This is my lament. I am posting it in the hopes that some of my fellow grad students can commiserate.
Do you ever get the feeling that, for every new topic in which you develop interests, you later find that it’s all been done by someone else?
It’s happened to me at least twice in the recent past. First, I got really interested in Aristotelian virtue-based character education.Surprise! It’s been done, in book form no less. Aristotle, Emotions, and Education. And, from the looks of it, it’s been done well, even.
Then, I became interested in whether home schooling is consistent with or contrary to feminism, which I thought would be a new issue on the radar. Ta-da! An article by Wendy McElroy, one of my favorite feminists, in a publication by the reputable Foundation for Economic Education. She beat me to it by 7 years. And she is so prolific, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more where that came from.
Of course, it’s only one book and one article, but I really liked the thought of exploring totally uncharted academic territory. When this happens, you can either:
- Try to catch up on all the relevant literature and respond to it before you write something original.
- Pretend you don’t know about it, and proceed in ignorance.
- Some combination of 1 & 2.
But, the more I try to catch up, the more morale I lose, and the more I feel like I could spend a lifetime just reading other people’s work without ever stopping to produce my own.
Thoughts or advice, anyone?