Monday, January 25, 2010

Lit Review Update 22

I need to develop a better “triage” reading system. I need to know how much of which book to read when. I’m focused on a new proposal. I think I have enough of Chirot & McCauley and of Bell-Fialkoff. I’ll pick up more prior to writing the review article. I need to get Rae and Bulutgil. Then I need to read Schmitt and start the proposal.

I need to erase the pencil marks the last reader made in Rae so I can photocopy her Turkish genocide of the Armenians chapter. My photocopying for the coming weeks should include creating a file on each genocide.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lit Review Update 21

I had to add Chapter 3 of the Chirot & McCauley to the list. I strongly suspect a large chunk of their causal argument is there. Well, I knew the book would require considerable digestion. At least it's stylisitcally easy. I seem to manage a good ten pages an hour.

NOTE: Actually, leafing through Chapter 3, it doesn't look useful at all. That's quite a relief. Let's skip to Chapter 4.

NOTE: I may punt the rest of Chirot. The book is just an analysis of existing literature with very little that's original added. the "Solutions" chapter comes across as fairly insipid. I may go back, but I feel this book is slotted enough for this part of the project.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lit Review Update 20

Wednesday and Thursday were occupied by class preparation. I was exhausted on Friday and had an afternoon nap. I hope to type up the blurbs and impose the outline this evening. We’ll see how it goes. I've mislabeled Chapter 4 in the chart above as Chapter 3. Worse, the way they write this, it suggests I need to add Chapter 3, as it may actually be critical to causality. I need to control my frustration with the slow pace of this project. There are days that I tend to despair, especially when I have to spend so much time on being a teaching assistant. I almost never get repeat jobs and that mean class preparation takes up a great deal of time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lit Review Update 19

I decided that I didn’t want to type up the blurbs from The Concept of the Political yet. Leafing through, I decided I wanted to give it another reading. It’s certainly short enough. So I stuck with the lit to be reviewed.

It’s a very short intro, but so far the Chirot and McCauley is, well, breezy. This is a wonderful trait in a novel, but I find it rarely works out in technical writing. It’s not that I object to good writing in the social sciences—perish the thought! It’s just that a good theory tends to tax the style of even the best writers. At any rate, I’m only ten pages in. We’ll see how the rest unfolds.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lit Review Update 18

I’m getting a better estimate of my feelings about the future tasks associated with this literature review. What I’ve decided:

I Will Finish Bell-Fialkoff

The more I read the book, the more I understand why I hate it. Basically, a Myers-Briggs sort of framework, Bell-Fialkoff has very little intuitive capacity. He’s all sensing, all the way. Now, don’t get me wrong. Someone with a high proclivity for sensing can be an excellent researcher. But such a researcher must at least be able to draw on their intuition enough to determine the relative importance of each fact so as to guide his or her reporting. Bell-Fialkoff, poor man, doesn’t even have this to help him. As a result, the whole book reads like the research paper written by that undergrad with no experience who is simply guided by what he finds interesting. Fact follows fact, and most are non sequitur to his alleged topic. He creates mammoth typologies that may or may not have some later use. He is interested in using his imagination to a limited extent—he will, for example, share his feelings about the different types of identity he discusses and how they interact. That said, he never attempts to prove any of these impressions.

His theory chapter is the best example of this approach. It is called “Cleansing as a Metonym of Collective Identity.” Well, OED gives this definition for the term metonym:

a. Rhetoric. (A figure of speech characterized by) the action of substituting for a word or phrase denoting an object, action, institution, etc., a word or phrase denoting a property or something associated with it; an instance of this.

b. In extended use: a thing used or regarded as a substitute for or symbol of something else. Also (esp. in Linguistics and Literary Theory): the process of semantic association involved in producing and understanding a metonymy.

Because the association involved in metonymy is typically by contiguity rather than similarity, metonymy is often contrasted with metaphor.

Wikepedia’s definition is a little clearer, although I’m not sure that it’s better, which is worrisome:

Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, "London," as the capital of the United Kingdom, could be used as a metonym for its government.

