Probation over…

Well – that’s the mini-viva and probation upgrade to PhD status over. Lots of constructive comments; mostly about the need to focus my literature review (I threw in everything but the kitchen sink). Lots of comments about my choice of language which they both love but at the same time worry about in the context of social science audiences. Having moved to the social sciences from a background in English and Critical Theory I think it’s always going to be a tension. The kind of interdisciplinary reading across the grain that I was trained in originally sits uneasily with disciplines that strive for ‘balance’.

I think I shocked one of my examiners (a very brilliant anthropologist who I respect enormously) when I suggested that Margaret Mead’s “Coming of Age in Samoa” could be read a seminal lesbian text.

Overall, I think one of the things that really struck me was how little knowledge even related academics in the social sciences have of sex and gender movements. I had made too many assumptions about the level of knowledge of my examiners in my literature review. I should have chunked the material down far more than I did. I think I was worried about appearing to talk down to two leaders in their fields. As they were happy to point out to me – my field of research is relatively new. I need to offer more of a map to readers to follow it…

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