Update: End of Fall Quarter 2007

(Written 12/15/07) End of Fall Quarter 2007: 7 quarters down, five to go!!!!

At least, I hope. Anyway, I’m writing this somewhere over New Mexico, headed for Disney World with my Mom, Mike and my nephew, Tanner. This is the first time I’ve finished a quarter not feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and like I want to quit. What a relief not having to take seminars anymore. This does not mean I wasn’t busy with tons of free time, quite the opposite. But at least I enjoyed more of what I was doing. I completed my prospectus, a 25 page document in which I introduce my dissertation and the three areas I will need to know for my qualifying exams. The first 5-6 pages I set up my argument and how the three areas are relevant to my dissertation. The remainder of the prospectus I explain the major theories in each area and how I will use them in relation to my dissertation. Here’s an excerpt from my prospectus:

The addition of moving images onto the stage, itself a site that represents other sites, poses the following questions that will form the basis of this dissertation: How do moving images alter this space? Is it a new space? What other spaces and places does it displace or embrace? Who occupies, controls or has access to this space? What can be gleaned from this space about the construction of place? How does it affect our understanding place? These last two questions introduce topographical issues, especially relating to national and political boundaries, to this topic. Because I wish to examine the construction of space and place in performances that utilized moving images, the three fields that I draw upon to frame my analysis are theories of performance, space, place and new media, and modern and postmodern experiments.

So, that’s basically it. The introduction really challenged me because I’m writing about something that really hasn’t been approached from this angle—so I’m making it all up. Each sentence felt like a huge step, but the rest of the prospectus, though tough, flowed a little easier. Additionally, I had to create a bibliography of approximately 25 items in each area (books, chapters, articles, essays) that I will be what I’m tested on.

When am I taking my exams, you ask? Probably the 1st week of April. It would have been late February or early March, but you’re not allowed to take your qualifying exams unless you’ve completed your language requirement. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until it was too late (and the Spanish 4 class I was going to take last summer was canceled), so I’ll be a little bit behind. Hopefully it won’t prevent me from finishing on time.

The bad news is that in order to complete the language requirement I have to take Spanish 5 at UCLA—it won’t count if you take it through the Extension. So I have to take Spanish 5, which is 4 days a week (Tues-Fri). Plus I have to be on campus Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from the class I TA for, so you can see that I have to be on campus five days a week. This is a total drag. But it’s only one quarter and Spanish is at 11am, my other class is over by 3pm, so at least the times of day aren’t too bad. But still, I’m going to be exhausted.

Also, my advisor wants me to audit a seminar taught on Tuesday afternoons, but unless it’s absolutely relevant, I’m thinking I will pass on that. That’s just too much going on for me.

So that’s it. All in all it was a good quarter. What a relief after two years. The class I TA for is pretty much annoying, but I like it better because I’m the Head TA, which means that I have a lot more say in what we do and I only have to teach (and grade papers for) one section.

In November I went to Phoenix for the American Society for Theatre Research conference and presented a paper. That seemed to go well and was a fairly relaxing time. All in all, I feel more positive about the program and my progress in it which, as I already mentioned, is a big relief. But now I have to go and study for my exams.


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