Well, my todo list is…

Well, my todo list is remarkably short for today: write history paper. That's it. Does that mean that's all I can do? Gods, no -- I've already spent a good two hours getting through half my backlogged e-mail as a way of avoiding writing the paper. And I still have lots of party clean-up from last night (great time, too!), grading that I don't have scheduled 'til Monday but would be nice to finish off, packing I can get a head start on, and probably lots of other things. If I don't start writing by noon, I'm going to pack myself off to Borders (even though I'll have to lug something like a dozen hardcover history books along with my laptop, ugh.), just to make sure I don't avoid it entirely today.

I wish I'd started it last week. I had ideas last week. This week, I just have a big mental glop where my knowledge of Sri Lankan history should be. I'm supposed to be writing on the way various peoples have constructed their identity, and the effect that's had on Sri Lankan politics. It's not going to be a really deep paper, I'm afraid, but I think it may be a moderately comprehensive survey, a recapitulation of a lot of stuff I've been reading in tons of books. I hope that's okay with Anand. (Of course, he said I could include fiction or poetry as part of the paper if I wanted, so he's clearly not so rigid about this kind of thing.) A lot of the literature has focused on the Sinhalese/Buddhist parts of this story, and while it's certainly interesting and necessary to talk about (how is it that such a peaceful philosophy has become a justification for brutal killings?), the other players in this get neglected a bit. The Tamil people are often described as mere victims, and the Tigers as understandably disaffected boys. That may be true enough, but stopping at one of their websites will quickly show that they're just as capable of creating nasty propaganda to support their cause as anyone, and that their own constructed self-image is fueling this ongoing civil war.

I guess I have some ideas after all. Hopefully it'll all come together.

I would really love to hang out here and procrastinate some more, but I think I have to switch to a different mode of procrastination before my guilt catches up with me. If you switch activities fast enough, the guilt doesn't have time to get to you, you see...

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