First of all: thanks to everybody who responded (online or in real life) to my plea for help with interpreting art & architecture – you’ve made my week. Seriously, you’ve been super helpful, to the point that it feels slightly wrong to copy your clever points into my dissertation even with all the proper footnotes. Also, it really makes things more fun for me. Writing a dissertation is supposed to be lonely – but really, this way it’s not.
Also in other respects, this has been a good working week, which on a psychological/hormonal/bacterial level seems to have to do with the fact that spring has finally happened. I spent most of Monday, Tuesday and Thursday working on the two New Deal chapters in my thesis: one about FDR’s autofabrication through New Deal public works: the fact that he left such a spatially widespread and enduring mark on the American landscape; the other about the depoliticization of the New Deal during the years 1945-2010. For the first I had to close-read some of those buildings and murals. Which I haven’t finished doing yet. Hence the historical scenes in this post: any views or interpretations remain very welcome! For the second New Deal chapter I had to say what depoliticization means, and explain how depoliticization is by no means an a-political kind of process, even if it is used to create that impression. I hope I have more or less tackled that point. In any case I sent the pieces I now have to my supervisors and am curious/excited/nervous (in that order actually) to find out what they think.
Monday is my presentation at the Huizingasymposium (read more about that here and here), which I was very nervous about for a while, but now I feel okay-ish. After that I’m going to start on a chapter about Roosevelt & World War II in American cultural memory. Any associations you might have with that (really any thoughts or ideas at all!) I would be interested in hearing.