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Monday, February 20, 2012

I Am Alive

Blah, I kind of fell off the horse there for a week or two, sorry about that. I had a small existential crisis about my project and got stuck in a rut for a little while there. I have talked to a few people about (thank you Rachel) and I think I know where to go moving forward.

It was the literature review that kind of made me panic. Not the literature review itself, but how it applies to me. Looking at reading and writing in India from a sources point of view has been really, really difficult. Mostly because there are two sides the the problem and they rarely meet. The English major side is obsessed with the post colonial. There are hundreds of papers and books on the topic, but as they are coming from the English academia perspective, they are all about the themes and writing methods that are in a given text. No one ever really talks about why the book was written in the first place or who might actually be reading the book and what that means. On the anthropological side, it could be that I just do not know quite where to look, but from all the databases I have searched and what not, it seems that anthropologists have not thoroughly studied reading much. I was not even looking specifically for India. I just was looking for ethnographies or studies about reading. I am sure that anthropologists study this kind of thing, but I have the feeling that all the sources that would be useful to me are subsections buried in the chapters of specific ethnographies or general anthropological texts. I have a few books about literacy in India, which will hopefully be helpful.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I may not be able to use my sources to focus/narrow my topic. I was kind of hoping that I could feel my way along with what others have studied before and pattern my research methods after them. However it seems like I am just going to have to make it up as I go along.

To make up for this, I am going to see if I can work the network of Indian people I kind of know who live here in Provo. I am going to do some super informal interviews with my friend and any Indians he knows to talk to them about my project. I want to ask them a few questions about reading and just sort of point blank ask them what they think I should do or how I should approach it. I figure in the field I can try to be all subtle and sneaky, but here in the U.S. with people I know, I might as well just come out with it and ask them what they think of my project. Hopefully this will guide my efforts as I redouble my efforts on getting my project set.

As my three English classes start getting heavy, I am falling behind in my reading. I am not too worried though. There are about eight more books that I am absolutely determined to read. All in all a few thousand pages. I can manage that. Basically a few covering different topics on the history of India, an analysis of India's current situation, some texts about religion, a travelogue, and a book about the history of New Delhi specifically. Also the one or two books I have been able to dig up that in some way discuss the literacy and reading in India. And if I have time I have a history of Indian literature in English. I feel that at this point, considering that I am not going to find some great studies or ethnographies about studying the reading/writing habits of an ethnic group, the most important thing I can do to prepare is to increase my general knowledge about Indian history, culture, geography, and religion. I hope focusing on orienting myself to the location rather than my specific method first will help me to think on my feet and develop things as I go rather than try to adapt my specific methods that someone else came up with to my location. I don't know.

Also I am working on my Hindi via Hindi films. I can begin to pick up words, but I can't follow when they talk at normal speeds. We will see what I can do in two months. Not that I plan to try to operate in Hindi to any degree, but I feel it would help.

Also, also, I am working on memorizing the major gods and goddesses, which is going well, as well as state names and capitals, which is going...not so well, but I will master it!

1 comment:

  1. I think it is great that you are going to talk to the Indian people you know here to see what they think! Also, I LOVED your presentation today! I did not even know you were presenting until I saw you. I would love to talk to you more about your subject (as I am going with HELP next summer and want to make the best impact or whatever) if you ever have time! But I know you are really busy so it's ok if you don't :)