Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Doctor

Just a quick note to offer my congratulations to my friend Brett Homan on getting his PhD thesis passed by the examiners. As he says on his blog:
"Yesterday I received my examiners’ reports, and they both recommended that I ‘be awarded the PhD degree without further examination or amendment’ (though not without criticism, I must add)."
I came across Brett through his blog, built around his thesis work, as well as interesting asides and broadsides arising.
One of the most interesting is the experimental 'post blogging' of the Sudeten Crisis of 1938 (normally known as the Munich Crisis) here. Sounds obscure, but it's basically taking the unfolding crisis day by day through the newspapers of the time. One of the biggest traps of history is that we know what happened next, and thus what didn't and couldn't happen*. Real life as it unfolds isn't like that, of course, and there are insights and understandings to be gained from trying to immerse yourself in the period and not have their future at the forefront of your understanding. Watching the crisis 'unfold' (which also incidentally explains the absurdity of calling it the Munich Crisis) was a thought provoking, interesting exercise.

Realising Brett was in Melbourne as well, we managed to meet up for a discussion on matters aerohistorigraphical (it's a very exclusive club) and it's been interesting for me to have a peek at writing on aviation history from an academic approach, rather than my journalistic and publishing one. The differences are actually quite major, and as ever, there are lesson and ideas (as well as absurdities) in both approaches to learn from. I'm not sure if I was any help to Brett, but his blog, chats and thesis was certainly of interest to me. And now I can now uncross my fingers at last.

Well done, doc!


* Illustrated by the concepts of coins marked 'BC' and a cartoon of a villager saying to his wife "I'm just off to the 100 Years War dear..."

1 comment:

Brett said...

Cheers, James! Your comments definitely helped a lot, and allowed me to correct several howlers before sending the thesis off. So thanks again for that!