An update from Mistris Parliament
May 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
Just popping in to say that most of my energies these last few months went into teaching and working on my research project. Among other things, I taught a revised version of “Writing and Research,” a course for second-semester juniors at Bard who want a head start on their senior thesises. Some great projects began to unfold–investigations of cell phones in Somalia, British identities in BBC’s Sherlock, the metaphysics of Facebook, the constitution of the Weimar Republic, Mary Cassatt’s portraits of children, mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, the cultural significance of a beloved Indian legend in Michigan, remuneration for artists in a post-copyright future, North Korea’s “soft power” strategies, optimum pricing models for online music. Among other things, the students discovered that one of the most difficult aspects of conceiving a long research project is coming up with a good research question, which often takes time to emerge.
Don’t I know it. Helping students wrestle with the same issues I’m grappling with has helped me think more clearly about the mental and rhetorical moves of dissertation writing. My dissertation investigates popular print during the Interregnum to understand more about how relationships between the humbler sort and the monarchy were imagined. I’ve been working at the macro level, forming working thesises and frameworks for each of the four chapters. And rediscovered the power of free writing to relieve the anxious clutter in my head and sort out my tangled ideas.
An unusually rich summer approaches. My friend Mary and I are attending the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate (a longtime fantasy), then heading to London, where I will wallow in archival research. I pinch myself every now and then.