Friday, February 20, 2009

reading list? what?

I ran into Blackwood in the English Department office when I went to file my paperwork yesterday. We said our hellos and confirmed that the defense was on for the third. As I was about to leave, he said, "Did we talk about a reading list?" Not that I recall. What's that about? He said something about "twenty-five or thirty books," but suggested that I talk to the graduate coordinator to see if they've got specific guidelines written down somewhere - they may have changed when the department revised the thesis requirement.

So I talk to the graduate coordinator. He's in the middle of eating lunch in his office, but mumbles something about texts I read in my seminars. Twenty-five of them? Yes, and they should represent some sort of coherent ... something ... that will provide a basis for discussion at my defense. Huh. I kind of thought my thesis would provide a basis for discussion at my defense. But hey, whatever. On my way out, the coordinator mentions that my prospectus needs to be revised to reflect the new thesis guidelines. Again: whatever. That part at least should be easy, since the thesis is already written.

The reading list, though. I sat down to make a list of 25-30 texts I had read in my seminars, and realized that at this point I can't even remember what classes I took for my program of study, let alone what I read for those classes. I looked up my transcript, but all the classes are listed as course numbers with generic titles - they either say "seminar in the novel" or "seminar in British Literature 1660-1830." Yeah, that narrows it down. I ended up going through my past blog posts to remind myself what my seminars were about. That was helpful, but I still don't have a list of texts. I'll have to see if I still have old syllabi lying around somewhere.


AnnieD said...

Ah, god, bureaucracy in the way of progress!!!

congrats on your defense at any rate!!

Octavia said...

Most of the bureaucratic hoops I've been asked to jump through are trivial compared to the effort of actually researching, writing, and revising the thesis. Still, there are those days when I just think, Seriously? How important is this to the credibility of my degree?

And then I dutifully jump through the required hoop, because I want my little piece of paper.