So cleansing is supposed to be a shorthand method of referring to collective identity. But that, of course, makes no sense. So perhaps, annoying git that he is, Bell-Fialkoff is using the term “metonym” as a sort of metaphor. Perhaps his meaning is something along the lines of “We like to make references to groups as if they were monolithic blocks. We use the term ‘Arab’ for example, with reference to a place like Syria, Jordan or Egypt. But the truth is that all these societies contain far more than just Arabs. But we like the shorthand, so collective identity is, in a sense, a metonym for whole societies. Now, ethnic cleansing is supposed to end that state of the collective identity being a metonym. That is, if one weeds out all the individuals who do not meet the identity, then the collective identity is an objective reality and not a metonym anymore. That would at least be comprehensible. Of course, that doesn’t explain why ethnic cleansing is a metonym for collective identity. If you can think of a more literal explanation please do let me know. As is, this is the best I can do.

Titles aside, however, there is barely a reference to ethnic cleansing in the whole chapter, which appears to be nothing other than a typological survey of the different possible forms of identity ranging from ethnicity and religion to gender and sexuality. Occasionally he does discuss how politicized a form of identity can become. For example, he does not believe that feminism will become a basis for an independent state, where ethnicity can. But cleansing doesn’t seem to be in the chapter. This frustrates me greatly, because I feel that reading it is a waste of my time.

That said, he keeps getting cited. So I am going to assume that I need to know the book. Frustration has to be part of the process. So I need to avoid sitting down and doing the book at one time. That will drive me batty. If I spread it out and keep coming back to it as I do other tasks, I will be better able to digest the damn thing.

I’ll then ask Steve how to politely review the book. Yeah, I really hate the book, but I have no reason to hate this man. Sadly, the two are associated willy nilly. The problem is that I’ve found very little that is positive so far, and typically, one has to find something to praise in order to be civil in a book review. I can perhaps gesticulate at a few of the interesting thoughts he rambles about but never develops.

I’m Going to Draft a New Proposal after I’ve Read All the Theory Sections

I had initially thought I would do a complete lit review of both theories and cases and turn it into a 10,000 word review article and then distill that down as a smaller part of a theory chapter. Then I realized that I need a grant. So after I read the theory sections of all the books, I’m going to put a hold on the cleansing-by-cleansing overview of the cases. Instead, I’ll start the grant proposal.

I now despise grant writing because, of all documents, a grant proposal requires the most distillation of the most possible texts and must, ironically, be complete before the product that achieves that distillation. As “distilling in my head” is my greatest challenge as writer now, the genre of the grant proposal is my Achilles’ heel. I despise it above all others.

There is hazard here. I need a new causal model. That model requires a good distillation before I can spell it out. I had hoped to write a theory chapter before I wrote the grant proposal. I have to do the proposal first. This is genuinely frightening to me, as I have failed at this task so many times. But I need money. There’s no way around it.

My current model requires me to know at least two books by Carl Schmitt’s work inside and out. I read and marked up the text of The Concept of the Political several years ago. I still need to convert it into an outline. I need to read and mark-up Political Theology, which is at least already photocopied.

Reading Plan

So my planned reading for the term looks something like this:


With all the whining about Bell-Fialkoff both here and on Facebook, you’d think I’d have gotten further. In a sense, I have. I’ve marked up Chapter 3 through p. 85, which means I’ve marked up about 29 pages out of 59. This puts me at roughly the halfway point for the chapter. But even worse than reading abstruse German theory like Hegel is reading someone who has no real idea behind his or her writing. If you suffer with Hegel, you will get something at the end of the day for having mastered the text. All I’ll get from mastering Bell-Fialkoff is the ability to say that I gave him a completely fair shake. That’s really awful motivation. I’d honestly prefer punting the book to being fair to him. That said, I will force myself to read it.


What irritates me about Kaufman is that I distilled him before, but probably didn’t keep the mark-up. So I know how the theory is supposed to “work” (whether it can be said to work is another matter entirely), but I don‘t have the notes for easy citation. Moreover, I distilled him down to what I judged to be the most generous possible reading—a reading that made his theory look as if it were a theory. At the time, I judged that to be rhetorically expedient. It probably still will be, but I don’t have the notes to be able to reconstruct the range of possible readings. Might as well get the homework nailed so I never have to hunt through the text again.


