Day 26 with Dionysos (19.10.2016)

Yesterday I had a meeting with my supervisor. Main things we discussed are:

  • That initially Susan felt she needed a clearer idea of my plan (ie my mission statement).
  • After showing her this we went over my chapter headings/general idea for a plan and Susan felt that it was all moving in a good direction, but that perhaps further down the line I might need to focus a bit more.
  • So perhaps my topic is a little too broad at the moment?
  • We also discussed my desire to rebel a little regarding what a traditional essay looks like.
  • Susan was positive and realistic.
  • We agreed that I should write however I see fit and that further down the line we can look at the marking criteria in close detail.
  • I think for me the marking criteria will be a key aspect of my writting process.
  • My plan is to take the marking criteria step by step, look at what it is asking of me and see how I can creatively meet it on all fronts.
  • Hopefully this will both ensure I am working with in the limitations of the current standards of the university, as well as pushing me to creative in a controlled and purposeful way.
  • It should be a good lesson in boundaries for me.
  • We also spoke about Irigary, about how she may be useful when looking at neitzche, but also that her writting style may appeal to me.
  • As I understand it, Irigary rejects the patriarchal, standardized form of essay writing and instead ‘writes from the body’ and is consequently quite fragmentary in her approach
  • This obviously appeals to me straight off the bat, and we breifly spooke about ways in which I might approriate Irigaray’s style to some degree.
  • It also started a conversation about who is allowed to write outside of these confines, and why?
  • We also spoke breifly about my reluctance to call this a Thesis.
  • For me, a thesis is something a grown up does, a real person, who is far more capable than me. However, I have decided, from here on out, to refer to it as a thesis. Taking care everytime I mention it to refer to it as such as an exercise in appropriating that sense of purity, of self confidence. I think it will also contribute to my feeling of being capable.

For me what was most helpful about this meeting was that I had come up with the ‘chapter headings’ a while ago, but had largely stagnated in my work because I was waiting for confirmation from Susan that I was moving in a good direction.

Coming out of the meeting I was able to move forward with the project, I have started to seperate out each section and to think about what belongs where.

This also allowed me to notice that there was evidence I had already collected that could add a new angle to my plan. Notably, as I was cutting and sticking (to make my chapter posters), I found a number of passages about Dionysos being a peacemaker, or a reconciling force. I hadn’t realised before, but I think this will sit nicely in my chpater 11 (post-conclusion), about how this thesis is relevant going forward.

Future dates:

  • 9.11.2016- By this date I will email Susan 2000–3000 words in the form of well situated fragments.
  • 14.11.2016- We will meet for our second supervision

To meet the deadling on the 9th of November I think I will try to write extracts that connect together much of the research I have to date for chapters 4/5 8/9/11 and collate my thoughts for my introduction by outlining the elements that are really important to me. I will also start to look for evidence for chapters 2/6 and 7. Neglecting chapter 10 for the time being.

I had a thought whilst I was at work that in chapter 9 probably I will need to take this kind of approach?

  • This section will take for granted some aspects of a very complex argument about sameness and difference in the queer society
  • It will work from a notion that there is (to a limited extent) a queer identity that is common amoung a wide variety of individuals, subjects and cultural groups.

I was also thinking, whilst at work that there may be some potential for a PhD in the following idea.

  • That one aspect of the queer is Dionysiac. And therefore, one aspect of the Dionysiac is queer. This is connected to hedonism etc. However, there is another aspect to the dionysiac which is communal, anti-atomisation.
  • And so
  • Perhaps there is something in the transition from homosexuality being an accepted part of culture (to some extent), to somehting forbidden.
  • Obviously, a large part of this is due to the prevailing faith systems at the time demonising it
  • But what if they demonise it, not just for the historical reasons of controlling sexually transmitted diseases etc
  • But because the queer is inherently communual.
  • And that it’s communality threatens the growth of individualisation that accompanies the Romans with the Christian faith into the middle ages, where the church in Europe becomes more and more a controlling tool for the rich upper classes.
  • This would start from drawing parallels between the supression of the Dionysiac cult because it is political and also sexually free.

I think, what is most important for me is to establish myself in the Queer feild. It is a feild in which I can be an authority because it is mine. I can study Islam until I’m blue in the face, but I can never truely talk about, for example, the struggle of muslim women, because I am not one, so whilst I can know all the theory I can never really know what it is to live it. But I can and do know what it is to live a queer life. in more ways than one, in more meanings of the word than one. And so queer is a feild I would like to establish myself in. But it is also a feild that allows me to work with all the things I want to. I can continue to work with ancient texts because I like them, I can work with mythology, oral histories, ninteenth century literature, politics. I can branch into any number of fields that I have never had experience in before.

So maybe the above theory has no bones, no spine to hold it up. Maybe it’s just fancy and there is no evidence for this. That’s okay. It’s just an exploration of an idea that might allow me to move into the space I want to occupy.