Thesis Status and Things to Come

As I’m about to leave Winnipeg (a place so cold that the bus stops have heating!), I thought it would be a good time for an update on my thesis work. I have just recently completed very advanced drafts of two chapters (2 and 4 – check the outline here). Chapter 2 deals with the extensive literary sources, and it has been a challenge to dig deep into the late antique literature, but also very rewarding. The chapter is now way too long, and needs a lot of editing and tweaking before I will be happy with it. But the core material is more or less there.

Chapter 4 is a far-reaching survey of various kinds of damage to statuary other than iconoclasm: earthquakes, weathering, spoliation, etc. I’ll try to get some posts up with some of the main issues in the near future. It’s been a fun chapter to write, but the material is basically endless and difficult to work with, because there is no consensus on terminology and interpretation. This is, of course, also what it makes so much fun to work with!

The other chapters are in various states of ‘fragmentation’ themselves. Chapter 3 is a very central chapter that deals with methodology and theory, and although I have done a lot of work with it, I suspect that it will take a long time to finish a draft that I’ll be pleased with. The case studies that make up part II are more or less ready to be written up, but I need to do some additional groundwork, especially for chapters 6 and 7.

Another development is that I’ve decided to leave the material from Greece for later. There are several potential sites, ranging from the obvious cases at Corinth and Athens (that have been dealt with at length by many others) to new interesting cases at Messene, Nikopolis and elsewhere. More importantly, I decided that a ‘survey’ approach just wasn’t appropriate for my project. I still use the Greek material as comparanda in the other chapters though.

From 1 February I will be in residence at the Danish Academy in Rome. I really look forward to focusing entirely on the writing process. I have also been lucky enough to secure some generous funding that will allow me to do extensive field research in Italy, Turkey and Egypt.

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