In just a few weeks, I’ll find myself back at the British Library, continuing old research as I re-work it to meet new goals and demands as well as beginning archival work on a new project. I’ll renew my reader pass–a cherished possession to be sure–and find an open seat in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room, where the India Office stuff lives. All of it. Rare books and manuscripts, photographs, family histories (though many of these are now available online, via digitization efforts), registrar’s records, and so on.
As I work to prepare for the trip, and once I’m there, my goal is to use this blog as many other bloggers have before me: an informal way to think through the formal research and writing that will be happening at the same time. In the past, I’ve found forcing myself to use multiple voices to talk about my research has made the writing process more fluid, less obscure, more pointed. Here’s hoping that a casual observation will lead to some production. And as a benefit, spare my partner the pain of being the vessel into which my informal voice is poured.
That’s what this blog is/will be. A way for me to process in real time the academic thinking I need to do to produce meaningful publications. That might take the form of excitement (have you met an archivist? THE SMELL OF BOOKS, PEOPLE.), or seriousness, or a sidebar on methods for my students.