Monday, August 18, 2014

Sabbatical Officially Begins

This semester I am not going back to school. Rather, I am on sabbatical… my very first sabbatical.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, a sabbatical is a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year. 

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this semester to no avail. This is my sabbatical year. People traditionally take a sabbaticals to fulfill a goal or do research. Part of the sabbatical is designed to reinvigorate and restore one's academic energies, and to provide a base for future intellectual development and achievement.

My doctoral research directly addressed the perceptions of the portrayals of deaf characters in adolescent literature.  Since 2006, I started developing this blog and have continued doing research on the topic.  I have enjoyed many accomplishments with my scholarship and am proud that it is still seen as relevant. 
One of the main things I intend to do during this sabbatical is to continue where I left off with my dissertation in 2006.  To start, I plan to address the ‘further recommendations’ section I addressed in my dissertation since it explicitly noted the benefits of asking authors who include Deaf Characters why they do so. Just a few months after my dissertation defense, I began this blog. Since February 2007, I have interviewed forty-eight authors inquiring about their inclusion of their characters. To me, this WHY is just as interesting as HOW the characters are portrayed. 
While I have a fairly substantial manuscript in place, it has been awhile since I’ve touched the manuscript. I would like to go through and polish the work that I already have produced as well as evaluate interviews and book reviews that I have completed since 2008 when I originally planned to complete and submit the manuscript for review. 
My intended time-frame includes:
First in August, I need to make sure that all of the unread books have been read, reviewed and posted on my blog. This includes interviews with the authors of these books. By the end of the month, I should have one more review to post (and hopefully an interview). After that, I plan to review all of my pertinent blog posts including the book reviews and the author interviews. I’ll look for trends in the publications (are there similar story lines; is the Deaf Character still the secondary character whose story is told from the hearing friend, etc.) and determine what correlations there are between the authors, both Deaf and Hearing, for their interest in including such characters.

By September, I plan to rework and polish my introduction chapter incorporating blog posts and interviews along with any findings from my review.
In October, I plan to focus on Book Categories & Summaries. In many ways this will be another attempt at reviewing the data (books, interviews, etc). Creating 200+ book summaries will be a huge endeavor; however, I have 276 blog posts that I will actually be able to use. As one can imagine, over the years I have not been consistent in my format for summarizing books. I plan to revise the blog posts that I have made and create standardized summaries of Deaf Character books. 
By November, I plan to review the chapters that I had written and begin revising and reworking the chapters. I honestly won’t know if my previous chapter titles will be what I follow until reviewing all of the data. 
By the end of December, I hope to submit at least several chapters of my manuscript to a publisher.

I’m hoping to document much of my journey here as well.  I’m nervous and excited. And even more than that, I think this topic is such an important contribution to the portrayals of diverse characters.  I have many ideas swirling around in my head. For now, I better jot down some notes and go read.

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