I discovered Rae at the library the other day. She calls ethnic cleansing “pathological homogenization,” which is why she didn’t show up on my first pass through the databases. I can’t recall how I stumbled across the book. It may have been while looking for reviews for Bell-Fialkoff to see if everyone else hates the book as much as I do. I haven’t read her argument yet, but the book looks interesting. Moreover, she provides case studies, so she gives me more historical fodder for the review of cleansings that will follow the writing of the proposal.


Sadly, since she doesn’t employ case studies, I may have to read her whole dissertation at a shot, which will make this part of the theory review a bit of work. She’s a fairly clear writer, however, so at least it won’t be a great deal of suffering. I figure at this point, I’ll start with her introduction, her theory chapter and her conclusion and then make a judgment about whether I know enough to give her a place in the quick lit review that is needed for the proposal, the way I would with the case theory books, or whether I must read the whole thing at a single sitting. My guess is it’s going to look and feel a great deal like the famous Fearon and Laitin piece on civil war. It will have the same strengths and the same weaknesses.

Chirot and McCauley

This is the most difficult of the books to survey quickly. It looks as if Chirot and McCauley have engaged the literature thematically, but are not necessarily presenting any new evidence. This means that there is no “evidence” section to survey separately. If I’m to read it, I have to do the whole thing. This makes me wonder if I shouldn’t just start marking this one up now. As this piece seems to be much more of a large-scale critical survey of the literature, reading it in detail might do a great deal to contextualize me into this literature quickly. Still, it’s a whole book at a shot. Looking at it again, I see that there is a chapter that is about pre-modern mass murder. I could always slot that with the chapters from Mann, Bell-Fialkoff and Rae that are pre-modern. So maybe I don’t have to have the whole book at once. Just most of it.


For a German, Carl Schmitt is a very light read. He has a rare gift for being both direct and succinct. The marking up is already done for The Concept of The Political. That first box should already be gold, but I'm too lazy to fix it now. At any rate, The Concept of the Political is remarkably short and should only require a few days to convert into an outline. I’ve never read Political Theology. But there are several external clues in the critical literature that suggest that I’d find it useful.

Reading Sequence from Here

I might start with typing up the outline for The Concept of the Political, just to give myself a feeling of momentum again. Then I could do ten more pages of Bell-Fialkoff. Then do a chapter of Chirot, followed by ten more pages of Bell-Fialkoff, and work my way alternating chapters of Chirot with wretched snippers of Bell-Fialkoff. Hopefully I can then go and clean up through the smaller authors at the end and finally digest Political Theology. We’ll see how it goes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Out of the Pocket

After having really taken apart the theory sections of Staub and Mann, I have an emotional barrier to overcome. My initial plan was to plod along methodically and review four more theory sections: (1) Bell-Fialkoff, (2) Kaufman, (3) Chirot and Macauley and (4) Bulutgil. My pace has been slower than I wanted. Yesterday, Ellis suggested that I should move beyond preparing and start writing. Staub and Mann are the two beefiest texts. I’ve done a prĂ©cis of Kaufman before. This provides three representative samples of three different types of theoretical approach. Moreover, I feel as if my own model is crystallizing in my head after having gone through Staub and Mann, by far the most substantive books in the set.

This makes me wonder if it might not be prudent to consider diverting my attention to writing a new grant proposal. In favor of changing are the following:

  1. I have three rival approaches and I know their theories well. A model is unfolding in my mind. I have the bare requisites.

  2. My problem has been that I have started too late. January is an ideal time to start for the fall.

  3. I seem to be doing better at step by step.

  4. It’s hard to write and teach when you suffer from MS-induced chronic fatigue. With a grant, I could work full time in 2012-2012.

  5. I want to show my committee a tangible item this term.

Drawbacks are:

  1. I’ve been trying to avoid changing patterns when the going gets hard. Remember the whole “‘Institutionalization’ of the Lebanese Republic” paper. As I would encounter failure, I’d change courses, then get discouraged, then punt the project. I’m scared that I’m doing the same thing here.

