Those who have been following this blog from its birth (almost a whole year now!) will know that I began this blog as a way of tracking and sharing my progress through my PhD. Some time has passed and I have gone down many avenues and posted on many topics that are important to me as a grad student, though I haven’t written as many progress blogposts as I had originally planned. Partly this is due to my not having much to report in the progress department. I have recently had my qualifying lists passed so I can move on to the next hurdle of the PhD. For a refresher on what the hell qualifying lists are, have a look here.
This is, I am glad to say, one of those oft longed for progress posts. After much finagling with my reading lists over the past academic year, meetings with my wonderful supervisor and committee, and various threads followed, I finally got the official go ahead that this reading list is good to go. To that end, I am sharing it here as part of my record of progress during my PhD. I want to address something else about doing this while I have your ear: I have been hearing here and there about piracy in academia and the politics about sharing one’s work on a forum such as a blog or other open format. I don’t have the source at hand, but there was an article I read a while back pointing out how silly it would be for anyone to try and pirate your ultra-specialized work (if you work in the humanities, of course). I am sure the rules are different for disciplines that deal in hard-and-fast new facts and proprietary findings, such as the sciences. The humanities moves at a much slower clip and, oftentimes, new work is all but impossible to pirate because — and this is the important bit — nobody else is working on the exact thing you are. That realization is both comforting and horrifying. That does not mean that I am sharing absolutely every bit of my work in a completely open and public way. What is does mean, however, is that I don’t worry about what I do share being scooped by the other (non-existent) people working on exactly the same thing that I’m doing. If anything, I’d be flattered if someone stole my work because at least then I’d know there’s someone out there who is interested.
Rather than somebody outright stealing my work, I would prefer it if people in a similar position to mine found something useful in what I’m sharing. After reading my first posts and trying to define or not define what I wanted this blog to be, I realized that I set out to make the PhD process a little less murky by being transparent, which has not been my experience of the process thus far. I have stumbled my way to this point and I expect to stumble even further as I progress. For now, though, I am proud of the work I have put into developing these lists and the rationales behind them and I am the first to say that they are far from perfect and I have so much more work to do that I am looking forward to (sort of). So, here are the completed lists as approved by the graduate committee in my department. I now have the task of reading all the titles listed and writing a couple of coherent papers on questions my committee chooses based on the work I have done thus far. This summer will be spent intensely reading and making notes on these texts.