Thinking about Theory & Methodology

My  thesis review and methodology section aims to tie together the two disciplines of Classics & Cornish Studies and explains how their methods are interlinked.
Largely this relies on two premisses – firstly that historiography is a vital part of cultural identity construction (and is of course a massively socially influenced medium) and therefore its forms are useful tools in exploring identity expression and secondly that the use of classical material (especially texts) in history is neither inherently necessary nor is it unmediated by the historians’ choices of emphasis and omission and therefore can be studied in a similar fashion to other reception topics. It then follows that key ‘history’ texts, as well as forming a field of background knowledge, both illustrate these the patterns of identity-construction and demonstrate the roles of individual classical texts within a structured medium.

A key problem for managing my lit review/methodology is the language/background gap – how much should I translate technical terms for my audience? How much should I assume that certain theorists are fundamental enough to, if not ignore, assume that criticism of them is now more important than repeating their key arguments? I struggled somewhere between a fear of dumbing down and creating waffle and losing understanding between disciplines. I am not a theorist, but Reception, Historiography and Cultural Studies are all pretty heavy on it. Its tricky to get across ideas without really dredging through the theory but I hope I’ve got some of it across.

Classical reception is a broad field and I think it must be used not just for identifying instances/moments of Classical texts and themes in other times and places or even to explain the enduring power of the classics and ways it is subverted, broken down or used against other power structures but it must also be used to address our own practices and what better way of doing that than looking at the construction of narrative both history and fiction and everything in between.

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