The PhD Diaries #3: Shifting Surfaces - Feminist Speculative Fiction & Leadership

This entry has been a long time coming. A note on my office wall reading ‘Focus of the Week: Write Feminist Speculative Fiction Blog Entry – Priority’ has been sadly ignored for the past four weeks in lieu of other topics and tasks, and as the days slide quickly by, the optimistic call-to-action becomes increasingly invisible beneath a haphazard mural of brightly coloured squares and hastily scribbled ‘notes to self’; the vestiges of multiple ah-ha moments...

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The PhD Diaries #2: Reading as Breathing - Reflecting on Personal Reading Histories

Or to be a little bit posh, a “literacy autobiography.” In her extensive research piece, Telling Stories in Book Clubs: Women Teachers and Professional Development (2006), Professor Mary Kooy kicks off her two professional development book clubs by asking participants (in this case, secondary school and university English teachers) to reflect at length on their reading history, in particular, the importance of reading throughout different stages of their lives and the impact reading fiction has had/currently has on their personal journeys and careers. I think this is a brilliant way to stretch those reflective muscles and to coax the ‘reading bug’ out of hiding...

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Entry 1: The Beginning of the Beginning ('Listomaniac')

How to start? I don’t want to make this pre-meditated like most of my writing, which is either carefully sculpted or hurriedly assembled (uni vs. work), but rather to serve as a train(wreck) of unmitigated consciousness, unstopped and unhindered by the need to say something or anything in particular. Rather I foresee it contributing to my thesis (yes, I now have a 'my thesis' can you believe!) by being a space to process the great amount of information I will be attempting to cram into my brain over the course of the next 12 months...

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Entry 2: On the Road

The direction I’m taking with my thesis has changed somewhat over the last week. Although I was hesitant at first to focus solely on women’s leadership, especially since authentic leadership was/still is something I’m quite passionate about and interested in, in terms of creating excellent discussion material and contributing to feminist discourse within business and leadership studies, refining my focus seems like the best course of action...

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Entry 3: Signposts in Wonderland

In Lewis Carroll’s magical Wonderland, Alice approaches a fork in the road where she sees a cat sitting in a tree. Alice asks the cat, “Which road should I take?” "Do you know where you want to go?” inquires the cat. “No,” says Alice. To which the cat replies, “Then any road will get you there.”

To avoid being the proverbial Alice, I have finally assembled an outline for my thesis. A bona fide plan with chapter headings no less. At long last I feel that I am on top of this (well for now at least!)...

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Entry 4: Still Time for Butterflies

I’m starting to form the basic outline for my selection criteria. While I started my reading with some sketchy criteria already in place (i.e. stories written by women, strong female lead characters, identifiable moments of leadership, etc…), I decided not to stifle the wide array of options before getting a feel for what was available. Unlike Badaracco who chose ‘serious’ literature based on two rough tests: The “test of time,” are they classics?, and the test of “careful reading,” that is, do they have depth and richness? I always knew I wanted my selection to extend beyond ‘classics'...

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Entry 5: Storytelling as the 'Other' (Part 1)

One of the questions I still haven’t fully resolved in terms of my thesis outline is: How am I going to read the literature? What am I really hoping to achieve and demonstrate in my analysis of the literary texts? And I think what’s really important about this section, is that I write what I want to write...

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Entry 6: Thoughts From an Enthusiastic Reader

Storytelling as the ‘Other’ (Part 2) is coming soon I promise! But I haven’t quite finished sorting through all the data yet to compose what I really want to say/explain/impart. So instead I thought I would give an update on my latest reading endeavours. First and foremost on my mind has been a book called Modern Misogyny: Anti-Feminism in a Post-Feminist Era...

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Entry 7: Storytelling as the 'Other' (Part 2)

Puzzles, Puzzling, Piecing. This is like slowly putting together a 5000-piece puzzle. Before the whole picture begins to materialise (is it a gorgeous scenic vista or a magical wonderland?), I have to build the edges. And in this lovely little analogy, the edges are the theory. And since I don’t quite know yet what the puzzle will end up looking like, I suppose it’s more like a Wasgij Puzzle!

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Entry 8: Calling All Bookworms

I was in the middle of writing a post on feminism, difference and women's leadership, but suddenly it all felt just a tad too deep and controversial for a rainy Friday afternoon! Plus, I've had rehearsals for the dance show I'm organising, and it's my second to last week at my current job and I'm tying up a million loose ends, so I feel I have a legitimate excuse not to be quite so 'academic' today...or tomorrow.

However, I didn't want to stop writing, so instead I have compiled mini reviews of my latest reading endeavours. Somehow I still managed 2000 words! So without further ado...

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Entry 9: "I'm not a Feminist, but..."

…I believe in equality” the student stated in her introduction, “Men and women are just different.” While my thesis isn’t specifically about feminism per say, I don’t want to ignore the ways ‘feminist’ ideas and the negative (and occasionally positive) popular perceptions of the term ‘feminism’ have informed and shaped my own position in relation to ‘women’s leadership'...

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Entry 10: The Year That Was & The Year That Will Be

When I started blogging about the 'thesis process/progress' back in July, the first question I asked myself was: "How to start?" Starting is tough. Sharing honestly is difficult. Being 'authentic' is nerve-wracking. But here I am - I've started, I've shared, and I've tried to be authentic! I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far. And even though I still have SO much to do to get this thesis off the ground/down on paper/into the world, I feel I've carefully and deliberately considered the complexity of this project, a factor which will (fingers crossed) make it richer, more interesting, and deeply meaningful...

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Entry 12: The 'Art' of Writing

Well I’ve been writing steadily for the last three and a half weeks and so far have produced almost 21 pages of 1.5 spaced content, which roughly translates as 9,000 words. And that’s just for one section (and not including the 51 references)! No doubt there will be a lot of paring down in order to consolidate my argument, but for now, even in all its rough draft glory, I feel an immense sense of relief that I’ve finally started writing. Phew.

But it didn’t start very well…!!

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Entry 13: Straight From My Bookbag

We just got back from our Summer beach holiday. And as I reward for all my hard work over the last couple of months I decided to take a week-long break from all texts study related, including novels. Instead I chose to read Atonement by Ian McEwan, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. I enjoyed all three of these novels immensely...

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Entry 15: 'That's a Wrap!' A Book Review Finale

Now that I'm well into the writing stage, I’ve pretty much finished reading novels, short stories, and plays (although I may manage to sneak in a couple more if I’m lucky!), but there were a few stragglers which didn’t get included in my last book review post. So, in this ‘finale’ book review blog, I have three books to appraise, a long list of ‘what-I-wish-I-could-read-if-I-had-time,' a short reflective vignette on how my reading experiences have evolved over the last 7-8 months, and ‘My Feminist Bookshelf’ recommendations. There is just so much great information in this post!

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Entry 16: Making Ends Meet

Well, I’ve written, or at least blocked out, almost everything except for the final discussion and recommendations chapter. And I’ll admit, I’ve held off on writing this part. Not because I don’t have enough material, but because I have too much! In fact, the amount of data I've collected and organised as a result of rereading all ten of my short listed texts is enough to construct an interesting discussion for an entire book...

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