  2. Of all the actual cases, I’ve only read the Armenian case material. I really want to know a lot more history. On the other hand, at the rate I’m going, I will still blocking and outlining next June.

In the end, this is about trust. I’ve had to try to adapt and have subsequently failed so many times that I want to dig in and just follow the detailed plan as a perfectionist to the bitter end. I want to focus all my efforts on building my offensive line because I want to be safe. I don’t feel like someone who could be an Aaron Rodgers or a Steve Young anymore. Since MS, when that line goes down, I’ve gotten sacked. I don’t trust myself to dance. I like that pocket. I want to know the enemy completely before going in. I don’t trust myself. I used to believe that I could handle anything that got thrown at me. I don’t anymore.

But being a good quarterback requires a certain amount of scrambling. I think the reason I’ve decided to write the proposal is because I need to prove that I can adapt. There are two reasons why my last proposal failed. The first was being too weakly organized. But I’ve been working my ass off in learning how not to choke and to work slowly but steadily. The second is that I was attempting to determine the impact of an independent variable on a dependent variable (consociationalism), instead of trying to theorize the cause of the dependent variable (ethnic cleansing). No, I didn’t write the proposal to look that way, but clearly I wanted to show what consociationalism really did to a state in civil war. As long as I was obsessed with the independent variable, the project had no end of troubles. When I let go and just did a theory of ethnic cleansing, suddenly the project began to shape properly.

I guess what I am trying to tell myself is this time it will be different. Trust yourself. No, I’m not Aaron Rodgers anymore. I can’t be fast and supple. But that old man in Minnesota is still alive and at his age. I want into this game and that means I need a fucking grant. I’m going to do this. Reviewing the rest of the literature will wait.

Review of Mann

Mann’s overwhelming analytical strength is in his command of his historical cases and his ability to correlate the various types of violence he studies with the social conditions under which they are produced. The book, in my opinion, is likely to be the finest in the set that I’m reading. His cases are what as a debater I was trained to call prima facie cases—cases that from the standpoint of rhetoric are well constructed, cases that at “face value” must stand. If you are to debate Mann’s argument, your major recourse is to return and review the secondary historical texts on which he draws and criticize his cases and argument on the basis of flaws in evidence that you may uncover. If you accept his internal evidence, and at face value, I see no reason to doubt his honesty and thoroughness, the construction of each case is sound, logical, balanced and thorough. He is also a clear writer and, alone among the writers on violence, offers sober and realistic assessments of what interested agents might do to stop ethnic cleansing. I wouldn’t hesitate to assign any part of this book for student reading. Certainly the other authors in the set will have to go to great lengths in order to beat Mann. I admire the book a great deal.

The only weakness I can find is that, by and large, he omits coverage of the psychological literature on violence. I see his argument is more concerned with correlating social structures with violence, rather than understanding why those structures are able to cause the corresponding violence. In all fairness, I believe he would debate this criticism. Without a doubt, I believe he is correct that ethnic cleansing is a modern phenomenon and that the social conditions he describes are strongly correlated with ethnic cleansing. That said, I hold that without understanding the psychology of the rhetoric needed to create and coordinate mass violence, the actual causes of the violence will elude us. Moreover, Mann’s central thesis that ethnic cleansing is the “dark side of democracy” cannot be developed as a critique of liberalism without analyzing the integrating the genuine impact of the ingroup-outgroup distinction on democratic practice.

Mann’s Theses

Mann’s theory takes the form of general predictive hypotheses about ethnic cleansing when it occurs. These are reproduced below:

Thesis 1: Murderous cleansing is the dark side of democracy

This first thesis contains several sub-theses:

Thesis 1a: Murderous ethnic cleansing is a hazard of the age of democracy since amid multiethnicity the ideal of rule by the people began to entwine the demos with the dominant ethnos, generating organic conceptions of the state that encouraged the cleansing of minorities.

Thesis 1b: In modern colonies, settler democracies in certain contexts have been truly murderous, more so than authoritarian colonial governments. The more settlers controlled colonial institutions, the more murderous the cleansing.

