Thesis Woes

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(A rare glimpse of me on the blog)

As I entered my (second) first semester of graduate school, my goal was to meet with my adviser as soon as possible. I firmly believe that we are an academic “match made in heaven”. We discussed my background, interests, and most importantly my thesis. Since my senior year (undergraduate), it was my goal to finish the Flowers history as my masters thesis and to move forward in a Ph.D. program with a new thesis (which I already have #nerd). With her approval and support, she told me the words I wanted to hear, “You can do this.”I expressed some hesitation in the logistics behind this thesis; however, she assured me that this could if I framed it in the correct format.

I agree, but how?

For over two years, I have been blogging about this family’s history and this has been no easy task. This family touches on a multitude of history-military, education, sports, the rise of the middle class, migration, opera, fashion, religion, etc.. To compile their history in three chapters, each of 25-30 pages, is a daunting task. Whose story do I leave out/whose story do I include? What if it is not good? How would I feel if someone wrote this about my family? This brings me to the bigger question at hand-how do I arrange this thesis?

I am working with the following breakdown:

I. Title Page
II. Genealogical Chart
III. Abstract
III. Intro: Meeting the Flowers
IV. Chapter I
V. Chapter II
VI. Chapter III
VII. Conclusion
VIII. Appendix

Current Possible Themes:

(TOPICALLY) Family history by location—(1) Florida (2) Pennsylvania (3) Mississippi.

(CHRONOLOGICALLY) To be an American, the fight to be an American through education, fighting in war, religion, class, etc.

Time to read some more books.

Until the next post,

Christina

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2 responses to “Thesis Woes

  1. It will be at least twenty-five years before you might not be able to argue that a standard chronology (using the natural developments that advance the family history to advance the narrative) is in itself an inherently valuable, even singular contribution to the discipline. That can’t be said of an “equivelent” white history – in spite of the boom that justifiably skyrocketed African-American social history to dominate the subfield beginning in the 1990s, the kind of organized primary source-based material you describe continues to fill a crucial need: we simply need more of it. The Federal Works Project histories are great guideposts, but are rendered unreliable by the intrusive methodology of the white researchers.
    Still, if you COULD use opera or fashion (particularly opera) as your reference point/angle/ lens, that would be extremely cool. That instant niche would make your work stand out much more than education, migration, or class development – it would greatly expand publication and presentation opportunities for individual chapters (shortened!).

    You may find the prospect of a new topic less appealing after completing your thesis. All that work can become impossible not to choose to build on once you are also facing all your PHD requirements. If I were you (sorry, I’m old and bossy and have faith that you won’t hesitate to ignore me (-: ), I’d do the easier chronology for the thesis, and then knock ’em dead with the opera angle for the dissertation.

    I’ll be looking for you on TV as a talking head in a few years!

    And don’t forget to rebel at least twice a year during graduate school

    • I am constantly pushing myself to do something non-traditional and outside of the box when I should follow the easier chronicalogical method.

      With my undergraduate and graduate papers focused on this family’s history, I did not want to limit myself to Ph.D. programs who may want to see me do something different as oppose to continuing research I have done for the pass four to five years.

      Thank you for your insight and I will rebel at least twice this year:)

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