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  • Post-Committee Meeting Comments

    Posted on April 27th, 2014 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    I am happy to report that I had my first committee meeting this week and it went well…and was a lot of fun, too!  It definitely helped that I have had Dr. Jones, Dr. Mollin, and Dr. Cline as professors before and was used to their style of feedback and this put me at ease for asking all of my follow-up questions.

    We discussed ways to narrow down my topic.  I will not be looking at 1940-1950, rather than 1945-1960.  This narrows things down a bit, but will also add a really interesting aspect of how things differed right before, during, and after World War II.  For example, I can looking at how male-female rations changed during and after the war and how this affected how much effort women put into their appearances, as well as what type of military training programs were on campus.  Additionally, we decided that I only need to look at one college, rather than one co-ed and one women’s college.  I am still planning on looking at Carnegie Mellon University (with University of Pittsburgh still as a back-up option).  This cuts one facet of my research in half and will make discussing the “college student reception” part of my thesis a lot more focused.  In relation to looking at CMU, they raised some pertinent questions, such as how elite was the school?, did women live on or off campus?, and where did they come from?

    We also discussed my evidence base at length.  All of my committee members are on board with my research trip to DC and had some great advice on how to prepare ahead of time and how to keep track of records.  They were also on board with the evidences I have in mind (magazines, advertisements, beauty manuals, sorority records, college newspapers, yearbooks) and also added student handbooks, course catalogs, and sorority recruitment records to the list.  We discussed how gathering all of this evidence will fit into my summer plans.

    We began to hammer down some of the details about the Public History components of my thesis.  I will still be trying to collect oral histories this summer (probably 6) and aim to learn how to interpret these in the fall with the help of Dr. Cline.  We also talked about the digital component, which I have begun working on as my final project for my Digital History course.  I shared the website that I have coded from scratch, what I have already added to it, and how I see it being valuable for both sharing information, and acting as a digital archive/exhibit of sorts.  There are some procedural issues to work out with both of these, such as IRB protocols for the oral histories and copyright issues if I decide to host my website.

    Overall, the committee gave me a lot to think about and I am even more excited to jump into my research this summer!

  • Upcoming committee meeting

    Posted on April 20th, 2014 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    I am really excited (and possibly a little nervous) for my first committee meeting this week.  On Thursday, I will be meeting with Dr. Jones, Dr. Mollin, and Dr. Cline to discuss my thesis proposal.  I have already discussed this project several times over with each of them, but I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say after reading my whole proposal.  It also helps that I have had each member as a teacher already, so I (hopefully) know what to expect in terms of their critiques and can begin to anticipate what they will have to say.

    Here is what I hope to come away from this meeting with:

    • Suggestions for changes to the proposal
    • A narrowed scope, possibly a more specific time frame
    • A refinement of my proposed sources
    • Suggestions for additional sources, if need be
    • A better and more clear summer research plan
    • Suggestions for how to better approach my historiography
    • Suggestions on what to clarify (especially terms and ideas)
    • Realigning (and possibly eliminating) some subquestions and subarguments
    • Assurance that this project is worthwhile pursuing
    • That all of my committee members are on board
    • An understanding of what the “public history” component/requirements will be

    Here is what I hope my committee members come away from this meeting with:

    • Feelings of excitement over this project!
    • Opinions that this project is worthwhile pursing
    • Answers to any questions they may have
    • Assurances for any concerns they may have
    • A better understanding (and appreciation) for my topic
    • A feeling that we can work well together, along with the other committee members
  • Proposal Revisions

    Posted on April 12th, 2014 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    This past week, I received a lot of great advice on how to improve my proposal from Dr. Jones and Amanda.  It was really interesting to see where their suggestions did or did not overlap.  I am looking forward to delving into how to really improve my proposal after meeting with my committee soon.

    Dr. Jones suggested that I work on being less vague with some of my ideas and gave me advice on how to make my ideas more concrete.  She also advised me to “tell a story” more and how to improve the way I look the sources in my literature review section.  We also discussed the idea the idea of narrowing this topic down more—something neither of us are sure how to do.  We are both hopeful that a meeting with my committee might yield some ideas!

    My next step will be to meet with my committee to discuss this proposal and ways to improve upon it.  I am then going to take their suggestions, along with those from Dr. Jones and Amanda, and thoroughly revise my paper, focusing on clarity, content, concreteness, and general errors/word structure.   In order really focus on clarity, I will have some friends and family members who are educated, but not historians, read over my ideas and see what makes sense to them. I will also continue to work on planning out my research process for this summer, trying to get a better idea of exactly which collections at which institutions I should visit.  I have found quite a number of prescriptive beauty texts from the 40s and 50s and ordered many from ILL, so I think being able to read through some of these will be a good step, as well.

  • Proposing a few ideas about my proposal

    Posted on April 6th, 2014 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    I was surprised by how much I learned writing my proposal!  I was skeptical about “faking” an argument going into the writing process, but it really helped me focus the other parts of the proposal around a central idea.  Writing a research question was also very helpful in thinking about my evidence and methodology because it really called into question what types of evidence are needed.  In some ways, it made me realize that I know a lot more about where I want to take this project.  At the same time, it made me realize how much I still have to find out about my topic!


    For the next draft, I would like to tighten my main argument and possible narrow my secondary arguments.  I have since found a few more texts I would like to add to streamline and strengthen my historiography.  I would also like to be more specific about my evidence and research plans, as well as provide better context to orient my audience to the topic.