Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Bullets of Research

  • There often comes a point for me when I'm working on an essay when the entire thing seems totally obvious. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It's a good thing when it means that my thinking about the critical problem has resolved into focus, and the logic seems so plain as to be self evident. On the other hand, it could also mean that the answer to the critical problem was in fact totally obvious, and therefore, not really worth a 25-page argument.
  • About a month ago, a regional conference emailed me and asked whether I'd be interested in doing a plenary talk (!!!). This on the strength of one article that is in a slightly off-the-beaten-path journal (though it publishes high quality work), and a short article in an online journal. I am excited about this, as you may guess, as I've never done a plenary before, but the impostor syndrome sets in pretty badly every time I think about it. The good news is that I have a good idea for the talk and the article that may grow out of it.
  • In prepping this grad class on what was essentially my diss topic (though more broadly construed), I am reveling in the opportunity to return to my research with clearer eyes. It's amazing to have a better sense of which sources were really important, and which ones were minor in the grand scheme. This is also helpful in figuring out what some of the more important conversations are in this little corner of the field, and ways that I can make my contributions more central. Since my teaching load is so light, I'm really hoping to coordinate weekly readings with a return to relevant sections of the diss, rewriting and reorganizing, and generally jumpstarting the revisions in as many places as possible.
  • One of the pieces I'm hoping to revisit, one I'm teaching in March, may be an excellent fit for the drama division's panel at MLA next year. Should I write up and abstract, since it's something I'm going to be working on anyway?
  • On top of these things (the article nearing completion, the plenary talk, returning to the book project) I'm trying to get the last of the edited collection done in the next few months. Because it's got a deadline in September, it will take priority at times, even though it's kind of a minor part of my overall research profile, but the light at the end of this tunnel feels like it's worth it. Let's hope so.
Classes start tomorrow. I wonder why I'm choosing this moment to fixate on publishing?

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