My AcWriMo goals

A couple of days ago, the PhD2Published website announced that in November, they will be running their own spin off version of NaNoWriMo, called AcWriMo – in other words Academic Writing Month.

This comes at a good time for me: By the end of next week I will be starting a new job which will be fewer hours than my current one, which means I’ll have more time to write. So I’ve decided to join in the fun!

AcWriMo encourages you to set ambitious goals for the writing you want to get done in November, state them somewhere publicly (to help hold yourself accountable) and then share your progress with the AcWriMo community (for example via Twitter using the #AcWriMo hashtag).

I currently have two chapters of analysis of popular feminism which need some serious work (it started out as one chapter which turned into a bit of a two-headed monster). Both are about half done, so my goal for November will be to complete both chapters.

In addition, and as I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, I want to hold myself to writing a post on here at least once a week throughout the month. This could either be related to my writing progress, or on another topic.

I’m excited (and also nervous) about the changes ahead for me – both in starting a new job as well as having more study-time. I’m hoping that committing to AcWriMo will help me establish a new and productive working pattern and help motivate me to make the best use of the additional precious time I’ll have to research and write each week!

WhiteSpaces Postgraduate Network virtual seminar

Next week, the WhiteSpaces Postgraduate Network is running a week-long virtual seminar on their blog, En/countering Whiteness.

The title of the seminar is ‘Encountering Racism Down Under: Antipodean perspectives on the construction of tolerance and white sovereignty’and the reading set is Ghassan Hage (1998) ‘Good White Nationalists: The Tolerant Society as a White Fantasy’ and Aileen Moreton-Robinson and Fiona Nicoll (2006) ‘We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches: Protesting cultures of white possession’.

Follow the second link above to find out how to access the reading and take part in the discussion. I’m gonna have a go – never participated in an online seminar before but I like the idea!

The possibilities of blogging

Over the last week, I’ve been re-connecting with Twitter (I used to love it, then I got bored, now I love it again), following a bunch of new accounts in the so-called ‘academic twittersphere’ (do people actually call it that, or did I make that up?). This has led me to coming across quite a few articles about why it’s important that academic researchers engage with social media and generally embrace all the possibilities that the Internet offers in terms of sharing research and ideas, enabling conversations, and making academic research and discussion available outside institutional paywalls and expensive conferences.

One article which has been doing the rounds on Twitter, is this interview with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson, two social scientists from LSE, in which they argue for the importance of academics blogging:

…a new paradigm of research communications has grown up – one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication in which blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ news-streams and communities.  So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.

I am totally on board with this, and although it’s easy to get ‘information overload’ vertigo when you start following trails of information around online, I love spending whole days reading information online, and get all tingly about the possibilities of sharing my own research online (although, for now, quite intimidated too).

Anyway, I’m just writing this post to feel my way forwards in terms of my own online presence as a researcher, knowing I want to engage and contribute to critical thinking online. Share and learn and connect. I still see the main purpose of this blog (as relatively timid and silent as it’s been so far) to be a space for me to write about my experience as a PhD student, about what I’m reading, sharing thoughts on process and methodology as much or more than actually sharing research findings. But with time, that will come too, I am sure.

I also find what Dunleavy and Gilson say about blogs by individuals vs. group blogs interesting, and I think this is definitely something to think about in the future…

An update!

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted anything. When I have occasionally remembered about this blog I have thought that maybe I should just delete it, because blogs without updates make me sad. But something has stopped me – I still have this little urge and desire to keep with it. To keep posting, however seldomly, because one day my will to blog will overcome this hesitance. So for now, it stays.

In actual PhD news, I am in the middle of drafting my first chapter, in which I’m analysing how contemporary feminist academic texts (published in the UK) construct narratives of the recent feminist past, how race fits into these narratives, and what the implications are in terms of what these texts propose as ‘solutions’ for the future of feminism. Or something.

Maybe it’s not so coincidental that I remembered about the blog now, and decided it was absolutely vital that I update it, at precisely this moment when I should be writing this chapter….