So, how did I do?
History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: 87%
Terrorism in Modern Conflict: 89%
Transitions in Central and Eastern Europe: 90%
Struggle for Universal Human Rights: 91%
I'm blown away by the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, amusingly enough. My submission for the final item of assessment was, in my opinion, garbage. I had never written a reflective essay before, and I felt I effectively wrote in my usual argumentative research style with a couple of paragraphs offering a thin veneer of reflection. I'd love to know how I managed to get a mark high enough to get an 87% overall, but I unfortunately did not remember to include an envelope to have it posted back to me and unlike UQ, there seems to be no way to have the essay returned via the faculty office. Well, I'm hardly complaining! This is fantastic, and my average mark is higher than last semester (though my highest mark for the year was 92% from last semester's Crisis Zones of Europe).
Now I have 2.5 months to kill before the start of the next academic year. My aim is to stay productive and to keep producing work, even if it is not immediately useful. I'm sure I can still come across some ideas for LJ entries, at least! I need something to keep my brain occupied. Frankly, I feel that the lengthy summer break is too long. The month we get in winter is very nice, and the 1-2 week long mid-semester breaks are welcome relief. 2.5-3 months strikes me as overkill; I imagine that I am in a stark minority here though! But if I enjoy my work and research, then that is far more desirable than essentially killing time.
As it is, I'm already starting to think ahead to my thesis for my Honours year in 2009. I am increasingly coming to feel that I shall pursue the history of New Zealand. I have had my doubts. Is there demand? Is it worthwhile? Am I just pottering away about some place at the bottom of the world that most people only know for its rugby team? And that last question is partly what spurs me on to do it - there is so much more to New Zealand, and it has such a rich history that I think it demands more work. It certainly seems like academic analysis of Kiwi history is thin on the ground and much is yet to be done. I am starting to feel like there is a place for me. I am starting to feel like I have some ideas, perhaps not original ideas but overlooked and underexplored ideas. Whether they are a substantial contribution or not is, I suspect, something for others to judge. All I can do is to keep asserting the importance and relevance of New Zealand's historical legacy, both internally and externally. I suspect it boils down to the more general question of why history matters in the first place, and that is far too involved a topic for me to handle with my brain in its current tired state.
Have a good one, folks!