28 January 2008

Dissertation is out there!

No knitting content today. :-( Because I haven't been knitting - my US#3 KP needle broke in the middle of knitting the hem for my FairIsle 101 sweater. Argh!

I was tickled today to find that my dissertation, which was deposited in September, finally made it up onto the Dissertation Abstracts database at UMI. Then suddenly seized by the realization that it's now totally exposed to the possibility of public ridicule. If, that is, anyone ever even looks at it, which now that I think about it is actually quite unlikely.

Meanwhile, I've been thinking about the fact that a few of you mentioned in comments on earlier posts that you would want to read the diss (or at least the parts about knitting! of which there are very few). Is it okay if I ask to exploit a few of you? The thing is, one of the tasks I'm working on right now is revising the diss for publication as a book. I was very (very) lucky to end up with sources that are remarkably fun. The task for me is to actually convey that fun-ness to a reader (while still doing all those academic-y things I'm also supposed to be doing). Frankly, for the diss, I didn't really have time to think much about readability beyond making sure it made sense in a basic way. I was writing to the committee of professors who were its only readers at that time. Now, I want to revise it for any and all readers.

And I find I have no idea how to do that. I mean, I know what kinds of books I like that I would like it to resemble (here are some), and I can even break down what I like about those other books into some principles. But applying those principles to my particular content is...daunting. I find myself continually wanting to ask a handful of questions of the Reader about what they want.

Would a few of you be willing to be Reader? I want to make *very* clear that this does not mean you have to actually read all of it. Actually, the most important question I want to ask is *where* you stop reading. It would be very helpful, actually, if all you could do was scroll through it and tell me which parts fall under the heading of "okay, gotcha, that's neat" and which fall under, "what are you yammering on about and/or why should I care?"

And I only want volunteers who, if they saw a book like this laying around at Barnes & Noble, would genuinely pick it up and at least look at it, out of interest. My clumsy summary of what it's about is in this old post. If you think you would be interested, email me at aastrikke [AT] gmail [punctuation] com and let me know whether I can email you the whole PDF file of the thing (it's big, 9M - dbl or single-spaced, your choice!). I'd also send you a one-page list of questions, a sort of survey, and even if you could only half fill it out after briefly browsing through the thing, that would be helpful!

The main thing is just to help me look at the whole project from the point of view of a general reader rather than the point of view of my academic advisors. I want to know what the important/interesting bits are to someone who *isn't* a historian of Russia. This will help me not only to revise, but also help me to figure out how to propose it to a publisher. I'm so close to it at this point that I just can't see it clearly anymore at all.

I'll be very grateful!


kitmf said...

I would be interested in reading it for you.

ayla said...

I'll read it for you. I'm doing lots of reading these days, since I can't knit while I'm nursing, and can only surf the web sometimes. I know nothing about Russia.

f. pea said...

my husband wants to read it... he's quite the purchaser of history books, so hopefully he'll be a helpful reader.

Knit Mongrel said...

I'll TOTALLY read it - I'm excited!

Beth said...

I should just get out my copy and get to it which is what I promised like a year ago!

Anyhoo, this morning on Good Morning America Elizabeth Vargas was in Russia at somebody's palace and she was wearing Valenki and talked abut them and said she was bringing some home because they are so comfortable. She said they are like Russian Uggs.
Hee, hee.