Book Progress Report, Week 33 and 34

19 Jul

So. I’ve been hard at work on the concluding chapter for the past two weeks. It’s been difficult, because basically this was the chapter that really had yet to be written as part of the dissertation, and because I’m trying to make some pretty brassy claims about What It All Means.

A really helpful exercise for me was to meet with my newly formed feminist writing group last week, who read my Identity chapter and gave me feedback  on it. They did a great job of saying “you made a great point here – I think that’s your intervention” which is giving me the confidence to say “yes, THIS is what I am arguing with this book” in the conclusion. It was a really needed boost too, as I presented some of my analysis at a conference last week and while it was met with mostly positive reception, there were a few snarks in the audience, and while I realize that you’re not going to please everyone with your work (and you probably shouldn’t if you’re making any kind of substantive intervention), I took it pretty hard in private. What the episode most taught me was that I can stand to be more careful with how I *frame* my claims without backing away from them. In any case, my feminists had exactly the right advice, as I knew they would, which was why I wanted to get them all together in the first place.

Anyway, the conclusion now exists in a very drafty form, which I’m hoping to refine over the next week. It’s getting pretty heady, almost to the point where I’m afraid that maybe I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, so I’m really going to need someone else who has a firm grip on neoliberalism to read it and be like “yes, this part makes sense” and “uhhhh, yeah you’re gonna need to unpack that.” And then maybe help me figure out how to unpack it because my brain is about at the tips of its abilities right now. I can’t quite decide if that means I’m stretching in a really productive way, or if I have crossed the line too far into talking out of my ass territory. Again, outside eyes will be helpful in assessing this.

Anyhoo, in parallel with this concluding stuff, I’ve been digging into some recent anarchist literature to make sure I have enough context, especially as I get ready to draft the introduction. I will of course not be able to read everything, but I’m trying to hit the highlights at least. I’ve got six weeks until my self-imposed deadline for producing a circulatable draft of this whole thing. This is completely terrifying.

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