Thesis 1c: Regimes newly embarked upon democratization are more likely to commit murderous ethnic cleansing than are stable authoritarian regimes.

Thesis 1d: Stably institutionalized democracies are less likely than either democratizing or authoritarian regimes to commit murderous cleansing.

Thesis 1e: Regimes that are actually perpetrating murderous cleansing are never democratic. Apply these theses beforehand to monitor the state as it becomes less democratic.

The other theses are more simple:

Thesis 2: Ethnic hostility rises where ethnicity trumps class as the main form of social stratification, in the process capturing and channeling classlike sentiments toward ethnonationalism.

Thesis 3: The danger zone of murderous cleansing is reached when (1) movements claiming to represent two fairly old ethnic groups both lay claim to their own state over all or part of the same territory and (2) this claim seems to have substantial legitimacy and some plausible chance of being implemented.

Thesis 4: The brink of murderous cleansing is reached when one of the two alternative scenarios play out: (1) The less powerful side is bolstered to fight rather than to submit (for submission reduces the deadliness of the conflict) by believing that aid will be forthcoming from the outside or (2) the stronger side believes that it has such overwhelming military power and ideological legitimacy that it can force through it own cleansed state at little physical or moral risk to itself.

Thesis 5: Going over the brink into the perpetration of murderous cleansing occurs where the state exercising sovereignty over the contested territory has been factionalized and radicalized amid an unstable geopolitical environment that usually leads to war (political instability is required).

Thesis 6: Murderous cleansing is rarely the original intent of perpetrators.

Thesis 7: There are three main levels of perpetrator. These are: (a) radical elites running party states, (b) bands of militants forming violent paramilitaries, (c) core constituencies providing mass though not majority popular support.

Thesis 8: Ordinary people are brought by normal social structures into committing murderous ethnic cleansing and their motives are much more mundane.

Mann is not pursuing a generalized theory. He argues, “Given the messiness and uniqueness of societies, my theses cannot be scientific laws. They do not even fit perfectly to my case studies.” He sums up his position as follows:

Murderous cleansing is most likely to result where powerful groups within two ethnic groups aim at legitimate and rival states “in the name of the people” over the same territory, and the weaker is aided from the outside. It worsens in the presence of unstable, factionalized party-states. That is the main argument of this book, and it indicates that in explaining this particularly vicious area of human behavior, political power relations are ultimately decisive.

His claim that, “All my cases have peculiarities that I must respect,” is the mark of a good historian, a claim for which, in turn, I have a good measure of respect. Certainly the book is a testament to Mann’s scholarly thoroughness. That said, I am not convinced that a theory of ethnic cleansing cannot be causal, rather than descriptive.

Critique of the Causal Model

While Mann openly stresses that leader decisions are critical causes of ethnic cleansing, he does very little actual theorization the role of agents in his book. His method consists of reviewing the historical narrative of several ethnic cleansings to determine common social conditions that precede ethnic cleansing. This analysis is valuable, but not complete. I believe that psychological insight, specifically a deeper knowledge of how the ingroup-outgroup distinction is activated at times of threat would help make his collection of theses into a more parsimonious and compact theory.

Let’s spend a moment on thesis one. Mann believes that, ironically, given the literature on the democratic peace in international relations and a general belief that liberalism is the panacea for all intolerance, it seems that democracy, particularly weak, unconsolidated democracy, actually seems to be a critical component in the causality of many cleansings. I am more than delighted to grant this. That said, the reasons why this is so are unclear and the effect appears highly inconsistent.

For example, thesis 1a tells us that people have a tendency to confuse the ethnos (an ethnic, organic notion of the people that indicates that the community shares “a common culture and sense of heritage, distinct from other peoples,” (Mann, p. 3) with the demos, a view of the population that sees the community as “the ordinary people” (Mann, p. 3), by which, as far as I can tell, means that it is a collection or more or less atomized individuals who live in a given space. An important characteristic of the common identity of the demos is a capacity to be stratified into interests that are not linked to an idea of separate community. The most important of these is class, but age and gender are important as well. The core idea, however, when contemplating itself, the demos is never divided into communities that can be seen as an ethnos. Ethnic cleansing is always a clash of more than one ethnos (ethnoi?—sorry, my Greek is non-existent). To arrive at ethnic cleansing, people must be in an ethnos “state of mind.”

