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Turning the Tables

February 2, 2017

I’ve turned the tables on my dissertation! What was once a study of Edward I is now focused on the people of medieval Dublin – their experiences, social circles, what and how they remembered, how they perceived themselves and their communities. This project was in danger of becoming a dry institutional history, but I’m seeing now how it has transformed into a (hopefully lively) social history – definitely a change for the better. I was actually dreading my return to chapter 1, which desperately needed revising because it lacked an interesting argument (well, any coherent argument at all, to be honest) but writing it was just so boring I kept postponing revision. This involves much more than revision, actually; it is a massive (and massively time-consuming) rewriting, but in the end it will be so completely worth it. As I rewrite I’m seeing how my dissertation’s new angle (orality and social memory) is somehow breathing new life into this chapter. I’ve written medieval Dubliners back into the story, and my feelings toward my dissertation are much more positive because of this change. This project has taken so many twists and turns (it’s strange to think that, once upon a time, it originated as a study of burial culture!) but now I finally feel like I’m grounded, I’m where I’m supposed to be, and I’m really proud of what it has become. I just hope the right words come together very quickly so I can defend and move on to the next steps (turn it into a book? maybe?).

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