Saturday, August 30, 2008

How will I know?

If there is any reason to have Whitney Houston lyrics stuck in my head right now...

Lately I've been thinking about the problem of choosing a dissertation topic. Sounds like it should be easy, doesn't it? So many people describe their topics the way people describe love: you just know.

Well, what if you don't? What if you weren't born to write The Economic Influence of the Development in Shipbuilding Techniques, 1450 to 1485? (Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim)

Some people fall in love at first sight and "just know." The rest of us spend a lot of time questioning and second guessing everything.

The advice I hear, over and over again, is to pick what you love, because you're going to be spending X years on it, so you better love it. But what if you love multiple things?

I suppose that makes you an academic polygamist in the dissertation-topic-as-love analogy.

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