Mann does not sufficiently explain how one travels between these two interpretive frameworks. To be fair, he does tell us quite a bit. For example, he explains that slower emergence of the nation as a result of slower integration into the world capitalist system leads to a demos self-concept, because ethnic elites can be assimilated into the ethnicity of the dominant ethnic group and slowly integrate lower classes as they become politicized (Mann, pp. 57-60). In contrast, quick integration into the world capitalist system means that ethnic elites will be “captured” by their ethnic subordinates who become politicized too quickly to permit for this slow, top-down integration into a single demos. Conservatives within the various ethnoi will stir up the mobilizing masses and create conflict (Mann, pp. 61-63). Of course, Mann is not the first to tell us this story. We can look at least as far back as Anthony Smith’s Ethnic Origins of Nations (1986) and Leah Greenfeld’s Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (1992) for different parts of this story. And Mann does not explain why individuals who are often confronted with the option of seeing group identity as ethnos or demos will pick one over the other.

The only clue we have is Thesis 2: Ethnic hostility rises where ethnicity trumps class as the main form of social stratification, in the process capturing and channeling classlike sentiments toward ethnonationalism. We know that subsuming class grievance under ethnos, makes ethnic cleansing more likely. We do not know why.

He admits that Thesis 3 does not apply to Holocaust (Mann, p. 503). He simply replies that the Holocaust is the most atypical of the cases and despite its pre-eminent coverage in the literature, should not be viewed as paradigmatic. I think a more logical approach would be to admit that in many cases, leaders must rely on forces other than coercion to gain obedience of the population and staff that are to carry out the cleansing. In the case of Nazi Germany, Hitler had created an ultra-authoritarian state that was responsive to his directives. He did not need to sell a threat anymore. It was sufficient that he believed that “subhumans” were a threat. In short, no ultra-authoritarian state is likely to fit into a paradigm, because any theoretical explanation must look at the structural constraints facing a ruler’s freedom of action. Largely unconstrained rulers, a rare phenomenon to be sure, do what they wish. If you wish to predict what the dictator of an ultra-authoritarian state will do next, you have no recourse but to study the leader.

Mann’s Policy Prescriptions

Mann is alone among those prescribing for policy with respect to preventing cleansing in combining moral sensitivity with pragmatism. His lists a number of suggestions toward the reform of the international system of collective security, the international system of justice and U.S. foreign policy priorities that he immediately admits are “pie in the sky,” (Mann, p. 526). Far more interesting is his constructive suggestion for helping reconstruct post-conflict states. He suggests combining federalism or consociationalism with features that ultimately undermine those provisos in favor of cultivating a demos. Mann argues that acquiring peace very often requires stop-gap measures that end up reinforcing ethnic identity. That said, if electoral incentives are created to undermine guarantees to varying ethnoi by making it possible for politicians to develop cross-ethnos parties that reinforce the demos, then a long-term future may be possible. Finally, Mann is frank that this problem may not survive the 21st century simply because if ethnic cleansing is simply a response to creating “nations” that “fit the states,” we may well arrive at an ethnically cleansed state system by the end of the century. His view is depressing, but realistic.

That said, his causal argument does not explain the inexorability he sees. I see the inexorability, too. I’m rather hoping that I can draw on (1) a psychological knowledge of the political deployment of rhetoric and (2) a better theory of elite action to help explain why.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lit Review Update 17

Yeah, buddy! The theory chapters from Mann are done! It took two and a half more hours to type in the blurbs and covert them into an outline. I'll do the math tomorrow for per page production time. Tonight, my brain is tofu!

!I'll do a write-up of the theory portions of Mann tomorrow, too. I probably will hold the colonial chapter and perhaps do them together with the pre-modern cleansings, not because they truly belong together. Rather, I'll throw them together because only Mann and Bell-Fialkoff do a chapter on pre-modern cleansing and I don't think anyone else deals with colonial murder. I should find something on the Belgian slaughter in the Congo under King Leopold. I don't know if I have anything for that under the cases.

