I\’m Too Sexy for My Master\’s Thesis

zero, zip, zilch

Posted in history,progress by Rae on 5 January 2007

This is my official last post here at I’m Too Sexy. Last year I finished my M.A., started getting paid to do what I love, and moved to Estonia from the U.S.

2007 is a year of new beginnings for me, so it’s only appropriate that I’ve started two new blogs: illumineerima (a blog about Estonian culture and society) and the pesky ‘tarians (a culinary correspondence). fade theory will turn two later this year and continues to be my main blog with daily postings about all things book-related.

It’s been real!


long time no post

Posted in history,progress by Rae on 20 October 2006

So, yeah, I haven’t posted in a while. At least not here. Since I’m now done with my thesis (still need to send in the final pdf to my university) and am working more or less full-time in publishing, I just haven’t had much to contribute here at I’m Too Sexy. However, I do update my other blog (fadetheory.com) on an almost daily basis. It’s not about the Jewish Legion, but does have a lot to do with history: book and print history, publishing culture, reading theory, current lit and pub news, book art, textual design… basically anything to do with books and publishing goes there. Plus, you can find some miscellaneous entries about my life in Estonia. It’s a blog I’ve had for well over a year, so there’s lots in the archive, too.

no super sexy wednesday 14

Posted in progress by Rae on 9 August 2006

This move is taking every bit of my energy and time, but the next phase of my life begins next week. Therefore, things are looking up.

the thesis is out of my hands

Posted in history,progress,scholarship,thesis by Rae on 21 July 2006

And what a relief that is! I can’t express how good it felt to stuff those 85-page stacks o’ paper into each committee member’s box. It’s not that I got sick of my topic (I didn’t), it’s that I’m ready to move on to the next thing – which happens to be moving to Europe in three weeks. I’m not completely done, as the defense remains, but I’m looking forward to that. I know my thesis isn’t perfect, but I also happen to know a lot more about my topic than my committee. So, I’m looking forward to answering their questions.

My advisor told me that each professor has 20 minutes to ask me any questions they want to, and that’s it. No presentation, no pretty handouts, just me and my research. I think I can handle that just fine.

no super sexy wednesday 10, either

Posted in progress,thesis by Rae on 13 July 2006

My thesis defense is in two weeks and I finished my last chapter yesterday. I honestly didn’t even realize yesterday was Wednesday, or I might have posted something. I’ve been living in 1917 since last week (and 1914-1916 before that), so it’s no wonder I’m out of sorts.

Anyway, I’m now working on chapter revisions and need to write the intro and conclusion. Then, I’m done! At that point, I’ll have more time to blog about my thesis.

My husband won a mini-vacation to Montana, so we’re headed out at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Worst possible timing, but I’m looking forward to a clean environment that doesn’t reek of stress.

updated schedule

Posted in jewish legion,progress,thesis by Rae on 1 June 2006

I’m now in the 4th week of this blog and my thesis. Naturally, I created a schedule early on that I’ve since needed to adjust. As I near completion of my first chapter, this is what my schedule looks like:

WEEK 4 – 28 (Jesse’s wedding)

WEEK 5 – June 4 (Sarah’s move)
Zion Mule Corps (10)

WEEK 6 – 11
Social (10)

WEEK 7 – 18
Social (10)

WEEK 8 – 25
Social (10)

WEEK 9 – July 2
Social (10)

WEEK 10 – 9
Write conclusion (10) and intro (5)

WEEK 11 – 16 (trip to Montana)

WEEK 12 – 23

My brother’s wedding was this past weekend, which I had planned for in my scheduling. But, there’s always unexpected stuff that comes along. An example would be getting home 4.5 hours later than intended due to my plane’s faulty weather radar.

On another note, I’ve had a major breakthrough in my primary source material (which I mentioned in an earlier post). I was originally going to travel to another nearby university to scritinize a newspaper on microfilm. That particular university didn’t have an index for all the years I need to research, so it wasn’t going to be easy. Plus, their library is undergoing all kinds of construction and the microfilm is therefore located off-campus. Instead of dealing with all that, I can now access the newspaper’s archive via the internet. It’s pricey, but considering this particular newspaper is the #1 source of information for my thesis, it’s totally worth it.

I’ve also focused my research a bit more. Someone I know suggested that my original thesis idea might be a bit ambitious for a Master’s thesis, so I’ve focused my topic in two ways. First, I eliminated the Recruitment section of my research. I was initially going to research the establishment of the Jewish Legion and then recruitment efforts, but why give myself so much work when the recruitment efforts aren’t nearly as interesting as the establishment, anyway? Second, I thought about what aspects of my research were really stressing me out. What areas of my thesis are based upon knowledge I already have, and in what areas am I (almost) starting from scratch? Because British politics during WWI were terribly complicated and it’s already been written about, I decided to nix that (to an extent) from my thesis. My focus now is the turmoil, discussion, views within the Jewish community in Britain as related to the Jewish Legion. Everyone had an opinion, and many of those opinions were expressed in the pages of The Jewish Chronicle. General British politics will come up only if their was an obvious affect on discussion within the Jewish community.

