In my last post, I explained briefly what kinds of questions I find appealing in the fields of history and utopian theory. In this post, I would like to elaborate on where I believe these questions come to the fore most vividly, and how the historical location of such questions influences my choice regarding subject-matter and period. The alert reader can see that I am writing in a strangely ‘passive’ voice: I do not simply pick the subject-matter – the subject-matter suggests itself to me, given my commitments. To some extent, this is the product of the fact that academia is a calling, and perhaps history (or the humanities in general) has an even higher ‘calling-potential’ than most other academic fields.* But I have to admit it’s also partly a personal defect and occupational hazard: to historicise even oneself beyond the recognition of agency. This is something I’m still working on, I promise.
For many, the onset of Autumn signifies the start of the new academic year. For some, including myself, it rather means the beginning of the Sisyphossian labour called ‘university applications’. As I have to write a fresh research proposal in the coming weeks, I would like to dedicate this blog post to putting some thoughts on paper about the kind of research I can see myself doing in the coming years, in a relatively ‘safe’ and informal environment – as a kind of exercise in self-help. What kind of issues trigger my interest most within the intellectual space comprising Classics, Political Thought, and the Humanities more broadly? Is there a pattern discernable within the topics I have already worked on in the past? Is it possible, in the course of this blog post, to come to a rough sketch of my research proposal?