Monday, 16 September 2013

week 2 blogging question

You guessed it: our first discussion question for the blogs comes straight from the end of chapter 1 of Luker's Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences, which recommends that students begin their own research diaries with the following exercise:

[from Luker, p. 21] "Someone once asked Balzac, who supported himself by writing reviews of plays, how liked a play he had just seen. 'How should I know?' he is reported to have answered: 'I haven't written the review yet!' Balzac was onto something: I find that when I write things down, I write and think things I've never really thought before. ... Set a kitchen timer for fifteen minutes, and write about what question concerning the ... research world you would like to investigate if you were absolutely guaranteed you would not fail. Be as ambitious and wide-ranging in your thinking as you want."

It's up to you whether you want to keep a private research diary, or treat your group blogs as your diary, or regard the two as intersecting from time to time. The point is simply to write down and externalize your thoughts so that you can step back, reflect, and see them evolve over time. However you approach it, this exercise is also a great way to get to know your other group members, so don't hesitate to discuss each other's posts in the comments. Even if you don't have a blog group yet, you can start writing offline so that you'll have your post ready once everyone is sorted into blog groups, which should be completed by the end of this Wednesday.

Btw, the Balzac reference really needs a proper citation, as do many of Luker's other references to cultural texts like William Blake poems. How would we know if Balzac didn't say this, or meant something different in context? (Remember how no one actually says "play it again, Sam" in Casablanca, despite all the erroneous attributions of that line to the film...) I recommend not following her example -- at least in this regard -- in your assignments.

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