My thanks to the two people who helped me refine my topic. You know who you are.

one step forward, two steps back

Posted in progress,thesis by Rae on 25 May 2006

At least that’s how it felt. I had a particularly frustrating email interaction with a librarian at my university this past week. Here’s how it went (I paraphrase):

Me: Do you have this newspaper on microfilm with an index for the years 1915-1918?

Librarian: We have the newspaper, but no index for those years.

Me: Is there any way I can get a copy of the index from another library?

Librarian: No. Libraries need to keep the index with the microfilm.

Me: Is there any way I can get a *copy* of the index from another library?

Librarian: No. We do not have an electronic copy.


I gave up trying to find a way to induce this librarian to help me (God forbid). Considering I had gained no additional knowledge from her second and third responses, it was obvious that route was a lost cause. Surely I’m not the only person to have encountered unhelpful librarians. Maybe she would have helped me if I had said I was a professor.

I also emailed another university about a different newspaper because I was trying to arrange a research trip. I still haven’t heard back from them, but no matter as that newspaper (The Jewish Chronicle) now has a digital archive! Now I can conduct my research in my preferred anti-social manner and in the comfort of my own home – and by that I mean in my pajamas!

I’ve also managed, with some help, to pare down my topic a bit more so that it’s more manageable. So really, one step back, two steps forward. Now I’m feeling good.

thesis outline

Posted in jewish legion,progress,thesis by Rae on 9 May 2006

This outline lays out my thesis topic. All titles are tentative, but accurately represent the subject matter.

The Finest Idea: Formation and Recruitment of the Jewish Legion in World War I


1. Zionism (Jewish and non-Jewish) and its Proponents





2. Zion Mule Corps

Palestine and Egypt


3. Establishing the Jewish Legion

a. Political





b. Social

Steed/The Times

Scott/Manchester Guardian

Greenberg/London Jewish Chronicle


4. Recruitment





I'm still formulating my thesis question, but I know it will pertain to the recruitment efforts. So, most of the paper will be the background and build up to recruitment: Zionism, the Zion Mule Corps at Gallipoli, politics, and social issues. Then I'll cover the actual recruitment efforts in the various countries.

Tomorrow I'm meeting with the professor I mentioned last week. We'll discuss my thesis topic in general and the section on Zionism specifically. I'll need to revamp my Zionism bibliography today, plus gather together everything I've written on Zionism in the past.

I'm hoping to start yoga next week.

thesis schedule (starting yesterday)

Posted in progress,thesis by Rae on 8 May 2006

I drew up my tentative thesis outline and schedule last night. After creating my outline, I determined how many weeks I have before my thesis defense (13 weeks), then I subtracted three weeks from that date to determine my thesis "due date." Next, I determined how much time I could use on each chapter by working backwards from the due date to the present, and I figured out how many pages I needed to complete each week.

Here's the schedule as it currently stands:

WEEK 1 (May 7-13): Zionism (10 pages)

WEEK 2 (14-20): Zionism (10)

WEEK 3 (21-27): Zion Mule Corps (15)

WEEK 4 (28-3): Political Steps (5) – I'll be in Austin for my brother’s wedding from the 25th-29th, but I'll certainly have some work with me.

WEEK 5 (June 4-10): Political (5) – My sister is moving to Miami this weekend and I've agreed to help her, so that'll take me away from writing for a few days.

WEEK 6 (11-17):Social Steps (10)

WEEK 7 (18-24): Recruitment (15)

WEEK 8 (25-1): Recruitment (10) – My 5th wedding anniversary is this weekend, so my husband and I will be taking time to celebrate.

WEEK 9 (July 2): Write conclusion (10) and intro (5).

WEEK 10 (9): Wrap up loose ends and FINISH THESIS (by end of week).

WEEK 11 (16): If worse comes to worst, I can finish my thesis this week. My husband won a free trip to Montana, so we'll be gone from the 14th-17th.

WEEK 12 (23): Sit on my tuffet.


This probably sounds like a huge amount of work for such a short time, but there are a few factors that make all of this less stressful (but certainly not stress-free): I've been researching this topic for over a year, I've written numerous papers on these subtopics, and I've done more work than this in less time in the past (while also working full-time). I'm currently planning on a total of 95 pages, and I estimated that I've already written between 30-40 pages.

There are two books that came in handy while creating my writing schedule:

Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach (2nd Edition) by Gordon B. Davis and Clyde A. Parker – Instead of reading the whole book (I can easily spend all of my time reading), I just focused on two chapters: The Dissertation Time Schedule and Budget (Chapter 9) and Management of Dissertation Activities (Chapter 11). Obviously I'm not working on a dissertation, but because Master's students are often overlooked when it comes to these kinds of books, I'll take what I can find. And anyway, a lot of the advice is generic and adaptable to my (and just about anyone's) particular situation.

Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish: Psychology and Related Fields by John D. Cone and Sharon L. Foster. This is another book that's not a perfect fit because the information is geared towards psych and social science people and not history people. But still, there's useful stuff here, especially the following chapters: Starting Out: Assessing Your Preparation for the Task Ahead (Chapter 2) and Time and Trouble Management (Chapter 4). This book presents the reader with lots of self-directed questions; questions one may not think about until it's too late.

I'll post my outline tomorrow.