Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ireland and my Dissertation

Dear readers, maybe one of you can help me. Ugh . . . so here’s the thing (this is a personal rant), I get the look of death from professors that I ask to sit on dissertation committee! I would take this extremely personally if I thought the look was because of me personally. I am either delusional about myself (which could be a possibility—I am not ruling it out) or I am correct in assessing that they are not afraid of working with me but my project! This is not the first time I have gotten the “look,” as I also got the “look” from professors I approached for my master’s work. The problem? You ask. My subject! What is my project? I want to look at Ireland between 1500-1700 and how the Brehon laws (ancient Irish Laws) were transformed into the March Laws and then to absolute English laws and how this really screwed women and their rights. This subject means I have to look at the first wave of English colonialism, tactics of domination and force, economics, religion transformation, women’s rights and laws under each system as well as Irish Mythology. Central to this subject is Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) who was central to the Irish resistance and, important for my purposes, used the different laws at different times to get what she needed. She is also the last recorded woman to demand the one year trial marriage under the Brehon laws. Also important was her fight for property inheritance rights upon the death of her husband (the English tried to outlaw these rights to women). The problem? Ireland! I am in the wrong university and the wrong part of the country here in Florida and, really, the wrong part of the world to do this subject and yet, as they say, knowledge is power and power is money and I only have the money to be at the university I am at right now. I can’t find an expert in Ancient Irish studies around here, let alone the Brehon Laws, at all and none of my professors want to deal with a subject they don’t know about. But I don’t want to give up on this subject—damn-it . . . it’s interesting! So, I am hoping that maybe one of the folks out there in the wide beautiful blog sphere may have some ideas for me. I am, at the moment, a bit blinded by my own frustration. Not to mention the two major papers I have to write in two weeks—one at least 30 pages and the other around 20 pages—so I am up against the end of the semester wall (good ole’ Wilma didn’t help either!) Peace . . . R

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