Thursday, 12 February 2009

Postgraduate and Beyond

I've known for a while the plan after Uni is to go straight into an MA when I am done in the circle of hell known as ******* University. They recently put on a Careers and Alumni conference which we had to attend and whilst there was a startling lack of people working within the field of history, there were a couple of MA students.

Man they were old.

It seems like it is a fairly rare thing to be able to do your MA straight after your BA, unless you can fund it privately. Which I most certainly can't. I will have to apply for funding from a Research Council or some other benevolent organisation if I want to go and do this, as being a poor Geordie lad I don't have a vast pool of gold bullion on which I sleep.

I also have a morbid fear of being in the situation I find some of my friends are in. The kind of situation where you finish your degree and then unleash yourself onto the world of entry level office jobs, begging for any scraps that might get thrown your way. No way man, no way.

I've also been told that if I want funding from an RC I more or less have to get a first. Now, that isn't a huge problem as so far, I'm a fair way there already, but it is an annoyance I could do without. On top of that, I have to find an MA that does something I want to do (I'm looking at Cambridge because of their Early Modern programme), then cross that with somewhere I can afford to go.

I don't even know when I have to start applying for these things, as I am still in the second year.

So this is a plea to anyone who might read this blog, (and I thank you for doing so) If I am still updating next year and I am talking about how excited I am at starting my new job in a Siemens call center, hunt me down and kill me. You'll be doing me a favour.

(Coming Soon: Review of 'Thomas Wolsey: late Cardinal, his Life and Death' by his usher, George Cavendish)

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Dissertation Topics

Second week of the second semester of my second year and we are already having our dissertations thrown at us. They could have at least asked us how Christmas was first.

At this point in time I have two ideas for my dissertation. Both of which i think should be pretty interesting to do. The first one would be something like 'Henry VII, First Tudor or Last Yorkist?'. The second is a re-examining of the relationship between Henry VIII and his 'big three', Wolsey, More and Cromwell.

I'll say it early in this blogs life. I like Henry VII. I think the recent works done by Grummit, Gunn and Carpenter are really going to re-open H7 and help cast off this myth that the only thing we need to know about him is that he won the Battle of Bosworth and liked money. I mean come on. One of the most interesting things I find about him personally is the very strong Yorkist line that can be traced in his policy making. For some who label him as England's only applicant in the 'New Monarchy' this is something of an inconvenient truth. If historians are going to stop their little late medievalist/early modernist turf war over him, we could be in for some pretty exciting stuff over the next few years.

The relationship between H7 and his ministers is something that has come under a certain amount of scrutiny yet has always proved difficult to define in a manner that everybody likes. The problem comes from the huge powers that Wolsey, Cromwell and More wielded, yet the ease in which H8 got rid of them when they messed up. Some say that the advisers were more or less the monarch during their period of power (read anything Elton every wrote about Cromwell and you see true, pure, unadulterated hero worship) while Henry was busy getting married. Others are starting to say that actually, they could only sustain this power as long as they towed the Henrician line. Like H7, I think there is a lot of room here for discovery.

Bah. Curse you dissertation. You are proving to be annoying already.

What's this all about then?

I must admit I never saw myself writing a blog. I've always seen them as inherently pretentious. I mean, why are my opinions and thoughts important enough to steal time from someone else's life that they can never get back?

I recently had an epiphany though. While talking to one of my friends on MSN I realised that the internet is not just providing the world with transsexual midget porn and videos of people swimming in custard. It can actually be used as a tool to talk to other people who share the same interests as you and there is a chance that you could actually learn something from each other!


I'm kidding. As the blurb to the right of this post yells I'm currently in the second year of my history degree and it is the field I expect to work in for the rest of my life. This blog is primarily for fellow students of history (especially if they happen to be studying early modern history) so we can thrash ideas out and shoot the shit about things normal people really don't care about.

I really am sorry about taking away those seconds. No refunds.


(If anyone has any tips on what the cool kids put on their blogs, let me know!)