(Okay, so in reality it’s neither famous nor particularly brilliant. But it has in fact returned.)
First, a brief update on what I’ve been doing for the past year, research-wise. I put together a more or less concrete project (specifically, I’ll be interviewing museum and cultural center employees/volunteers in several different Polish cities), finished writing up my proposal and position papers, passed my qualifying exam as of May 18 of this year, and just last week, received the go-ahead from the Institutional Review Board to start collecting data (although I still need to translate my forms into Polish). Progress!
Unfortunately I have not yet managed to secure funding for my project, beyond a departmental grant. Faced with the choice between putting off fieldwork despite having finished all my other requirements, leaving grad school after 4 years due to lack of funding, and doing the fieldwork one way or another, I chose option #3, which meant more student loans than I want to think about. Hopefully it’ll pay off, and in the meantime, I’m continuing to apply and re-apply for grants. Wish me luck, and send me any successful-grant-writing tips you may have!
As of today I’ve been back in Poland (this time in Poznan) for one month, one week, and three days. I’ve been mostly getting used to everyday life here, taking classes, and meeting people, and just got back from an amazing trip to Bialystok and the Podlasie area in eastern Poland, where we visited a variety of Catholic and Orthodox churches and Tatar Muslim mosques, other historic and cultural sites, and the Bialowieza Forest (oldest original forest in Europe!). My Polish is (slowly) improving, although I still have a way to go before I’ll be anywhere near fluent. I’m working on an article that’s due at the end of this month (I’ll probably post a summary/brief sketch of what I’m planning to submit on here within the next few days). I’m also going to a conference in Warsaw on memory in Central and Eastern Europe in a few weeks (I’m not presenting, but still should be interesting). And hopefully I should be able to start interviews and meetings in the next few weeks.
Off to get some reading done! Further updates coming soon.