And now for something completely different...

I offer you a bit of angst (If E writes her BED suffering from PTSD post, this will fit right in):

For those of you who don't know me in RL, this upcoming week is one of those "Weeks that may change lives"-type of week. Okay, I'm exaggerating but it is a fairly important week. After nearly four years (including the months spent away from TUWSNBN) of dedicated learning and figuring out what I want to do my research on, I'll be defending my proposal. As I sit here in TUWSNBN's office wondering whether to spend more time brushing up on my (easily-forgotten so probably not worth trying) knowledge of "classical social theorists", panicking about the (many) "people I have not read but really should have" or just go home and contemplate my navel, let me share with you some of the reactions I have received about this upcoming event.

Since the announcement went out to the TUWSNBN's departmental community, I have been getting two (rather different) reactions:

1. The folks who have told me not to be pessimistic about my prospects. I find this rather amusing since (forgive me for essentialising national traits* but) it seems very American to me to be emphasising success or even "not considering failure as an option". The tall poppy, instead of being cut down, gets rewarded. I was in a conversation a few days ago in which the participants were trying to figure out ways of getting it across to people that a lack of enthusiasm for discussing outcomes does not necessarily imply a lack of commitment towards ensuring said outcome is favourable.

Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable talking about this process or even what I feel like. Ideally, I would have preferred most people not to have known I am defending this week (I think writing on PTSD is okay since most TUWSNBN folks don't actually read PTSD). Doing things quietly and stealthily is my usual course in life. After all, that attitude has gotten me here so why change it?

I think I should write that not being keen visualising success or talking about the constant possibility of things not going according to plan does not mean that I am waiting for failure. Okay, I am contemplating failure but only as one of many possible outcomes. If the possibility of failure did not exist, then I see no point in actually doing work, trying to write a coherent presentation, making sure I think about some of the main issues that may arise. On the whole, that is why I am fond of WWHS. Hobbes' state of nature (and the possibility of being in such a state) is ever present, as far as I am concerned. It's all around. It's always there. Yes, I am spending most of the rest of the days before I have to defend trying to figure out issues that may arise but, ultimately, I don't know what will happen at that time. For me, that's actually rather entertaining. Like at the recent BNC, I might forget how to say a particular word in the language I am speaking in (I could think of how to say it in about five other languages but not in English--I had definitely not planned for it to happen but it did). All I can hope for is that I learn something out of the procedure.

2. There're also folks who have emailed me to ask about the "risks" of researching in Nepal and those who have congratulated me on "being able to drink and call it research" in Northern Ireland. These two aspects of what it means to do research in my two contexts are also quite amusing--Nepal seems to be seen as a fairly violent and not-very-safe place to be while Northern Ireland is seen as a fun, drinking (and thus social) environment. I think this fits in with my research question since, a few years ago, these particular representations about Northern Ireland/Nepal would probably have been switched around. I like it when research/everyday life intertwine.

That's about all the angst I can muster up right now. In the days ahead, when yous are not being bombarded with RFD-related comments (especially with the new episode with various important members coming up tomorrow), you will get to hear more of how this dissertating process is going and what happens.

* I'm well aware that how one is perceived depends on the social context. I think one of my OOD-related posts mentioned how, in the context of a small University in Northern Denmark, I was often described as "American", meaning I was fairly loud, critical of people's positionings during our weekly seminars and willing to point out people were wrong in their readings of SuperF. For those at TUWSNBN who know me, the representation of me as American will probably come as a huge source of amusement considering I hardly say anything when at academic gatherings here.


At 4/28/2006 7:44 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Seriously, we're not calling him BED. Way too weird. Can't we just say Nine and Ten, like everyone else?

At 4/28/2006 8:28 PM, Blogger Priya said...

Nah. That's just too dull--we need to distinguish ourselves from the masses--construct us/them boundaries one might say :-)

At 4/28/2006 9:53 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Okay, but if we could not construct them around CE as BED, that would be good. Maybe we go back to DT and CE? Or we could call CE HLJD? The Hawt Leather Jacket Doctor? How about DIB, the Doctor in Black?

I kind of like that last one.

At 4/29/2006 1:40 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Forgot to add--I love how you're finally remembering to put a big "if" in front of any posts that I promise to write.

At 4/29/2006 3:57 PM, Blogger Priya said...

DIB it is then. As in I give you dibs on that one :-)

Sorry, I just spent an entire day helping a friend move and then ending up at some random bloke's house being shown around his (newly-built and yet oh-so-1950s decor) house. My weekends (last weekend, filming a show; this weekend, seeing some bloke's house) are getting weirder and weirder.

Btw, the "if" thing worked--look at you--you posted 3 times today! Three! Okay, all were about various TV shows but that's what we (mostly) do these days :-)

At 5/05/2006 9:57 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Oh, I always have time to post. But note that none of them are the PTSD post that I originally promised.


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