Thursday, February 19, 2009

What HAVE I been doing for four years??

It's a dissertation post. If you don't want to hear about my dissertation, I don't blame you. I don't want to hear about it either.

Right, so I've been dissertating for 4 years. Well, writing for only 3 since I did spend one year researching trying to find a subject and then learn enough about the subject to see if there is anything that can be said about the subject that hasn't already been said and then searching through this really random journal that proposes to be filled with a list of everything that graduate students are working on (although I am not really sure how that works... but I was told to do it and one thing you learn quickly is that you can't convince your advisor of anything). This means I have several article ideas and a rather large file on Roman Britain and on Roman hoards. Alas, Roman Britain is being worked on by Brits and Roman hoards is too large of a subject. Richard Hobbs did a very good dissertation and publication of hoards from 200-700 that was published in 2006, so BOY am I glad I didn't start working on that.

Anyway, I started writing in... well, my abstract dates to February 2005 and it's freakin' hilarious because it SO is not what I'm doing. Reading it I can see why my advisor keeps trying to make me write about myth and allegory. But I was in a rush to get something turned into the graduate school because my department was going through... lets call them "growing pains" and there was the worry that some graduate students would get lost in the mishmash. It took another two years for that to happen, but it did eventually happen. I am graduate student road-kill. So it looks as if I started doing some preliminary writing in the fall of 05 but most of my docs date to 2006. It's now 2009 and what have I got to show for myself?

By chapter -
Introduction: 5 pages, 2 footnotes
History of Research: 9 pages, 13 footnotes
Theory: 14 pages, 59 footnotes
Prolegomena: 24 pages, 94 footnotes
BC silver: 8 pages, 22 footnotes
Social setting 1st c: 5 pages, 17 footnotes
1st c silver: 29 pages, 56 footnotes
Social setting 2-3rd c:7 pages, 13 footnotes
2-3c silver:16 pages, 23 footnotes (this is the chapter I'm working on, it'll get longer)
Social setting 4th c: 8 pages, 7 footnotes
4th c silver: 56 pages, 158 footnotes (yup, it's a doozy - this is the chapter I threatened to turn into a master's thesis, now you see why)
Conclusion: yeah, I gotta rewrite that, probably from scratch...
Catalogue: 56 pages, bibliographic references in text, not footnotes
Bibliographic sources: 332 listed, probably more, I'll have to go through every single file to make sure they're all there.

Not including possible appendices (I really don't see the point of adding them, but it depends on how my advisor feels about it)... Total pages: 237
Total footnotes: 464

This also doesn't include any images. I haven't put any into the text yet as this would make the documents VERY unwieldy.

So there you go. You now know what I've been doing with myself and what all I've done.

To do:
Finish 2-3rd c. silver - talk about fish and death imagery, decide on whether or not to include Wettingen treasure (looking at the engravings, I'm thinking there's not really so much of what I'd call "figural decoration" on the plates...) but I need to make sure, whip up a nice bit on the Historia Augusta and the evidence we can glean from it (insert Jon Stewart "America: the book" as a footnote).
Write conclusion.

I think I'm down to reading my last four articles. One french, two german, one english.

Normal people would say, oh, you'll be done in a week. I'm not normal people and I do not want to raise anyone's hopes. Especially since there are TWO german articles to read. I have to take two days off to paint trim and I am not going to be able to do much in the way of dissertating when I'm responsible for taping floors, making dinner, painting trim and moving furniture around the apartment. My dear husband however has reached the end of his rope and can't do any more on his own.


  1. You have my utter and complete empathy.

  2. What an admirable way to devote your life. I can understand your frustration with so much on your plate. But you need to congratulate yourself for committing to such a worthy endeavor. Good luck!


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