Hi to all those in the ether of the World Wide Web.
As this is my first post, I thought I’d share the purpose of this blog and where I am in the process of my researching and writing my dissertation.
I have just finished the 4th year of my doctoral program at the University of Connecticut. I consider myself an Early American historian specializing in the history of British Colonial North America. My interests are in the histories of disability, gender, and New England.
In December of 2012 I passed my comprehensive exams and have spent the spring writing the prospectus for my dissertation. After one more revision (hopefully), approval by the history graduate program committee (made up of faculty), and approval by the graduate school I will be an official candidate. My revision will be done in a few weeks, and then it can move through the next two phases of approval.
This is all to say that I have a pretty good idea of what my dissertation will look like if all my sources tell me exactly what I think they will tell me. At the end of the process, we will see what the dissertation actually looks like.
My dissertation arose out of a research project I completed in my Research and Writing graduate seminar when I was just a first year graduate student. In that class, I looked at the petitions sent by disabled veterans to the Massachusetts Provincial Legislature between 1727 and 1755. What I found is that the legislature gave men disabled in war a pension based on the perceived severity of their injuries.
From that project, I have broadened out, and the dissertation will focus on all types of men with disabilities in New England between 1720 and 1840. I plan to use race, masculinity, and class as the categories of analysis in the project. I also will look at the cause for the disability and the age at which the men became disabled.
This summer I am taking my first major research trip to Boston to look at source material.
I will discuss my sources bases and the reasons for my categories of analysis in future blog posts.