Tuesday, 23 June 2015

At a glance: One hopelessly overambitious project (first attempt)

As previously mentioned, I'm going to be blogging about my thesis project over the next few years. (Haven't actually started it formally yet but that is a mere detail.)

With some degree of arbitrariness (but, I think, a heuristically useful arbitrariness at this stage), I've planned out my workload by splitting each of the six proposed parts into six sub-sections. Obviously it probably won't work out like this when it comes to writing but it's been a useful exercise to try and get a handle on how it'll all fit together (or how it won't).

I II III IV V VI
Earth
and
Cosmos
Stoics/
ancients
Leibniz/
moderns
Humboldt/
Colonialists
Amerindians/
non-moderns
Whitehead/
warriors
Latour/
Gaia
Geopolitics
and
Environment
Montesquieu/
climate
Humboldt/
ecology
Mackinder/
race
Heidegger/
welt
Critical/
environment
Latour/
Earthbound
Spherology
and
Fortification
Walls/
wars
Fences/
animals
Forts/
bunkers
Armour/
self
Enclaves/
embassies
Hydrological/
planetary
Diplomacy
and
Territory
Varieties/
genealogies
Stengers/
pragmatism
Amerindian/
ethnohistory
White/
middle
Negotiation/
war
Activism/
power
Possibilism
and
Possession
Febvre/
geography
Cronon/
environment
Lakes/
changes
Schmitt/
economy
Tarde/
possession
Activism/
dispossession
Geohistory
and
Geodesy
Braudel/
Deleuze
Rudwick/
Parker
Hamblin/
Edwards
Latour/
Lovelock
Schmitt/
division
Grounds/
possession

This schematic will mean nothing to anyone except me (and it is all entirely provisional, especially the last two chapters). However, I will be writing some chapter-by-chapter sketches in the near future.

6 comments:

  1. do you need to go so far back, hard to see how you can get so much in?
    http://environment.tufts.edu/blog/2015/05/11/urmialake/

    ReplyDelete
  2. In a word, yes, I think that I need to go that far back but undoubtedly the challenge is to find a degree of abstraction that can accommodate so much without becoming purely philosophical -- in other words, having the freedom of abstraction to range so widely while still having the ability to slow down and look at particular key moments/events more intensively and empirically. Certainly, the first part in particular is a philosophical history rather than a history of philosophy (and that difference is crucial). The later parts are a little different and more focused. None of it is intended to be complete or comprehensive. I'm not attempting to write a global history of X,Y,Z but to weave together those elements that I think are most crucial. I think it's all plausible so long as I can justify my modes of abstraction.

    Also, the thesis itself may eventually comprise only some of what's listed here (maybe the first 2/3) but I intend to work on all of it as, in my mind, it's all essentially interconnected. I'm equivocating over whether to think of it as a thesis plan or just a project from which the thesis will be drawn (the latter is probably more realistic).

    In any case, I won't be bored :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. yeah that's several books worth of content and as i often remind folks trying to get a dissertation done (not to mention qualifying exams at least here in the US) this isn't your 1stbook that you are writing for yourself but the last paper you are writing for profs/readers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. True but that's why I'm thinking of it more as a project that will probably be portioned off into more than one text. (It already has been, in fact, as I've already published a couple of bits of it.) I'm well aware that a thesis is something to be endured for the majority of people! That said, there have been good books produced from theses.

    ReplyDelete
  5. yes but they are truly separate works for different tasks/masters.
    the big shift from writing assigned short papers to a diss is that one has to learn to frame a workable problem, almost everyone overshoots at first, either way good not to be too precious about the work and to remember who the audience is and that one is a student not an auteur.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, but I think that the above *is* a response to a workable problem. An abstractly defined one but nevertheless!

    But what do I know? You are probably correct. In any case, we shall see soon enough. For the time being, I shall continue as I have been doing. It's gotten me this far.

    ReplyDelete