Sunday, 22 November 2015

3 Month Update - November 2015

In Numbers: 
Thesis words written: 3000(ish)
Supervisions attended: 2
Conference papers accepted(!): 1  
Conference papers written: 0
Loaves of soda bread baked: 4 (it's an obsession)

In Words
The last three months have really felt like a period of transition. This has to do with a few things, I suppose. Autumn (and the new academic year) always feel like a new start to me. But there have also been changes in my research environment: finally, there are new PhD students! Up until now, I've felt a little at sea amongst other PhDs who are much further into their research than I am. And while everyone has always been friendly, there's a renewed sense of community now that there are other newbies around

With regards to the research? It's been slower than in previous months. My thesis is based around a codex so, my primary texts are chosen for me. And because the manuscript is a miscellany, not all of the texts marry closely with my research interests. Which, necessarily, makes the process a little more laboured. But, for the most part, there has been something of interest in every text I've read. (Although Maidstone's Penitential Psalms is not one I'm going to be falling over myself to re-read.) But, the primary reading is done! Hurrah!

Now, I'm having to look forwards. And, I'll admit: my primary texts have acted as a pathfinder for me. Thus far, my research has been guided by those texts, the primary bibliography, and my own related literature searches. But now I feel as though I've reached the end of the known world and I'm now heading firmly towards the 'here be monsters' section of this literature review. 

But, there is a reprieve: I've had a paper accepted for Gender and Medieval Studies 2016 in Hull in January. Apart from being hugely excited that the paper has actually been accepted, I'm also somewhat relieved that I have another short-term goal to work on!

So, here's how I've progressed on my goals from last time:

  • Finish my primary reading: DONE 41 items of late medieval literature: read!
  • Decide on my next research goal: IN PROGRESS. After the conference in January, I have a long and disorganised list of 'things I need to learn about.' I need to sit down and work out which things take priority and how to approach them.
  • Send out a call for papers for a conference I’m organising: DONE The call for papers is out, and open! I'm so pleased we've been able to keep the focus on professional development, and the focus broad. You can find the CoP here..
  •  Hit 2,000 page views on this blog: DONE. I thought this one was far too ambitious, but it's been done! Thanks to a post on stress, which you can read here. I was a little anxious about being so candid, but it seems to have struck a chord. Thank you for anyone reading this!

 Looking Forward to February 2016

(just writing that is scary - it will be a year since I started this PhD!)
  • Send follow up emails to interesting people I meet at Gender in Medieval Studies. I know a lot of people dread conferences, but I find they can quite often be quite enjoyable, especially if you meet people who you find interesting. But I am awful at following up with people: I never have any means of chatting with them again. So my aim is to follow-up with anyone who I find interesting, even if it's just to say 'that was a nice chat, thanks.'
  • Do something to celebrate my thesisversary (yes, I am calling it a 'thesisversary'). With all this relentless looking forward, I don't want to lose sight of the progress I've already made. With this in mind, I am going to plan something: it might be a day trip, it might be a massage, it might be a fancy meal. 
  • Attend Old English Reading Group at least one a fortnight. I'm very mindful I don't want to get stuck in an uber-late Medieval bubble. And I'm still upset I can't study both ends of the medieval period. So this is a way to remedy that.
  • Book a trip to Oxford to see my manuscript in person. I have to admit, I think of the manuscript as 'my' manuscript. And although I'm not a codicologist, I'd like to see the real thing, make use of the Bodleian, and catch up with old friends.

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