Photo taken from Le Monde, "Dans l’enfer de la thèse," 13.04.2015.
Photo taken from Le Monde, “Dans l’enfer de la thèse,” 13.04.2015.

And it’s done. One hundred and five pages of problematique, critical literature review, theoretical framework, and methodology— all done within three weeks, because of an arbitrary deadline. Notably without any input or feedback from anyone except Frederik, whose job isn’t even supposed to be this. (I am eternally grateful.)

So, one hundred and five pages.

The result of reading, annotating, and digesting two books a day.

Over three hundred and fifty journal articles.

On all the things— norm diffusion, postcolonial theory, criticisms of norm diffusion, criticisms of postcolonial theory, evolutions of norm diffusion, evolutions of postcolonial theory; sexual health and reproductive rights in the world, in Southeast Asia, in the Philippines; sexual and reproductive laws in the world, in Southeast Asia, in the Philippines; Philippine colonial history; Philippine history post-Marcos; Philippine postcolonial theory; all the types of discourse analysis; Critical Discourse Analysis; limitations of Critical Discourse Analysis; all the modes of process tracing; case-study based process tracing; limitations of process tracing; and a million other little things that I had to learn or re-learn along the way.

… and not just reading ‘all the things’ but synthesizing them, weaving them into each other, creating a tight braid of knowledge that (hopefully) makes sense.

Thirty four days of sleepless nights and dreams about grids and discourses and methodologies.

I wanted to do this. I chose to embark upon this doctorate. With this amount of progress in three weeks, I’m happier than I have been in months— most people have a year or more to work on their chapters! I’ve managed to do it in three weeks.

But my mind is mush.

And my heart is angry.

I love researching. I’ve spent a hell year in Rome, wasting weeks of my time on Sisyphean tasks, satisfying compulsory courses completely irrelevant to my research, fighting the system and losing, and having my health deteriorate to worrisome levels. Thanks to Brussels and the efficiency of the people working at the university, notably Sue Black who is a beacon of hope in the dark world of bureaucracy, I now have the freedom to work and explore what I am doing, and I’m finally catching up to where I should be­­— so I do not appreciate arbitrary deadlines, specially those derived from ignorance.

For the next week: de-stressing, going through unpublished PhD Project blog posts, and setting up for my upcoming fieldwork in the Philippines. The work never ends.

Next hurdle: the viva on the 24th of April. Let’s see how it goes.

Photo also taken from Le Monde, "Dans l’enfer de la thèse," 13.04.2015.
Photo also taken from Le Monde, “Dans l’enfer de la thèse,” 13.04.2015.

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