Hi!
flaming
Hullo, everyone.

I'm an English literature student working to polish off my prospectus by April 4 and take my exams on the 18th, at which point--God and my committee willing--I'll be ABD. I've been at this grad-school thing for a while and am eager to finish as soon as reasonably possible while still producing a dissertation I can respect. I've heard that the first chapter can sometimes take ages to get underway, and I'm hoping to avoid getting too bogged down. Maybe I can find some help with that here?

At any rate, I want to keep relatively anonymous, because I have a blog elsewhere on which I rant about things various and sundry. So I won't reveal my specific topic here, but I can say that I'm working in the late medieval and earliest modern periods and that my work will touch on discussions of law, masculinity, performativity, and oral and popular culture.

I won't, by any means, rule out the possibility that I'll reveal more details to individual, interested parties; I just want to avoid making the details too available on the Internets.

I'm excited about the community: seems like a great idea. It's good to meet you all!
band of brothers by poisoninjest
Hi, everyone. This is a great idea for a community -- thanks to thaliestra for starting it!

My name is Lea, and I'm a doctoral candidate in English (like most people who've posted here, as yet). I'm hoping to finish my dissertation next summer (2007) and go on the job market the following autumn (on the advice of my committee), so I am currently working both to make progress quickly and to shore up funding for next year.

I think thus far I'm the only non-medievalist here. I'm an early modernist through and through -- mostly a Shakespearean, actually; my major areas of interest are drama and historiography. My diss is specifically about sixteenth-century portrayals of Richard II and more generally about the political implications of fictionalizing history, and the state's response. Grah. It all sounds so hopelessly stale when I describe it in short. I am, however, confident that it will kick ass.

This is probably because I'm still in the slightly euphoric post-scrutiny phase: I just had my proposal officially accepted a week ago, and the prospectus review meeting went really, really well. Of course, now the hard part will be to make myself get moving. Fortunately (I guess) I'm giving a paper in a couple of weeks that's on stuff going into the diss, which means I will have done something (though it may or may not get me through any of the piles of background reading I need to do soon)...
16th-Mar-2006 06:42 pm - Me and my project
Ravenclaw
My name is Marisa. I'm a doctoral candidate in English, but I live in NYC and I'm a full time tenure track lecturer at a community college.

My prospectus has been accepted, and earlier this year I had 3 chapters drafted when my director decided to tell me that she hated two of them and wanted me to restructure and reorganize my dissertation. I feel largely thwarted by her and pretty bitter because she doesn't respond to emails or phone calls. In any case, I need to get this thing done because I'm tired of it hanging over my head.

I work on the 14th century English mystics and specifically I'm writing my dissertation on rhetorics of pain and desire.

Thanks for starting this community!
16th-Mar-2006 06:43 pm(no subject)
Wow - this community caught me right at the beginning of a whinge.

Two chapters down. Two to go. Aim to be on the job market next fall with the dissertation defended in the spring. Nothing published yet, but one thing submitted (fingers crossed so hard that they look like a caduceus). I'm on track, as long as I don't fuck up too bad.

Third chapter is proving just as hard to get started as the other two. The beginning part is one of those 'let's review 200 years of history' things to set the context/groundwork for the rest of the chapter, and I've been wrestling with it for days to little result. My project is interdisciplinary -- on law, government, and literature -- and these introductory bits always make me realize exactly how little I know...a little more than my peers who don't do this kind of thing, perhaps, but still perilously little. Every word I write, I imagine a historian somewhere, snickering. So I'm thinking I'm going to start on the more meaty part of the chapter -- a reading of some parliamentary bits, still not my literary demesne but something I'm a bit more comfortable with than medieval jurisprudence -- and get that done. Maybe then the introductory/contextual bit will fall better into place.

Hello all, my name is cataptromancer and I'm writing a dissertation.
16th-Mar-2006 05:16 pm - intro & goals/needs post :)
artemis
Welcome to this new community, everyone! Please post an intro, what you are working in, that sort of thing.

My name is Alix, I'm ABD (duh) and i really need to make some significant progress on my diss!!
i still need to finish my prospectus. it's a long story, but i've basically had to start over. i need to finish my prospectus draft by the end of next week and i'd like to have a chapter draft or so done before the end of the school year. I'd like to have some form of a draft done by the end of summer.

i'm in a Comparative Literature program & the languages i'm working in for the diss are some Latin, but primarily Old French/Anglo-Norman, Middle High German, and Middle English. I am examining the depiction of Amazons in medieval retellings of classical tales, especiall the tales of Troy, Aeneas, and Alexander.

Although my advisors are great, i need more accountability. i would like for this to be a place where we can prod each other to write and read what the others write in order to offer advice.

what would you like this to be?
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