Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Comprehensive Exams Are Approaching

Starting next week, I'll be taking my comprehensive exams which are the last hurdle in the way of ABD (all but dissertation) status. I explained in my last post what the format of the comprehensive exam is (basically: write 100+ pages in five days which attempt to answer five questions, edit for two days, retain sanity). I'm not allowed to see the questions I'll be answering beforehand, but I will be able to select one of two questions from each of my five committee members.

In the meantime I do have some idea about the general areas the questions might come from, with my anticipations in brackets, to be thinking about: my Lincoln (i.e., why Lincoln and what do I want to say about him?), representations of Lincoln (what genres has Lincoln been depicted in and how has it been done?), the counterfactual Lincoln (what if he had lived?), Lincoln's use of religious symbolism (Lincoln was not a doctrinal religious person, why might he have used familiar symbols?), and Lincoln in African American memory (how has Lincoln been remembered by this community?).

I'm going to try to answer all of the questions in a manner which elaborates what I want to say about Lincoln (the more I figure this out now, the less I'll have to figure out later). I'm also hoping to come up with a title for this project during the course of the week. I'll be listening to music the entire time so perhaps something will stand out from a lyric or something I write. I haven't decided to make a playlist since I have enough music that tracks would still be playing a few months from now if I hit play and kept my computer from shutting down. Classical music won't help with the process of coming up with a title, but I'll likely listen to it anyway. I was listening to Sousa earlier and right now, this:

If my answers to the questions are any good, I'll post the main thrust of them after comps are over.

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