Beginning with my entry into the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies certificate program last year my research interests have been somewhat narrow, focusing on homosexuality and alternative sexualities. These are are areas that are very special to me, but yet an exclusive focus on these areas do not fully represent me as an academic. After a brief discussion on Tuesday in Pro-Seminar I find myself questioning the depth at which I have been investing myself in this one particular research area. For sociology my research interest is more about identity, especially identity and group process for marginalized groups.
I feel like after the various options I had going in to this year I have become lost in my previous research and have not spent enough time evaluating new directions or new ideas. I am still growing as a scholar and I need to spend more time in breadth and allow myself to narrow down as I get closer to the PhD. I started work last year in WGST and Cognitive Science with the intention of being in the counseling program this year. As such I was utilizing the year to work on things that were important to me before diving in to a more structured program. Once I was denied entry to counseling and was waitlisted for sociology I went to my backup plan of using the MALS program, which would basically extend the certificate in WGST to a full degree program. After admission to sociology it seems as though I have forgotten to re-evaluate my research interests in any serious way. I have listed my interests, but I have not taken efforts to refocus my efforts on selecting the best possible topic for my thesis. Diving in to the first assignment in Pro-Seminar I selected BDSM and Sadomasochism as terms to begin my search for abstracts of articles that will one day form my literature review which will lead directly into my thesis.
My current plan based on these new thoughts is to move my specific BDSM topics to a tutorial class (utilizing my last tutorial space) and making my thesis more about marginalized identity, but of course including relevant elements from the tutorial.
As with any plan that I formulate, there is a backup plan (at least one). Other thoughts I have had involve a project on family structures and an analysis of alternative family structures and their “outcomes”. I may perhaps be able to toss a bit of religion in there as well. It even crossed my mind to do a project involving the structures involved in policy formation in ICANN, IANA, etc that lead to changes in the experience of the Internet’s constituency.