On Coping with Post Submission Slump

For the last three weeks I have been trying to get down and write that proposal. I never really got started. There was so much I still felt I should have been reading or rereading before I actually set down and started writing. And, of course, now after I had submitted I had the freedom to read firs t … and reading was something I could easily do from my bedroom, right? – Actually, no! Capital NO. I ended up sleeping, chatting to my flatmate, watching films and telling myself it was just fair enough, after all, I had been working hard, very hard for the last few months in order to finish my PhD, right? Well, right, yes but, capital BUT: life goes on so you just got keep on running along, or at least try. Or you miss the train, the opportunity, the job opening of your dreams … Or alternatively end up like me stitching it all together in a week’s nightshifts. Not the proposal itself, luckily, I got a few more days for that, but the draft I wanted to present at the UCL West Africa Seminar. Bad enough. But, kind people as they are, they didn’t give me too hard a time. Instead, I got some really interesting suggestions and ideas that I will have to work into my proposal. Most importantly, I was told to please further contextualise the religious posters I collected at Kurmi Market in 2008 in the wider context of local visual culture, in particular different practices surrounding political posters. Didn’t they, Mruray Last asked, in their own contexts serve a similar purpose to political campaign posters, i.e. advertising and promoting a particular religious teachers to potential disciples? Interesting. And, on the whole highlighting once more how little I actually do know about the objects I wrote about in my PhD, the ideas and practices that informed their production and consumption. Embarrassing. But apparently rather normal. One always forgets to ask all the relevant questions. Apparently. And reassuring to know. On a completely different note, Barrie Sharpe, suggested that Christian religious posters very similar to some of the more narrative scenes I collected in Kano and equally imported from Cairo circulated, at some point, within Pentecostal communities in the Nigerian Middle Belt. Now this is fascinating. I will have to chase him up on some more detailed references or points from which to start connecting these different markets! But not this weekend. This weekend I am instead hoping to test drive some of the ideas for my proposal by starting to inquire about some religious posters I have seen on salehere in London. Between you and me, I officially announce this here in order to put some pressure on myself. Otherwise I just fall back into the slump of reading, or rather not reading randomly around my topic in the comfort of my home, or chatting to my flatmate . So, expect a short ‘fieldwork’ report some time next week!

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