14 April 2008

Revised Proposal. Check.

I finished my revised dissertation proposal on Saturday and sent it in for feedback. I'm not sure what my committee members will think. Hopefully their comments will be positive and I can carry on with this project.

Here are my questions, in case anyone cares:

It is mostly men who perpetuate violence, organize a violent response, and present the media with stories about it. With very few exceptions, women are cast mostly in the role of passive victims.

The story of the attacks on America on September 11, 2001, conjures up many images about gender—especially with regard to the observations about gender and violence above. While men largely perpetrated violence, organized a violent response, and presented the media with stories about violence, some women in powerful leadership positions have provided support and opposition to the violent conflicts that followed that fateful day, now known as conflicts in the “War on Terror.”

Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton all occupy public leadership positions and have weighed in on the “War on Terror.” Other female public servants have also played important roles in expressing support or dissent for state-sponsored violence—typically a masculine endeavor.

The purpose of this dissertation is to expand on Liesbet van Zoonen’s questions about media and gender: How is gender discourse constructed in the various “moments” of mediated meaning production? And “Which meanings are available in media texts and from which discourses do they draw?”


Based on the comments and suggestions I received during my prospectus meeting, I would like to focus on the following questions:

  • Which images of gender (and race) are allowed to surface in the media during a state-sponsored war?

  • Are media constructions based on patriarchal definitions of femininity and masculinity? Or do the constructions challenge the dominant definitions of femininity?

  • How can images of these women be situated historically when compared to other women in leadership roles during times of war?

  • Because the subject of media coverage of women soldiers and victims of war has been well-studied, how do media constructions of women leaders compare to these constructions?

I'm hoping to begin collecting data this week while I'm in Brule with my parents. My dissertation calendar predicts that the collection process will be completed by May. Yeah right. We'll see about that.

On the Bear front, Benny got his highchair this weekend. Nate's boss gave us his son's old one. It's enormous and reclines. What are people thinking when they design these things. Oh well. It was free and used, two things I agree with. And it's six years old. It's amazing how much baby stuff changes from year to year. We bought a used BOB running stroller that is only two years old. Already the design has changed and really rich parents are touting the newest BOB strollers. Seriously. I don't understand all this consumerism for stuff that a baby will use for no more than a year or two.

BUT, the Bear is working on his third tooth (top right). His bottom two are nearly all the way in now. He looks like a reverse beaver! He's been a bit fussy for the past two days, so hopefully that damn tooth breaks the skin soon!

One day I really will be working on the dissertation full time and I won't be tempted to write on this everyday. Hopefully that day arrives soon!

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