LOTS of thoughts on research

This week has been slightly less hectic than other weeks. Tuesday night was my roommate’s birthday, and since she’s in the play, her party didn’t start until 11 pm. Luckily, I didn’t have much to do the next day. As in, the professor that usually gives me about 150-200 pages of reading a week didn’t assign anything for that night.

Unfortunately, I may or may not be getting sick. It could just be exhaustion, and I sincerely hope that’s what it is. I think I’m on the upswing now – it really sucked for two days there, but now I’m feeling fine.

That’s okay, because today is for chilling out, doing homework, and finishing up my Study Abroad essays and editing my abstract for NCUR.

These days I’ve been thinking a lot about my research projects. Last week, I saw my adviser for the Arthur Project (huge research project I’ve wanted to do since I was a freshman in college). She was still very willing to work with me, and excited about it, so that’s an all-systems-go!

The topic of my research is going to be an analysis of queer reconstruction in modern retellings of the Arthurian Legends. Specifically, I’ll be focusing on The Mists of Avalon and The Once and Future King as pillars of Arthurian legend in the 20th century. I may broaden it to include some film studies, but I’d like to keep it to these (rather large) works.

I’m specifically intrigued by the character of Lancelot, who is often read as in love with Arthur.

The other track that I’m thinking of taking with the research is to analyze queer theory as a making of personal mythology, and to analyze the power of ancient legend in everyday life. Why is this particular fantasy chosen? What is it about this fantasy that makes it applicable? Is there a moral ambiguity in Arthurian legend that allows it to have continual revelence? Also, why is it necessary to retell these particular myths through a 20th-century lens, with very clearly queered characters?

To critically address these issues, I’ll be producing a traditional paper (probably just conference length, rather than journal-length). But I also really have this problem with academic research being really ivory tower. Last summer’s project was not as ivory-tower, but this summer’s could prove to be. So I took a tip from a good friend of mine, and will be adding a creative component to this. I’ll be writing a book of poetry! Marcela ironically pointed out that no one reads poetry, and so she told me I’d have to create a blog to go along with it.

Does that sound like my sort of thing at all? Methinks it does.

Therefore, before the summer starts I should really re-read/skim through both books so they’re fresh in my mind, or at the very least find small sections of the works that I can analyze further in the broader context of plot and character development.

So that’s what I’ll be spending my summer on! How exciting!

I do, however, have to finish up my research project from this summer. In my meeting with Earl for advising weeks, he said that if I was personally invested in finishing up that research, then there wouldn’t have to be formal academic acknowledgment of my finishing that. I was able to get an A for the class this summer, and that will show up on my transcript as my having finished the research. I can continue to write articles on my own time.

That basically means I have to kick myself in the pants to get things done, if I don’t have an outside force kicking me in the pants. That means that I’ll have to rewrite my research schedule. I’m no longer planning on doing a media/video project for it, but rather writing several articles with different focuses to be published for different audiences. (That was Marcela’s – the Arthur project adviser – idea, and it was a damn good one.)

I also have to seek out ways to present my research and knowledge.

I plan on presenting on my research at NCUR (National Consortium on Undergraduate Research), if I get accepted as a conference participant. The deadline for those abstracts is today, so I’d better get a move on with that one. I already have a draft of my abstract from the summer, but it could DEFINITELY use some editing.

So that’s today. I’ll just be sitting around, chillin’, and writing my Study Abroad essays and editing the Abstract. I’ve also got a large chunk of homework to do, but it’s not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. And I’m sure there’s something I should be doing for Grand Aspirations, that I’m forgetting about.

Oh well. Time for showering.

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