18.10.05

Dissertation Update: Still Revising

A brief update on what I accomplished - or didn't - during my blogosphere-hiatus. In two words, still revising....

I'd love to report that chapters 1 and 2 are finished as well as the book review for a South Asia journal. Also that I've revised a chapter for an edited volume and finished, at the very least, a first draft of a journal length article that I hope will double as a writing sample for post-doc positions that I intend to apply for. Sadly that isn't the case.

Till about three days ago, I was beating myself up over the fact that I'd planned to be done with the first two chapters of the dissertation by September 14, if not September 5. Add to that fact that I began reworking the (almost complete) chapter for the edited volume, the book review is pending, and I have yet to actually start the journal-length article/writing sample.

But I've stopped beating myself up about failing to cross these things off my to-do list and move on to the next one for two reasons:

1. Had I blown off dissertaing/academicking, I'd be disappointed but I've been working hard..... writing, rewriting, reworking, and rethinking. This has resulted in major epiphanies re: structuring chapters 1 and 2. The argument, as I now anticipate it, is going to be much more precise, clear, and sharp. I've also revamped the chapter for the edited volume - while the previous iteration was somewhat complacent in its attempt to wrestle with the issue I was writing about, this one seems to me to be both complex and crisp...I'm enjoying, in a weird way, confronting issues that I either avoided or took for granted in thinking through the notion of 'difference' and my own conceptualization of it in my work.
2. Chapter 2 has finally been edited down from rambling for 117 pages to a more decent length. One of my mentors at my previous school used to say - if you've gone on for that long you've said nothing. So the decent length means I'm closer to actually making an argument, to saying something that is hopefully worth saying.

Hmm I should add # 3: fasting during Ramzan means I'm generally less productive since I tend to drink lots and lots of water and feast on sometimes-nutritious-and-other-times-sinful-but gratifying snacks while reading and writing. But since it's day 14 of Ramzan I should be used to it by now. Okay maybe I'm better adjusted on some days than others! But then again is my desire to include reason # 3 because it 'is' the case or should I chalk it up to a habitual residue from my days of teaching where everything had to have 3 points....?

I'll admit that I continue to wish I had something finished to show for what I've been working on since this past July. However, as of 3 (hmm... and so it reappears!) days ago, it is no longer stopping me from celebrating and being proud of all I've wrestled with and where I've gotten. Where I'm at with my arguments is by no means perfect but it is definitely more thoughtful and a place that I like....and I'm committing myself to getting all of this done over the next 3 weeks.

Back to work!

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