Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

Late Realization

Posted by Gerald on July 11, 2007

In grad school, I did most of my work on modern British economic and colonial history.  My Masters essay was about the British South Africa Company and Rhodesia.  By dissertation time, I was looking at how British imperialism contributed to the industrial revolution – for anyone who knows the literature, I was re-examining the “Williams Thesis.”  I saw a test-case there for using counterfactuals in economic history and also a field for expanding on my growing interest in how scholarly arguments work.  For a variety of reasons, I burnt out before finishing the dissertation.

If there is a lesson I learned, it is that you shouldn’t pick a topic simply because you think it is important and you should really avoid getting into a topic that requires extensive research in a place you hate visiting.  To give myself a bit of a break though, I have to say that I didn’t know how poor a fit the Caribbean and I were going to be until I went there.

Looking at who I am now, I really wish I had gone into Classical Studies.  I’ve been on a Greek and Roman history kick for about two years now – really ever since I haven’t been a full-time care giver for my mom.  I’ve been reading further and further into the literature – at least what I can get here.  I’m even flirting with trying to learn Latin.  I am mesmerized and horrified by the Romans, but the whole Ancient world is so fascinating.

Damn, I wish I had figured this out twenty years ago.


One Response to “Late Realization”

  1. bridgett said

    And I think that I probably should have gone into early modern European cultural history…but that’s why second projects look different than the first one. Journeymen go on to find their own style.

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