I’ve recently started a new research project-position-thing in earnest. Doing so has made me realise the extent to which I have not been doing research in the past two years while I have been doing contract work, taking care of some unexpected health issues, and (half-heartedly) applying for jobs. At least, I haven’t been engaged in the same kind of focused, long-term reading and writing that goes along with something like writing a dissertation.
Which is to say I mostly feel like I’ve forgotten how to research.
The feeling is also doubtless because the new project requires a very different sort of methodology than I’ve previously used. I’m still looking at plays, but reading them primarily as performance texts rather than written texts. And theatre and performance studies has its own theoretical apparatus and methods with which (somewhat surprisingly given that I’ve been working with plays for nearly a decade now) I have a spotty familiarity.
So I’m pretty much in a reading phase right now: reading some preliminary and foundational books on theatre and performance theory. But I’m also trying to write at regular intervals as I finish texts, just as a way of processing thoughts in a loose but still tangible way.
(I say this but so far the only thoughts I have on reading are that I am really really enjoying have the time and space to read with curiosity, but without urgency. It’s a huge privilege, but also a nice reprieve from the last two years which have been veeeeeery difficult and painful in the literal senses of those words.)
At the same time I’m reading theatre and performance theory, I’m reading and watching plays regularly. Early modern ones, but also any plays — particularly ones that come up during reading. Currently in the midst of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. So far I’ve been laughing at Hedda’s scornful portrayal of Tesman’s academic habits, getting irritated at Tesman’s assumption that he’s just going to waltz into town and take a professorial job (‘I have every expectation of being a professor one of these days’), and then feeling anxious at the mere mention of job competitions (ugh).
I don’t really have an ending for this post. Random random thoughts.
21 September 2016