Taking part in the peer-reviewing process this past week has challenged me once more to critically consider my own project and the areas in which I can improve—this is part of the benefit of peer reviewing, no doubt. I believe this task absolutely built upon the personal reflection from last week—it is one thing to look back upon your own work and imagine what you might have done differently, it is another thing entirely to review another’s proposal and be enlightened or inspired about areas in which the author succeeded or struggled and how that compares to your own work.
In reviewing Kate’s proposal this week, I noticed one major strength that I feel as if my paper was lacking—true narrative. This is, of course, something our cohort has discussed in-depth in a variety of classes. The narrative aspect of our work becomes the hook that prevents our scholarship from joining the ranks of dry, uninspiring, historical discourse. As Cronon would say, “Don’t get (be?) bored.” By that same token, I believe our duty is in part to ensure that our readers don’t get bored, if we can help it. I certainly was not bored reading Kate’s introduction. While I wrote a rather brief introduction, Kate’s was lengthier, laying out the context within which her project and topic took place. In fact, she was even able to create a narrative in her Historiography section—in my opinion, the densest aspect of the entire proposal. She was able to concisely state what each area of historical discourse was covering and the ways in which scholars were treating those areas.
While I will save the bulk of my comments regarding the peer-review for the actual author (and Dr. Jones), I am definitely coming away from this process more aware of the narrative (or lack thereof) in my own work and have been inspired to make some changes and consider other options for my proposal. All in all, I would certainly say that this assignment was conducive to producing better second drafts for both the peer-reviewer and the reviewed.