Mark Edwin Peterson

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Once again, I am questioning my direction on the dissertation. The two biggest issues are that it always seems like I am just picking up on topics that are in the air, not being very original and that I have not found anything that will interest me for the years it takes to finish. Whether I really want to come anywhere near Woodrow Wilson is part of the complication on that score. If I wanted to do something completely different, what would that be? I don’t think that anyone really cares about Wilson in any interesting way.
I have long been interested in Americans buying up medieval texts in the twentieth century. That fits in well with current projects on tracking book sales, but they leave me feeling that I will look like I am following trends and don’t have anything to add.
What would be new topics? Medieval texts in refugee camps. Positive nationalism. Returning texts. Destroying medieval libraries. Digital nationalism. Comparing Yugoslavia with Ethiopia. 100 Years of Americans: Yugoslavia, Palestine, Tanzania, Namibia, Samoa. 100 years of Americans: American Samoa, Germany, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Korea, Vietnam, Haiti. Special Collections and American Power: Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Texas.