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 to 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.