11 April 2007

Uni Update

So finally, SOAS has reopened after the Easter weekend. I am now trying not to panic and stay focused on my three essays and the exams, even though I am unsure how to best structure my daily studying schedule and which concentration technique is the best.

If you are wondering why I am so stressed out: Unlike in Vienna, I only have four lectures a year that I can write exams in and each is worth 15 ECTS points. The exams are not about regurgitating what your teacher has said or one single author. During the exam, you have to answer three questions within three hours. Ideally, you present an argument for each of these answers and carefully balance theory and evidence (depending on what lecture it is, the focus might vary). All this in three hours. In a language other than your own.

Also, the exam results of Year 2 and Year 3 together comprise the overall grade of your degree from SOAS and consequentially, your likelihood of getting a good graduate job in the UK.

To give you the right idea about why my post-modernist ethnography essay is such a pain to research on, I will let Clifford and Marcus's first editorial reader give you a synopsis of the thematic:

A Hermeneut's Dilemma
Twas prelapsarian, and the hermeneut
Sat huddled with his faithful trope,
Sunk in thaumasmus, idly strumming his lute,
Lost in subversion with nary a hope.

Then with heartfelt apoplanesis he cried,
O come, interlocutor, give me your ear!
In my pathopoeia I’ve slandered and lied;
Now of my grim project this discourse you’ll hear.

I’ve dabbled in vile phenomenological rites,
And joined in a secret synecdoche,
Squandered my received knowledge in bibulous nights,
And embraced epistemological heresy.

O, but now my metonymy is too great to bear!
This ecphonesis has become too deictic to hide!
I’ve lost all the poesis I once held so dear. . .
And, with typical hypotyposis, he died.
(Kepp, Jane: A Hermeneut's Dilemma. In Clifford, J. & Marcus, G. E. (1986): Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. London: University of California Press.)

Will now try a bit of meditation and auto-hypnosis.

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