Practice in Communication: Learning While Researching

Throughout these past several weeks of the fellowship, the purpose and significance of my project concerning female spectatorship have shifted with the more work I complete. While my focus has not strayed from pushing for an acknowledgment of the value of critical viewing done by female spectators during the Renaissance period, I continue to contemplate and dance with at what scale my purpose should be focused. At times, I see value in centering my work only on the Renaissance and works of fiction from the period, but at other moments in the process of my project, I find value in considering the large-scale point of view that is more general but highlights the necessity for different perspectives about media and the world around us. 

More specifically, on one hand, my work highlights the viewing done by female spectators during the English Renaissance and reevaluates the way their characters are negatively interpreted as ignorant. On a different scale though, my project’s purpose more generally is to emphasize how the acknowledgment of female spectatorship as critical and fruitful can showcase the importance of considering all perspectives. This in turn leads to having an alternate understanding of a historical period, as each perspective provides new insights into the social workings of the time—even if those perspectives are coded to be ignored by authors. 

When I sit with this pendulum swing between the larger versus field-specific scale focus, I think about how this would impact the way I present my work. As I communicate with fellow members of my cohort and my friends and family about my project during the fellowship, I find myself relying on both a narrow and large-scale point of view to convey my purpose and significance. While I may introduce the methods of my work through a more field-specific lens, I tend to not stick to just my field-specific purpose when discussing my significance. I have found that communicating the possible broader application of my research and weaving in the more field-specific goals I have in the process has helped me to not only communicate my work but continue to help me orient myself when I need to take a step back from my project before moving forward during the writing process. 

This exploration and understanding of scale in terms of research will be something I always want to consider moving forward. In the future, I hope to continue in academia and become a professor, and whether teaching, learning in a classroom, or producing different research, I know that exploring the different scales of applicability of my work will be useful for understanding further application of my findings.

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