PhD meet critical theory, theory meet my thesis; Good, now let’s get on with it.

by Anna Blanch on February 19, 2010

I’ve decided that my theoretical approach to my thesis bears some resemblance to cooking steak. It’s like taking a piece of stewing steak (or even mutton, yep, the cheaper the better. And then taking lots of ingredients (fancy spices, sauces, some old faithfuls) and throwing them together with the meat. And Rubbing them in. After that I Leave the meat to marinate for a while – hours, days even – and then maybe I beat the meat within an inch of its sorry existence or i slow cook it, or barbeque it…either way its violent, bloody and hopefully worth the effort! We hope it goes down the examiner’s gullet with them greedily wanting more…

If only it was as simple as:

PhD meet critical theory, theory meet my thesis; Good, now let’s get on with it.

My relationship with theory used to be sort of like the relationship you have with that friend/distant relation that you put up with but wouldn’t really invite to the party unless you really had to. I still feel that way about some theory – psychoanalytic, gender criticsim, queer theory – and although it may not be a good way to treat family, I feel completely fine with picking and choosing theoretical frameworks and models to suit my needs.I must say that I have read enough of the theoretical frameworks I dismiss to justify why I don’t find them particularly helpful for the way that I read, so I am not dismissing them out of hand on the basis of ideological difference (just in case anyone happened to be wondering…).

Sometimes I relate to theory like one does with a sibling. You love them to bits but you know their failings, and past histories, messes and magnificent victories, but as much as you love them sometimes they make you get so mad you point your finger, stamp your foot, throw a book or a pillow, and storm out of a room banging a door occasionally (don’t judge I am the expressive type!) before apologizing, working out your differences and making up. Usually you laugh at each other, enjoy each others company and celebrate their successes. It still doesn’t stop them (or you) behaving like a brat sometimes!


Yep, it’s been that kind of week. My supervisor has encouraged me that the mist/fog will clear eventually – I just hope it is sooner rather than later. I got me some major chapter-age to write.


That didn’t sound much like someone who has an MA in English did it? no, well, sorry – it’s friday afternoon and as much as i love Nesbit I am afterall comparing my thesis to a big piece of juicy, bloody meat. So, really, what do you expect?

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