Lit Review Update 16

Plugging away. The mark-up took about five hours, four of which was work and one of which was getting up to make coffee for me and Craig, going to the bathroom and other breaktime. The piece was 28 pages long. So in actual work, I'm marking up at a rate of seven pages an hour. In elapsed time, I'm getting about five and a half. So let's be conservative and estimate five pages an hour. That means 34 hours for Fialkoff, 7 hours for Naimark, 43 hours for Chirot. I'm not sure how to gauge Bulutgil, as she is in double-spaced, twelve-point text (it's her unpublished dissertation). Sweet Lord, I hope my pace picks up! I have 84 hours of mark-up to do and that hasn't calculated in time for typing in the blurbs and outlining.

Those two processes require more thought that you might imagine, even though they are faster. Typing up the margin blurbs usually requires more elaboration on the comments to make certain that they are quickly and easily comprehensible later on. The goal of this exercise is to avoid the need for recontextualization time at all costs! Imposing the outline structure also requires some analytical ability, but it's only here that I often arrive at a clear picture of what the writer was trying to argue, especially when the writer has poor organizational skills. Years ago, Susan Whiting told me, "You have to give each book a fair reading as well as a fair trashing. But the fair reading has to come first." I do hope she will be proud of me. These writers have my undivided attention and pure focus.

I feel that I have some small hope of picking up speed, however. Mann was definitely the most dense of the writers so far. In all fairness, he was also the most rewarding read of the bunch, so far. I'm not looking forward to Bell-Failkoff at all. He seemed to read fairly densely, but I have to say I was underwhelmed by what I read.

I wonder if I can devise a framework for judging textual density and then gauging mark-up time that way? I should keep more data. Neil asked me to make a realistic assessment of my ability to do this job, given my constraints. He didn't say it in a nasty way at all and I seriously appreciate him saying it. I don't know if I'm too slow to make it. But I'm pretty sure that most of my attempts to sample lightly here and there have been partly responsible for why I've been stalled for so long. I can't do the distillation in my head anymore. It all has to show up on paper. That's slow. But what I can do is keep good notes on the process and go back to Steve and Ellis for advice. The more they see, the more realistic their advice can be.

I definitely feel that after this lit review, I'll be able to run a seminar of ethnic cleansing with ease. In a way, that's what keeps me going. This sounds totally geeky, but I want to run a seminar. Most of my comparative seminars were not able to integrate theory and cases. I want to design seminars that do.

Lit Review Update 15

Amazing how long some of these chapters take. I spent about two hours typing in blurbs and another two hours imposing the outline structure on the typed-up blurbs. This is a particularly dense chapter, but still, my method is clearly time-intensive.

I'm trying hard to make sure I do dissertation work every day. I had to get together a syllabus for the Antioch class and that took some time today as well. I have a huge challenge ahead of me this term. I have a good deal of class prep and need to keep chugging on the dissertation. I'd hoped to have the lit review done by the time school starts. It's clear that was too ambitious. I'm now hoping to have all the material converted to outlines and the lit review written by the end of term. So much for my theory chapter. I'm hoping that my attempt to document all of this will allow me, for the first time since I arrived in Seattle, to start making realistic estimates of production time. If I can develop predictable work estimates, I will have done a great deal to restore some sense of self-esteem and self-confidence to the process of writing.

I'm facing an enormous challenge this term, due to my exceptionally heavy teaching load. I'm a TA for three sections of Ellis' POL S 331 and I'm teaching a course at Antioch. The UW and Antioch are on the same week schedule for their quarter systems this term. I'm giving the Antioch class a single writing assignment that has two drafts. This means grading for Antioch starts early in Week 10. When I see Ellis' syllabus, I'll have a clearer idea of my grading load. I've done Ellis' 331 before and I've done my Antioch class in another form at Green River. Still, both were a long while ago and I have incomplete notes. I will need prep time.

If I can write the lit review this term and pull my family out of our financial hole, I really can be proud of how far I've come over the past few years. If...