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AIM anyone? & Suggestions...

I have decided, that as I work on this monstrosity of a thesis.. it would be damn useful when I suddenly have a brain fart moment to use fellow heathens as a sounding board... so anyone out there with AIM?

My AIM is: trickstersdottir

Just make sure when you message me you tell me WHO you are :P

Like right now I'm having a brain fart, I can't decide what to entitle a couple of my subsections. Chapter 1 is "Introduction to Heathenry" and subheading 1.1. is "Viking Age to the Present" and now I need subsection 1.1.1. as well as 1.1.2. named 'something'.

The previous (subsection 1.1.1.) dealing with flaws of either past research or surviving evidence from the Viking Age (such as the fact that textual sources are secondary (because the idnigineous religions were primarily an oral society) and written from outside perspectives: either Christians on the indigenous religions, or you get gleanings from Islamic traders, or Roman Generals, etc.

That until the last few decades scholars primarily assumed both a static concept of a uniform Christianity throughout Europe (ignoring how it varied and differed by region and even the interweaving of Christian and Pagan concepts together) and they failed to see the interconnections of the Viking Age peoples (Sami, Balto-Finnic, Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic) along lines excluding the "Viking" stereotype of war and pillage. In other words, they didn't look at the other forms of contact between these cultures, such as trade.

The next section (subsection 1.1.2.) deals with more modern day research. Including how scholars have confused the various branches of heathenism (folkway, tribalism, theodish, etc.) as well as confused reconstructionists with neo-pagans, wiccans, and neo-nazism. Here I'll throw in examples of such (like the US government's faux pas in the Mt. Megiddio report, and even scholars negatives views (such as John Lindow's) on the reconstructionists.

I may re-organize things a bit, I want to include a section on the modern day history of the reconstruction movement and such government recognition as Denamrk allowing weddings performed in the name of the old Gods, and Iceland officially recognizing Asatru as a religion. I'm not sure yet if those will be drop-in's or end up in their own sections. I think part of that will depend on how it's reading and flowing...

Anyway if you have suggestions for a "title" for those two subsections above, I'm all ears. it's stumping me, I can't think of a concise way of putting it.

There are times heathenry gives me a headache because there is so much overlap, and so many connections that it seems like all I can do is ramble in order to explain things through a circular means of reasoning. Even 'hammering' away at this paper is driving me crazy, I have this mass of thoughts, ideas and notes that despite making outlines and the like won't settle, and continually shifts into new alignments of presentation in my mind. ARGH, help.

Saga hear my plea, and grant me the fortitude and wisdom, and the gift of clear concise meaningful speech with the added bonus of speed for the writing of my thesis. And if anyone else in Asgard wishes to help me with the muse of inspiration or clarity of thought required, I certainly will welcome it.


Do you have a working theme/title/ideological bent for the overall thesis? It may help to just go through your research point by point and then create titles upon a unified theme creating basically a rough outline. I had to do my thesis last summer and this helped tremendously (eg basically it was a baudrillarian analysis of simulated documents called Digitization as Simulacra: The Changing Effects of Digitization upon the Rare Documents Market and how digitization of rare manuscripts affected the documents market, so I had chapter titles like meta-objects and metadata, the convergence of exclusivity and simulations, simulating rarity, public domain and the private collector etc... basically all using po-mo keywords to unify the chapters).

You can also use really generic chapter names eg The Germanic Romanticism Movement on Norse Folkloric Practices... Ellis-davidson, Polome, Turville Petre, Nordal, and Twentieth Century Scholarship... Sveinbjorn and Steve- The Birth of a Movement... The Reconstruction of an Elder Faith, Heathenry and Scholarly Analysis etc... Harvey, Kaplan, Blain - The Academy's Interpretations of Heathen Theologies usw.... Just keep everything you write no matter how stupid it sounds at the time. You may get that one word or phrase that sums up an argument. Best of luck and know that this will eventually be over and written.

The big thing is if you do plan to go on for a PhD leave room for expansion so that you can just pick up the thesis and expand/flesh it out into a dissertation.
Basically chapter 1 is historical background & context including problems and flaws in research or encountered in the reconstruction of the religion.

Chapter 2 begins to focus in on the point: the magicoreligious traditions. It'll have an overview of the traditions, basic definitions of them, and examples.

Then probably chapters broken down as:

Chapter 3 runemal/galdr,
chapter 4 leechcraft,
chapter 5 seidhr/spae.

The problem is since so many of my ILL requested materials only recently showed, the outline is changing daily, but it has to be done in 3 weeks. So I'm fully expecting on changing things... it just helps me focus in on bettern intro/concluding sentences for sections when I have a clearer subheading or subsection title.

Transitions are my great weakness... so I'd really like to try to get them as right as I can from the get-go. I can't afford extensive re-writes, I don't have the time.

This is probably best discussed with your thesis committee, but the scope seems insanely large for a 35-50 page paper. Figure that 5-10 pages are expositories and summation you are only left with 30-40 pages to discuss any of these topics worthy of a thesis. Like Heathenry and its reclamation of Rune, the rune gild, aswynn's rune school etc could do the job as well in greater detail. Don't be afraid to annoy whoever is mentoring the thesis process with last minute ideas or changes. EG while I only got 3 committee meetings on my thesis, durng the process I must have called the professor with the most similar reserach interests 30 times and its part of the job.
problem, my committee chair: won' read it till the whole thing is done.

I'm examining things in the context of then v. now...

And I've been told 60-80 pages for a thesis here.
I mean are there any professors on or off the committee who you can bounce ideas off of? Part of a grad level professor's job is to be a sounding board to neurotic graduate students. One of my professors who had done massive digitization archival work was a lifesaver for me.
Not read the whole damn thing, just talk ideas/directions. BTW 60-80 pgs is insanely long for a master's thesis. Even friends who did masters level work at Ivies like Cornell & Columbia only had to do 35 pages.

By the way I sent you an email about the attribution of the feladidh & it bounced. I forwarded it to Galina. I nabbed you a source if you need it.
shouldn't have bounced, are you sure you got the e-addy correct?

I thought so too. Part of it is, aim long, you can always edit, and aim long because it usually translates into you being more knowledgeable of the subject matter. And the longer you aim, even if you do edit... the more material/backbone you have for a dissertation. Some day I would like to go back and get my PhD. But not for at least the next 5 years. I'd like to pay off my student loans, get out of debt, have a real savings, start saving for retirement, have a thing called a CAREER. Anyway, I've been steadily in school for so long now... I'm fed up with it in general and burnt out. I just want to get this done and get the hell out of here.

My profs are fairly flexible with me, they know I do my best work when they just cut the reins and let me go. They've been good about suggesting other sources here and there when I sorta hit walls, and thrown out suggestions for analysis... but really they know NOTHING about what I'm doing it on, so I have to give them the 'primer' speech every time :P

Which is, a GOOD thing, always a good thing to be an expert on your thesis and your committe instead asking you why you used or didn't use certain types of analysis.

I've kinda got something with post-modernity and liminality floating around in my head, and I had a wonderful epiphany with Odin and the liminal. ^_^

Plus some of my previous epiphany worthy paper I can apply to this thesis.

Right now it's just a matter of finding a flow I like... the outline is continously changing... I'm one of those folks it can take weeks for thoughts to percolate all the way through my mind. I can get the thoughts, understand them, but the reasoning seems so... babbling and convoluted that it can take a while for the ideas to formulate into more concrete, concise terms.