Well I am now nearly three months into my PhD and I still really enjoying. As yet I have not hit any major hurdles or barriers so I am quite pleased with my progress. I had my first progress meeting the other week and that went fine so that is good news. I have started doing my introduction/literature review and it is weird how that when you do not write academically for a while it can be quite a challenge to pick it back up. Despite this I am getting back into the writing mode. I am actually busier than I thought I would be but that is partly my own fault as I have offered my help to various areas. I enjoy being busy, sadistic I know but when you enjoy something I believe in getting behind it wholeheartedly. For example, from next months I will be offering study support to undergrads as I have just been made a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant. I have also just been appointed an Examiner for EDEXCEL, one of the UK’s ‘A’ Level exam boards. This is good from a money point of view but it also keeps my hand in with teaching. I am also doing proof reading for a book my supervisor is editing, the War Studies Reader. This is an interesting experience as well and gives you some insight into the publishing process. In addition to that I am helping Gary compile a book based on a conference from a year ago on 1918. Again a great opportunity. For me the best part so far has been are informal seminars that we do. The range of topics that we have discussed has been fascinating. Just to give you an idea this is what we have done this term:
- The Cultural History of War
- Review of Keegan’s The Face of Battle and Hanson’s Why the West Won
- The Future of War
- The Politics of the British Army
- Virtual History
Of course the upshot of all of this is that my library has dramatically increased by about 50 odd books in the space of three months!
One of the other things I have been involved in setting up is a couple of group blogs for the research students in the department. A few weeks ago I set up The Aerodrome for the Air Power students in the department and that is coming along well, however, this week I set up Birmingham “On War” which is a much more generic blog by War Studies students in the department. Actually the five of us involved have quite wide-ranging interests with the First and Second World Wars being represented along with Air Power as well as an 18th Century specialist. So watch out there should be some interesting posts coming in the future.
On a final note for anyone that is interested in reading such things you can now download my MPhil thesis on Dieppe here. I am working on a shortened article from this which will hopefully soon see the light of day.