July Update

And just like that, July is gone! This month has been an incredibly productive month. While I felt a bit like I was floundering through June, I have really hit my stride in July. It is quite interesting to me to see how my writing/researching process works when it is applied to a project of a much larger scale than my usual class papers. I am particularly prone to a long “thinking” period interrupted by a distinct “aha” moment– though usually this process of following paths that ultimately fall through is a matter of a few days rather than a few weeks! Once I figured out the approach I was taking (I believe at the end of my last update), the writing went much easier. This summer’s goal is to finish a complete draft of section 2 of my thesis, which is focused on the question “what is citizenship.” I have finished and revised the introduction to the section, as well as a review of the Ancient philosophers’ contributions to citizenship theory– i.e. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, etc. In the past week or so, I’ve been focused on researching and developing the next section on the time period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Age of Revolutions (I’m still trying to come up with a catchy section title for this rather large time span!). This is a really interesting time period in the development of the concept of citizenship because it includes a huge expansion of citizenship rights to a larger portion of the population, as well as a huge expansion of the components of citizenship (e.g. the beginnings of citizenship as identity). It also includes a discussion of some very interesting political philosophers that, as a lover of the history of philosophy, I really have enjoyed reading. I’m hoping to finish this section this week, and then work on the last section (contemporary theory) and revisions for the rest of the summer (with some reading for section 1 and GRE prep thrown in for variety!). Thus far, the biggest challenge with the writing has been trying to keep my focus on the topic. It is very easy to get lost in the details with a project this big– and especially with a section that needs to stay focused lest it turn into a history textbook. Although, that’s what the revision process is for, I suppose!

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