More on Peer Review…

To build upon last week’s post I thought I would summarize what seems to be the biggest critique and the most effective aspects of my proposal based on feedback thus far.

The primary critique I have received seems to be in regard to readers struggling to get a clear understanding of what I am trying to do, when reading my proposal. This is understandable since, when reading back over my proposal and comments, there seems to be a tension in the writing between wanting to tell the narrative of the Saltville Disaster and wanting to use it at a case study in disaster culture in Appalachia in the early 20th century. What I WANT to do is the latter. This is an area of my proposal that I immediately need to fix both in mind and on paper–it is imperative that readers (and myself) have a very clear sense of what I am trying ┬áto do. By fixing this issue, hopefully the topic, argument, and questions flow together more smoothly and logically.

The section(s) of my work that I have received the most positive feedback on are my Historiography/Methodology sections and placement. This seems ironic, because these are the sections that took me the longest to write and that I probably felt LEAST confident about. However, I am thankful to see that my efforts to place myself in historical discourse have not been entirely in vain (and that professors’ efforts to teach me how to write a historiography have not been entirely in vain), and that I at least have a sense of the scholarly conversations that I will be joining. Hopefully I will be able to continue to build upon these sections as I expand my Historiography to include a few other subjects or “petals”.

Overall, the peer review process has been a bit frightening but very insightful. My hope is that by the end of the semester, I will have a very clear sense of what my project is and how to progress it over the summer in terms of research and writing.

3 thoughts on “More on Peer Review…”

  1. I like the way you identify both strengths and weaknesses in the draft! Being aware of what works makes tinkering with problems much less stressful. Is memory of the disaster still going to be a part of the project?

  2. Dr. Jones,

    Memory of the disaster will absolutely still be a major part of the project! I think that it is a reflection of the type of disaster culture in Appalachia at the time and how people have dealt with that culture since. I just need to clarify–to other and to myself–that I am not writing a narrative on the Saltville disaster so much as using the narrative as a case study.

  3. Hi Carmen,

    I think your focus on disaster culture sounds very interesting and I am looking forward to hearing more about what “disaster culture” means! Do you think you could explain that, for those of us who are not familiar with the concept?

    I think it’s important for all of us to practice explaining our projects to someone who does not have a background in the type of history we are studying. I know I have been trying to get better at this with my klezmer thing.


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